Helpful Tips

HOW TO CLEAN YOUR WASHING MACHINE

Sunday 6th January 2019

Cleaning your washing machine may seem like one of those cleaning tasks that doesn't make sense. The whole point of a washing machine is to clean your clothing and washables, so it can't be all that dirty, right? Wrong. The truth is that your beloved washing machine can be a perfect hiding spot for mildew and mold. So, let's clean it up!

You can clean a top loading or front loading machine with white vinegar, but they need different amounts of vinegar and require a slightly different process. Follow the process for your specific machine.

Top Load:
Cleaning your top loading washing machine is simple, all you need is white vinegar and some cleaning cloths.

Start by setting your washer to its hottest temperature, highest capacity and longest cycle.
Add four cups of white vinegar to the hot water, close the lid and allow it to agitate for several minutes.
Open the lid (so the machine stops) and allow it to sit for an hour so that the vinegar can do its job to get rid of the bacteria hiding in all those nooks and crannies and the hoses of your machine.
After you have run a complete cycle with the vinegar solution, you can stop or repeat the process if your washing machine is extra dirty. The vinegar does a fantastic job of removing any mineral buildup that has accumulated, not to mention softening any soap scum and other residue that may be building up within the washer and hoses. Let your machine agitate the solution for several minutes and open the lid.

While you allow this solution to sit for an hour, it's time to tackle the exterior of the washer as well as the fabric softener and bleach reservoirs. Using a cleaning rag or microfiber cloth, dip it in the vinegar solution and wring it out. Wipe down the exterior, lid and control panel, taking care to not get it too wet. Carefully remove the bleach reservoir and wipe down around this area where scum and dirt tends to collect. Rinse your cloth and remove the softener reservoir from the agitator and wipe the exterior and interior of it as well. Close the lid and allow the washer to complete its cycle.

Front Load:
Front load washing machines are relatively new on the home appliance market and have quickly gained popularity for their efficiency and cleaning abilities. Despite all of the benefits they have to offer consumers, there is one common complaint that seems to plague owners: stinky laundry. Wiping down the interior of the washer with cleaner, using extra detergent or running everything on the longest, hottest cycle does nothing to help dissipate the scent. However, one simple cleaning task will not only eliminate the issue, it will keep your washer in tip-top condition.

HE washers use less water and less energy which in turn results in more mildew, mold, detergent residue and buildup in your washer. Some washers have a separate cleaning cycle as an option, so use that if yours fall in to that category. If not, all you need is some white vinegar and a little time.

The best way to clean your top loading washer is simple:

Select the hot water setting. If your machine does not have a hot water setting, then select a "white" or a "stain" cycle setting.
Select the "extra rinse" option if your washer has that choice.
Add ¾ cup of white vinegar to the bleach dispenser or fill to its max level.
Allow the cycle to run until it has completed.
To ensure that no vinegar remains in your washer, manually select an additional rinse cycle if your washer does not have a 2nd rinse cycle selection
After you have finished washing the interior of the washer, it's time to clean the bleach and fabric softener dispensers. These can be easily cleaned by simply removing and washing in warm, soapy water to remove any residue. Dry them thoroughly before reinserting them.

Next up? The rubber seal on the door is a perfect hiding place for mold and mildew. Carefully pull back the gasket and inspect to see if you have mold, mildew or socks (as is the case with mine). Carefully wipe down the area with white vinegar and a soft, white cleaning cloth. Dry thoroughly with a clean cloth to prevent any moisture build-up.

After cleaning these three zones, you can wipe down the exterior and control panel with a gentle all-purpose cleaning spray to remove any dust and dirt buildup. Maintaining a clean washer and eliminating the stinky laundry issue is easy - be sure to leave the door open to prevent moisture build-up in between loads and clean it inside and out every month.