How to Clean Your Washing Machine
Dirty clothes go in and clean clothes come out; it’s like magic! Only this magic is limited to how well you take care of your washing machine. Did you know you should clean your washing machine once a month? Dirt and grime that gets removed from your laundry during a washing cycle winds up trapped within the machine, and over time clothes may not come out as clean and fresh smelling as they once did. If you want to keep your washer running at its best and avoid buildup of mold, mildew, and scum that contribute to odor, you need to clean your machine. Here’s how:
Things You Should Know
Don’t let wet clothes sit. Remove wet clothes promptly after washing cycle. Leaving wet clothes, even for a few hours, can lead to mold and mildew growth. This will affect the smell of your clothes as well as the performance of your washing machine.
Give it some air. Once a washing cycle is complete and wet clothes have been removed, don’t close the door… keep it open instead. Closing the door to your washer after you’re done traps in moisture, creating the perfect environment for mold and mildew growth. By leaving the door open, you give the remaining water a chance to evaporate.
Keep the soap and softener dispenser clean. If your machine has a soap and softener drawer that gets wet during the process, take it out, clean, and dry it after every cycle.
Deep clean once a month. Keeping up with everyday maintenance helps to prevent mildew, but it’s still important to do a deep clean every month.
How to Deep Clean a Front-Load Washing Machine
- Fill the washing machine with hot water. If you own a newer model, it likely has a self-cleaning cycle option. If so, fill with hot water on this setting. If you do not have a self-cleaning option, use a hot wash cycle.
- If the inside of your machine is stained, add a quart of bleach through the dispenser so that it mixes with the hot water, then let the machine finish the cycle.
- Once the cycle has ended, you can clean the rubber seal on the door. This area is prone to mold growth because water can get trapped between the machine and seal. To clean the rubber seal, use an all-purpose cleaner and a sponge and dry with a paper towel.
- Don’t forget the soap dispensers! Use an all-purpose cleaner or a vinegar and water solution. Use a sponge to remove all traces of detergent, dirt and any other possible debris that could clog your dispenser.
How to Deep Clean a Top-Load Washing Machine
- Fill the washing machine with hot water. The easiest way to do this is to turn on the hot wash cycle and interrupt it after the water has been filled.
- Add a quart of bleach and turn the washing cycle back on for a few seconds to mix the bleach and water. Once mixed, shut it back off and let the chlorine mixture sit for at least an hour. As it sits it will start lifting the mildew, grime and other unwanted substances within your machine.
- After an hour, turn back on the washing cycle and let it finish. Once the cycle is finished, the machine will be sanitized. If your machine smells like bleach once the cycle is complete, fill with hot water and pour in a quart of vinegar. Let that sit for an hour and then run the washing cycle once more.
- Clean the soap dispensers. Use a vinegar water solution and a scrubber to remove detergent, dirt and any other debris that tends to get caught in there. Cleaning the dispenser clean is an important part to keeping the inside of your machine clean.
No matter if you have a front or top-loading washing machine, there are 3 things you shouldn't overlook:
- Clean the exterior. Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe up spills; never use an abrasive cleanser or solvent as it may scratch and damage the surface.
- Check and clean the inlet hose filters. You will find them inside the water inlet connections. Their purpose is to prevent dirt and debris from getting inside the washer, but when they are clogged water won't flow adequately into the machine for a wash cycle.
- Does pet hair find its way into your washer? The easiest way to remove it is to leave the door open until the pet hair and drum are thoroughly dry. Once dry, use a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to remove the hair.