It’s not something we often think of doing but giving our washing machines a proper cleaning/sanitizing a couple times a year will go a long way towards keeping the appliance in working order. Not to mention, it really will do wonders for how effective it is at laundering our clothes and linens.
While some tutorials may recommend using bleach, we have opted to share with you an effective technique that can produce the same results without the harshness of working with bleach.
Tools you will need:
- Plenty of clean rags (we prefer microfiber)
- Old toothbrush
- White cleaning vinegar
- Baking soda
- Spray bottle
For Front-Load Washing Machines:
1) Before tackling the drum, soak any removable parts at this time in a 2 to 1 vinegar solution. Vinegar is great at breaking down soap scum, hard water deposits and it disinfects at the same time. Rinse these items with clean, clear water and dry with a soft cloth.
2) Next, use the spray bottle filled with white vinegar to clean the rubber gasket that surrounds the drum. Liberally spray the area and allow it to sit for a minute or two. You can use the old toothbrush to really get in those nooks and crannies. Then use a clean damp cloth to wipe down the gasket. (The rubber gasket often accumulates hair, mildew, pet hair, and soap scum. So, tackling this area is very important.)
3) Next, add a few clean cloths to the drum to be run through the cleaning cycle. (Many manufacturers suggest never running the cycle on an empty drum.) Set the washer to the highest water level and the hottest temperature. Add 2 cups of white cleaning vinegar to the detergent dispenser. Allow it to run through a complete cycle.
4) Next, run one more cycle. This time add 1/2 cup baking soda directly in the drum. Set the water to the highest level and hottest temperature and let it run through the cycle completely.
5) When the cycle is complete, remove the clean rags from the drum. Then take a fresh damp cloth and wipe down the inside of the machine.
6) Keep the washing machine door open for a couple of hours so that it can dry out thoroughly. This is a good habit to get into as it can inhibit the build-up of mildew!
7) Now, give the outside of the machine a good wiping down. Using a damp cloth wipe the top and front. Make sure you don’t use anything abrasive on the glass or enamel as it can scratch the surface.
For Top-Load Washing Machines:
1) Before running the first cycle, spray down the nooks and crannies at the top of the drum and use a cloth or toothbrush to loosen up any residue.
2) Next, set the washer to the highest water level and hottest temperature. Throw in a few clean cloths to agitate with the cycle. (Many manufacturers recommend not running the washer while empty)
3) Add four cups of vinegar directly to the wash cycle. After the cycle begins, pause it and allow the vinegar/water mixture to sit for 45-60 minutes.
4) During this time wipe down the top of the washing machine with a clean damp cloth. Be sure to get around all of the knobs as well! Use the old toothbrush to give the fabric softener and bleach dispensers a good scrub. It’s amazing the amount of scum that builds-up in these areas!
5) After 45-60 minutes restart the wash cycle.
6) After the cycle is complete run a second cycle but use 1 cup of baking soda instead.
7) After this cycle is complete, use a lightly damp cloth and wipe the entire drum down.
8) Be sure to leave the door open for a couple of hours in order for the drum to dry out completely. This will inhibit any mildew from growing!
Quick tips to help keep your washer clean for longer:
- Transfer wet clothes from washer to dryer as soon as the cycle is done. The longer damp clothes sit in the washer, the greater chance there is for mildew to grow.
- After removing clothes from the washer, allow the door to the drum to stay open for a couple of hours to thoroughly dry out.