How to Clean Your Washing Machine
Washing machines are amazing and convenient. Dirty clothes go in, clean clothes come out – it’s like magic! Well, this magic depends on how well you take care of your washing machine. Dirt and crud that gets removed from your laundry during a washing cycle can end up trapped within the machine, and over time your clothes may not come out as clean and fresh-smelling as they once did. If you want to keep your washer free of mildew and grime, here are some helpful hints on how to clean a front-loading or top-loading washing machine!
How to Clean a Front-Load Washer
- If your front-load washer doesn't have a self-cleaning cycle, you can clean it by turning on a hot water wash cycle with an empty machine.
- For an extra boost of freshness, cleaning a front-loader washing machine with vinegar is a great option. Add the vinegar to the detergent dispenser and turn on the hot water wash cycle as mentioned above. Just be sure to dilute the vinegar with some water before pouring it in to ensure the rubber in your washer's hoses or seals won't suffer from the acidity.
- The soap dispenser itself might need a scrubbing, too – use an all-purpose cleaner, or the vinegar and water solution, and wipe away all traces of detergent, dirt and any other possible debris that could clog your dispenser.
- Don't forget to 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.
How to Clean a Top-Load Washer
- 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.
Cleaning Tips for Any Washer
- When grime and debris start building up on the outside of your washing machine, an all-purpose spray cleaner and a cloth is a good option.
- When it comes to spills, a soft damp cloth is the way to go. Never use an abrasive cleanser or solvent as it may scratch and damage the surface of your washer.
- A buildup of pet hair can be an issue on the exterior or interior of your washing machine. The best way to clean up pet hair in or around your washer is to allow any surface moisture to dry completely, and then use a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to remove the hair.
How to Keep Your Washer from Smelling
- The most important preemptive strike against a smelly, mildew-infested washer is to keep the door open when the machine's not in use. 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 and easily keep your top-load or front-load washing machine cleaner.
- Remove your laundry as soon as it's washed. Letting your wet clothes sit in the machine, even for just 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.
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