Cleaning a washing machine seems a bit redundant, right? I mean, there’s like 100 other places in my home that deserve more cleaning attention that the washing machine, but alas, I recently learned that the soap residue and minerals found in popular detergents are likely to build up in the washing machine. And all that build-up can give your clothes a nasty, moldy smell, even after washing! Yuck!
After searching around for a quick fix to this cleaning conundrum, I discovered that bleach and white vinegar are all you really need to keep your washing machine fresh year round. How great is it that these two things are probably sitting in your cabinet at home! I was also happy to find out that you only have to clean the washer twice a year, which is a relief considering my kids seem to go through three outfits a day.
Here’s the deal on cleaning your washing machine.
Fill washer with HOT water. Add 1 quart of chlorine bleach (no detergent). Let machine agitate for 1 minute, then let sit for 1 hour. // After 1 hour, run the washer on the longest wash and spin cycle. // Immediately fill washer with HOT water again and add 1 quart distilled white vinegar. Let agitate for 1 minute, then let sit for 1 hour. /(Read a few chapters of your favorite book while waiting) / While soaking, dip scrubber sponge in vinegar water and scrub the exterior, including knobs and lid. Don’t forget any built in dispensers. // After an hour, run the longest wash and spin cycle again.
Fill washer with HOT water on largest load setting. Add 2 cups of vinegar to water. Allow washer to run through a complete wash and rinse cycle. // Fill washer again with HOT water on largest load setting. Add 2 cups of bleach and let run through a complete cycle. // If all stains are removed, run an additional cycle with water only to rinse any remaining residue. // Remove any dispensers, soak in warm water and clean with an all-purpose cleaner. // Inspect rubber door seal for mold and mildew. Pull back seal to examine hidden crevices. // Mix 1 cup liquid chlorine bleach with 1 gallon of warm water. Moisten a clean cloth with solution and wipe seal thoroughly. // Allow solution to remain on the seal for 5 minutes, then wipe dry with a clean, dry cloth.
Here are some easy tips to follow so you can avoid getting that mildew smell year round:
- Leave the door open after washing and remove clothes promptly
- Wipe down rubber seal and drum after each use with an old, clean soft cloth
- Open the soap/softener drawer to dry thoroughly
Since I can relax and let the vinegar and bleach do the heavy lifting for me, I will definitely be cleaning my washer twice a year so my kids and husband have nice clean clothes, for at least a little awhile…
Have your own cleaning tips? Leave them in the comments. For additional options when cleaning the laundry room, check out these Central Vac accessories designed to clean all the tough-to-reach places.