The fibers that make up clothing weaken over time and flake off when rubbed. These flaked off fibers -- commonly referred to as lint -- can clog the inside of a washing machine as it functions and end up reattaching to the clothes. You can clean a washing machine so that the lint being generated doesn't end up on the clothes. Household supplies and tools are all that is needed.
Open the lid of the washing machine and lift the lint filter out; if a front loader is being used, the filter is at the front bottom edge; if a top-loader is being used, remove the lint filter from within the plastic agitator tube in the center of the basket.
Wash the filter under a stream of tap water to remove all of the lint that is on both sides. Shake the filter a few times. Place the filter back in its original location so it can absorb lint during the washing process again.
Place the jaws of a pair of pliers around one of the two water valves at the back of the washing machine. Twist the pliers counter-clockwise to loosen the valve. Repeat this with the other valve. Rotate each valve counter-clockwise three turns to lower the water pressure going into the washing machine so that fewer fibers will be pulled off the clothes and then redeposited onto them.
Press a piece of duct tape against one of the holes in the basket inside the washing machine. Pull the tape off the basket to remove stuck lint. Repeat this with additional strips of duct tape so as to remove all of the lint from the holes in the basket.