Have you ever wondered why your washing machine smells so badly? You use it to wash your clothes with fragrant detergent and fabric softeners, and nonetheless, it keeps smelling like a whole team of rugby players after playing a 4-hour game is somehow hidden inside. How can this be possible?
An appliance that washes your clothes needs to be cleaned too! Unbelievable, right? However, it is the truth! There are signs that you should clean it right away; otherwise, it can be the perfect place for germs, bacteria, mould and mildew to breed. Like that lousy odour, you smell every time you open the washing machine’s door.
Despite the musty smell, you might also notice black bits on your laundry, soap scum, lint and hard water minerals building up all over your washing machine. These are serious signs that your handy device needs a deep cleaning.
Fortunately, you don’t need a special machine cleaner or other cleaning products containing potential chemicals. You have natural ingredients on hand to make your DIY cleaning solutions, like white vinegar- the most natural way to clean almost everything.
Some cups of vinegar can tackle any grime either in your front-loading washing machine or a top-loading one. The cleaning process between a front-loader and a top-loader is slightly different though. However, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to clean your appliance thoroughly, no matter the type of device.
How to clean a front-loading washing machine
What you’re going to need:
- White vinegar
- A spray bottle
- Microfiber cloth
- Baking soda
- A toothbrush
How you’re going to do it:
- In a spray bottle, add vinegar and spritz the drum.
- Wipe all over with a microfiber cloth to remove the build-up.
- Wipe the rubber gaskets. Soap scum, mildew and hair usually stick to the rubber seals around the door.
- Pour 2 cups of white vinegar into the detergent dispenser.
- Set the long and hottest cycle.
- When it’s finished, sprinkle ½ cup of baking soda into the drum.
- Run the washer on the same settings again.
- When it’s done, wipe the door’s both sides with vinegar and a cloth to clean any detergent residue. Remember to clean the front of your machine from top to bottom, plus the control panels.
- Leave the door open to dry, keeping mould away.
- Finally, wash the removable parts (bleach and fabric softener dispensers) in warm soapy water. Let them dry very well before inserting them back into place.
Extra tip: To make sure that there’s no vinegar or soda residue left in your washer, select the 2nd rinse cycle.
How to clean your top-loading washing machine
- White vinegar
- Microfiber cloth
- An old toothbrush
- Baking soda
Steps to follow:
- First set the wash cycle to the highest capacity, longest and hottest setting.
- Run it for a while until it is filled with hot water.
- Pause the machine and add four cups of vinegar.
- For extra deep cleaning, you can also add a cup of baking soda.
- Close the lid and wait for 54 minutes letting the vinegar and soda clean the drum of limescale, dust and grime.
- Pause the washing machine for an hour. Now the combination of warm water and vinegar will remove all the dirt and grime from your washer.
- Within the hour, you can wipe the outer parts of the appliance. Dip a clean rag into vinegar dissolved in hot water. Be sure to clean the detergent drawer. Use the brush to reach and clean any hard points.
- After an hour, close the lid allowing your machine to finish the cycle.
- When it’s over, and there’s no water left, wipe the interior with a dry cloth.
Warnings and tips on how to maintain your washing machine clean
Ok, you know know how to clean your washing machine. But, just cleaning it every now and then isn’t enough. There are some things you can do on top to keep your device clean and in good working condition for a long time.
- Don’t just focus on the drum and the gasket when it comes to cleaning your washing machine. The outer part, the door inside out, the detergent drawer and the filters need to be cleaned as well.
- You can use vinegar to clean the steady parts. Soak the removable parts into warm soapy water to wash them. Rub any detergent stuck leftovers using a toothbrush. Easy right?
- Always leave your washing machine’s door open, to dry completely. You should never have it closed, especially after use, to prevent moisture buildup.
- If you own a front load washer, wipe the gasket after each use. This area traps water that may be behind the growth of bacteria and mould.
- Measure the detergent dose to prevent detergent build-up. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions to know precisely the needed amount according to your machine.
- Hard water causes limescale and soap scum to grow on the pipes and hoses. So, good advice for that would be to add a water softening product every time you do your laundry.
- Don’t be afraid to use white vinegar. It’s a safe and inexpensive cleaning solution. As a rule of thumb, you should clean your washing machine once every four to six months unless you notice a mildew odour. In that case, you need to clean it sooner.
Along with these tips, there are precautions you need to take into account so that your machine lasts for a long time. Which are they? Let me share explain:
- Using vinegar inside the machine is fine. It’s one of the most natural cleaners on which we all count. What’s more, white vinegar can be used as a nice fabric softener too. However, you should avoid using it that way frequently, as it can damage the rubber seals causing leakage. We suggest avoiding it for seals made from polyacrylate, fluoro silicone and Buna-N because it can weaken them and lead to failure. Check the manufacturer’s manual to be sure.
- Next thing you need to be careful about is the use of bleach and vinegar at the same time. Never combine these two ingredients as it creates noxious fumes. You can use bleach to sanitise and clean the washer. However, before running the vinegar cycle, run a rinse cycle to remove any bleach residue thoroughly.
- Finally, avoid using cold water. It won’t impact the washer’s function, but, It will affect the cleaning result. Hot water sanitises and breaks down building up. Things that you won’t have if you use cold water.
Cleaning your washer is essential for its excellent and effective operation but for your health too. Washing machines are hot and humid environments. And who loves it? Germs. And bacteria. And we all know that germs and bacteria should be avoided. Follow our cleaning tips and instructions on how to clean your washing machine with the help of your good chore friend “The Vinegar”, and we promise you’ll never worry again about the cleanliness of both your cleaner and your laundry.
After cleaning your washing machine you may also want to clean the tumble dryer, the second favourite place for germs and bacteria.