Quick and Easy: Washing Machine Cleaning in 30 Tips

December 13, 2023 by No Comments

Understanding the importance of cleaning a washing machine is a cleaning tip that may not cross your mind until an unpleasant odor emanates from your laundry room. Despite its role in maintaining cleanliness, a washing machine can become a breeding ground for germs. Consider this: your trusty washing machine tirelessly tackles everything from sweaty workout gear to bed linens and an endless supply of towels. Without regular maintenance, it may not be as clean as you think.

Alessandro Gazzo, content manager at Emily’s Maids, a Dallas-based house cleaning and maid service, notes, “Many people are still unaware that washing machines require regular cleaning. They assume that a ‘machine for cleaning’ automatically means ‘self-cleaning,’ but that’s not the case.” Regular cleaning is essential because washing machines can harbor bacterial growth. Gazzo explains, “Residues such as soap scum, detergent, fabric softener, and fibers, along with hard water, can clog the drain.” Furthermore, if you neglect cleaning your washing machine, mildew can accumulate over time, leading to unpleasant odors and potential issues. Gazzo recommends cleaning your washing machine regularly and performing a deep clean every three to four months.

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AD unveils expert cleaning tips for deep-cleaning both front-load and top-loading washers using a DIY solution of white vinegar and baking soda. The best part: Banishing dirty residue won’t consume more than 30 minutes of your time. Make these cleaning techniques a part of your routine every four months, and your washing machine will continue to perform at its best cycle after cycle. And if you’re well-versed in cleaning out a dryer vent, laundry day might just become a task you eagerly anticipate.

Which is more effective for cleaning a washing machine: bleach or vinegar?

Chlorine bleach and white vinegar stand out as popular cleaning agents known for combating mold, mildew, and everyday grime. White vinegar, being highly acidic, excels at eliminating slimy buildup that often thrives in damp environments. In contrast, bleach functions as an oxidative agent, imparting brightness and whiteness to fabrics. When it comes to choosing a cleaning solution for your washing machine, the decision hinges on the specific issue at hand. Alessandro Gazzo suggests, “If you’re dealing with mold or mildew, both vinegar and bleach work, but bleach is more effective. For eliminating odors, I would recommend vinegar.”

However, some individuals prefer white vinegar due to its milder nature compared to bleach. Unless your washing machine has been neglected and transformed into a haven for bacteria and germs, requiring a potent cleaner, white vinegar may be your preferred choice. In cases where a deep cleaning is necessary, set your washing machine to a regular wash cycle with hot water and add a quarter cup of bleach. If you opt for bleach, consult your washing machine manual to ensure compatibility.

What’s the optimal method for cleaning the interior of a washing machine?

Gather a few common household items before you begin: a spray bottle, distilled white vinegar, baking soda, a microfiber cleaning cloth, and an old toothbrush. While the cleaning supplies remain consistent for both front-loading and top-loading washing machines, the cleaning method varies slightly.

Often overlooked is the need to sanitize the drain in both top-loading and front-loading machines. To tackle this task, ensure the washing machine is turned off. Carefully disconnect the drain from the pipe or, if your washing machine’s drain is connected to the laundry room sink, detach it accordingly. Place the drain in an empty tub or wash basin to allow excess water to drain out. Examine for any debris lodged inside; a drain snake may be needed to dislodge it. Soak the drain in vinegar to eliminate mildew around the opening, and for stubborn grime, use an old toothbrush with a sprinkle of baking soda. Wipe away any residue with a damp cloth.

Inspect your washing machine for a filter, especially if it’s an older model. If you can’t locate it immediately, refer to the owner’s manual, as washing machine filters may be situated at various points, such as the end of a drain hose, along the drum rim, under the agitator cover, or inside a small hatch on the outside of the washing machine. The filter may resemble mesh or a structure with small holes designed to trap lint.

How to effectively clean a front-load washer:

Achieve a rapid washing machine refresh in under 30 minutes by employing white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spritz the interior of the drum thoroughly, ensuring no area is left untouched, and use a microfiber cloth to wipe around the entire washer drum. Pay special attention to the rubber gaskets, also known as seals around the door, where you might encounter accumulated gunk, mildew, lint, and even hair.

For routine cleaning of a front loader, utilize a white microfiber cloth and a mixture of bleach combined with Dawn dish soap. Focus on the rubber seal area during this cleaning process. Alessandro Gazzo recommends, “Set the washing machine to the highest water and temperature setting, and run a full cycle with one cup of white vinegar and approximately five drops of lavender essential oil.” For the quarterly deep clean of a front-loading washing machine, adhere to the same procedure. Instead of vinegar and essential oil, use two cups of washing soda and two cups of borax. Allow the mixture to sit for an hour before running a full cycle. Gazzo explains, “During that hour, the washing soda and borax will effectively soften minerals and residues, providing a deep clean for both the drain and the washer drum.”

How to effectively clean a top-loading washing machine:

Initiate the cleaning process by setting your washing machine to the highest and hottest water setting. Introduce four cups of white vinegar and commence a cycle. Once the washing machine is filled and has just started, pause it, allowing the water and white vinegar to soak the drum for an hour. After the initial rinse cycle concludes, add a cup of baking soda and restart your top loader for an additional robust cycle using the hottest settings. Upon completion, leave the top open to facilitate air drying.

What should you run through your washing machine for optimal cleaning?

After thoroughly wiping down the interior of your front loader, introduce distilled white vinegar for a final cleaning touch. Measure out two cups of distilled white vinegar and pour them directly into the washing machine’s liquid detergent dispenser. Set your front-loading machine on its longest cycle with the hottest water. Once the cycle concludes, sprinkle half a cup of baking soda directly into the drum and run it on the same highest and hottest settings. If you’re dealing with a top-loading washing machine, a cycle with white vinegar on the hot setting will suffice.

To combat soap scum buildup and promote eco-friendly practices, Alessandro Gazzo recommends using white vinegar instead of fabric softener. He notes, “Vinegar won’t leave any soap or fat residue on the drums or the drain.”

How to eliminate unpleasant odors from your washing machine:

For a swift solution to a smelly washing machine, target surfaces and areas prone to water accumulation, creating an ideal breeding ground for mold, mildew, and bacteria. Equip yourself with a damp cloth and spritz it with white vinegar. Methodically run the cloth along the top and bottom of the lid in a top-loading washing machine, covering the sides and front until every inch is addressed. For intricate areas like the detergent and fabric softener dispensers, employ an old toothbrush to delve into the nooks and crannies.

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Addressing odors in a front-loading machine involves using soapy water or an all-purpose cleaner to thoroughly cleanse the rubber seal around the door. Follow up by spraying white vinegar onto a microfiber cloth and meticulously cleaning both the exterior and interior of the door until it gleams. Extend your cleaning efforts to encompass the entire front of the machine, including knobs and the control panel where hard water may leave visible residue. Always leave the lid open to facilitate air drying, and after each load, have a microfiber cloth handy to wipe down the door area.

For persistent odors, even with regular deep cleaning, consider a monthly cleanse with Affresh, available on Amazon. Affresh, a slow-dissolving tablet comprising oxygen-based bleach and sodium carbonate, is designed for use during the tub clean cycle. Simply insert an Affresh tablet, without any clothes, into the washing machine and initiate the cleaning cycle. As the cycle progresses, Affresh generates suds that reach into every nook, cranny, and crevice before rinsing away.

In terms of general washing machine maintenance, refrain from adding excess detergent, especially if the laundry is heavily soiled. Excessive detergent can leave soapy residue on clothes and contribute to unnecessary wear on the machine. Consult your washer’s manual for precise detergent quantities, considering that concentrated liquid detergents typically require far less than traditional amounts. For particularly soiled items, opt for the sanitize cycle, utilizing the hottest water and an extended cycle specifically designed to eliminate bacteria.

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