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Keep Your Washing Machine Fresh and Clean

March 3, 2024
Keep Your Washing Machine Fresh and Clean

Maintaining a fresh, clean washing machine is an important part of doing laundry. Here are some tips to help keep your washer in top condition.

Cleaning the Inside of the Washer

Regular cleaning helps remove soap scum, dirt, bacteria and mold that can build up inside the washing machine over time. Here are some effective cleaning methods:

Vinegar Wash

  • Pour 2 cups of white vinegar into the detergent dispenser.
  • Run a hot wash cycle with no clothes. The acetic acid in vinegar dissolves soap scum and kills bacteria and mold.
  • For a more thorough clean, stop the cycle midway and let the vinegar soak for an hour before completing the cycle.
  • Run a second rinse cycle to eliminate any vinegar smell.

Baking Soda Wash

  • Sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda directly into the drum.
  • Run a hot wash cycle with no clothes. The baking soda will help absorb odors.
  • For a more powerful clean, add vinegar during the rinse cycle so it reacts with the baking soda. This reaction helps break down residue.

Affresh Cleaning Tablets

  • These concentrated tablets are made to deep clean the interior of washing machines.
  • Put 1 tablet in the drum and run a hot wash cycle. No clothes.
  • Use monthly as preventative maintenance to keep the machine fresh.

Bleach Wash

  • Add 1/2 cup of bleach to the detergent dispenser.
  • Run a hot wash cycle with no clothes.
  • The chlorine in bleach disinfects and deodorizes.
  • Do not mix bleach and vinegar – this creates harmful fumes.

Cleaning the Exterior

It’s important to wipe down the outside of the machine to prevent build up of dirt, dust and grime.

  • Wipe the washing machine lid with a soft cloth and all-purpose cleaner. Pay attention to folds and edges where grime collects.

  • Clean the top, control panel, and sides with a multi-surface cleaner. Avoid harsh chemicals that could damage the finish.

  • For front-load washers, leave the door open between cycles to improve air circulation and prevent mold growth.

  • Use an old toothbrush dipped in vinegar to clean out the dispenser drawer. This removes detergent buildup which can clog the siphon.

Sanitizing the Drum

Mold and mildew can grow inside if the washing machine isn’t properly cleaned. Here are two methods to sanitize the drum:

Run a Sanitize Cycle

Many washers have a special high-heat sanitize or allergen cycle designed to kill bacteria inside the drum.

  • Make sure the drum is empty.
  • Add 1 cup of liquid chlorine bleach into the detergent dispenser.
  • Run a sanitize or allergen cycle. This super hot cycle and bleach will kill mold and bacteria.

Clean with White Vinegar

  • Fill the empty drum with 2 gallons of white vinegar.
  • Run the machine on the hottest setting for 10-15 minutes.
  • Let the vinegar soak overnight if possible.
  • Rinse by running a clean water cycle.

The vinegar solution will disinfect and deodorize the drum.

Preventing Odors

Here are some tips to help prevent smelly odors from developing:

  • Leave the door open between washes so air can circulate and dry out moisture.

  • Run a rinse cycle with baking soda or vinegar once a week.

  • Make sure to use high efficiency (HE) detergent if you have an HE machine. Non-HE detergent will cause buildup and odor.

  • Run a cleaning cycle monthly to prevent residue buildup.

  • Immediately wipe out wet lint or residue at the end of a cycle.

Regular washing machine cleaning and maintenance will keep clothes smelling fresh and help the machine run efficiently for years.

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