This cleaning task is more time consuming, but I figured why not continue and share some "How to" steps for cleaning and maintaining your washing machines.
I have a front loading washing machine, but in this post I will also include the instructions that I found for top loading machines as well.
It may seem strange to clean an appliance that does cleaning for you. However, regularly cleaning your washing machine minimizes the chance of E.coli, mold, and mildew. Not to mention that funky and most unpleasant smell.
Let's start with the Front Loading Washing Machines
HE washers are known for using less water and energy. This results in detergent residue, dirt, mildew and mineral build up inside the machine. If we neglect "cleaning" our machines we will eventually end up having that unpleasant smell and less than clean laundry.
Here are some pictures to show you how GROSS these machines can become:
Steps to be done on monthly basis:
- Start by filling the EMPTY washing machine with hot water on the largest load setting.
- Add 2 cups of vinegar to the water to get rid of odor problems.
- Allow the washing machine to run through a complete wash and rinse cycle.
- If you have stains and an odor problem then you can run another cycle on the hottest setting with either 2 cups of bleach OR 1 cup of baking soda.
- After that cycle is complete make sure to run an additional cycle of just WATER to completely rinse away any residue.
- Next, take the bleach dispenser and fabric softener dispenser and soak them in warm water. Then wipe, rinse, and place back into machine.
- Finally, peel back the rubber door seal, and clean in there. The water sits here with collected dust, dirt, and soap. This is where the mildew grows.
Steps to maintain the machine between monthly cleanings:
These should be done after each load of laundry you do...
- Leave the door open after washing and always take items out of the washer when not in use.
- Give the door and the rubber seal a quick wipe down to remove sitting water.
- Take the soap dispenser out to dry.
Top Loading Washing Machines
There are many articles out there that give numerous ways to clean the top loading machines. I found a simple method on another great site onegoodthingbyjillee.com.
It is suggested that you clean your top loading washer at least twice a year. UNLESS you live in an area with hard water, then it should be cleaned every three months.
- Fill the washer with HOT water. Add 1 quart of chlorine bleach and let the machine agitate for a minute, then let it sit for one hour.
- After one hour, allow the washer to run through its longest wash and spin cycle.
- Immediately fill the washer with HOT water again and add 1 quart distilled white vinegar. Let agitate for a minute, and again, let it sit for one hour.
- While it is soaking, dip a scrubber sponge in the vinegar water, clean and detail ALL the crevices of your washer, including the knobs, the lid and the exterior.
- If your machine has built-in dispensers, clean those too. If your dispensers are not removable, warm 1 cup of white vinegar in the microwave or in a small saucepan. Pour it into the dispenser and allow it to sit for a few minutes to loosen any build up.
- After an hour, run the longest wash and spin cycle again with just WATER.
These great pictures and steps were found on some other very helpful sites. I want to make sure I thank them and give them their credit. onegoodthingbyjillee.com and ecokaren.com