Weekend Chores: How Should you Clean your Washing Machine?
Most homeowners believe that their washing machine gets cleaned every time it washes clothes. But that’s not true because the process leaves behind a horrid residue of fibers, food, and numerous organic compounds. More importantly, it gives birth to a humid and warm environment, which is the ideal breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and mildew.
Another important point to note is the buildup of hard water and chemical-loaded detergents. Over time, this combination can clog the washing mechanisms and dull the color of your clothes. Cleaning your washing machine regularly will help you enhance its lifespan and ensure a pristine condition.
Keep reading to learn about an efficient, deep cleaning process.
When Should You Clean Your Washing Machine?
It is ideal to schedule a monthly cleaning session. But it is highly advisable to do a deep clean after washing too many dirty clothes. For instance, washing a load of your dirty travel clothes requires a deep clean to eliminate all bacteria. Similarly, washing a heavy load of last season’s clothes also requires a deep clean right after you’re done.
How Do I Deep Clean My Washing Machine?
You will need the following materials to get started:
- Baking Soda
- A Piece of cloth
- White vinegar
- Hydrogen peroxide (Only if your machine has mold)
Start by dipping your cloth in a vinegar-water solution to clean the surfaces outside the drum. Be sure to avoid using an abrasive material on the enamel or glass as it can leave scratches.
Take out all the removable parts and leave them to soak in a vinegar-water solution. Use your cloth to clean the door and scrape away all the grime on the rubber seal surrounding the glass.
Pick up the toothbrush so you can wipe clean the rubber gasket on your front loader. Get past all the layers so you can clean all the nooks and crannies. In case of mold or mildew, dip your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide to scrape it away and disinfect the area. Baking soda works wonders at wipe, cleaning all stubborn bacteria and hard-to-clean grime.
Once you’ve tackled all the exterior surfaces, it’s time to clean the machine from the inside. Make a solution consisting of 2 cups of vinegar and a liquid detergent.
You can always reduce the quantity if you have a smaller-sized machine. Vinegar features rich concentrations of acid, which will disinfect the machine thoroughly and eliminate all traces of detergent and hard water.
If you want to be more thorough, consider another solution to eliminate foul or mild odors and soap residue. Toss 1/3 cup of baking soda into the drum and give the machine a spin using the hot function.
You can always alternate between this step and the vinegar solution to conserve water and shorten the cleaning process.
However, avoid mixing white vinegar and baking soda in the same wash as they will neutralize one another. This won’t cause any damages, but it will eliminate the cleaning powers of both the compounds.
Giving the machine a spin with baking soda will eliminate all odor and deodorize it nicely.
How Do I Sanitize My Washing Machine?
Sanitizing your machine is instrumental in eliminating all bacteria, detergent and soap residue, and a buildup of contaminants. It is pertinent to mention here that fabric softeners can cause a machine to trap debris and bacteria.
This bacteria is then transferred to your clothes, alongside spreading diseases and creating a foul odour. A chlorine bleach solution will help you sanitize your washing machine from deep within.
You can set your machine on a full-load setting with the hottest cycle. Most washing machines feature a sanitize setting. It is ideal to use it. You can then examine the interior for any kind of particles that could have come loose during the process.
Here’s the detailed process:
- Start by setting the water temperature to the hottest setting, and make sure it is empty.
- Add 1 cup of chlorine bleach to the washer drum, and do not add anything to the mix. (This step remains the same for both models with top-load and front-load).
- After completing the cycle, closely examine the inside of the washer. Take your time while examining the appliance door, gaskets, and rubber seal for signs of detergent residue or mold and mildew. It is pertinent to eliminate all signs of fabric softeners or detergents.
- If you see any kind of residue or bacterial buildup, fix a solution of water and chlorine bleach. You can a cloth in the solution and give the washer a final scrub.
- Now, it’s time for a final rinse. Select the rinse or spin setting and let all the bleach run out of the machine. Be sure to clear out all the bleach before you toss in your clothes.
Does Vinegar Damage Washing Machines?
Most people worry about using vinegar as they fear it will damage most components and cause leakages. That’s not true, as long as you don’t expose the glass, rubber, and other vulnerable parts to vinegar. It is ideal to use a vinegar solution using a cloth or rag, so you’re very precise while targeting the surfaces.
Another important thing to note is always using white vinegar as it offers a more stable acidic profile than others. You can dilute it with water to milden the acidic effects, and never toss the solution inside your washer.
How Do I Clean My Washing Machine Naturally?
It’s quite simple, just pick out natural cleaning agents. For instance, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and vinegar are all naturally-occurring compounds. They are far for effective than liquid detergents and soap and will help eliminate all kinds of bacteria.
Most people tend to avoid chlorine bleach while sanitizing their washer. You can always look into natural alternatives, such as tea tree oil, lemon oil, and orange oil. These three are powerful, natural disinfectants that eliminate all bacteria and fungi effectively.
How Often Should You Wash Your Washing Machine?
As mentioned earlier, the washing cycle depends entirely on your needs and preferences. It is ideal to do a deep clean every 4-6 weeks. A regular washing cycle prevents a machine from transferring bacteria and infections to your clothes.
It is ideal for undertaking a deep clean after doing a heavy load of dirty and dust-ridden clothes. The same applies to sweaty and gym clothes. You don’t want to allow the bacteria and soap residue to build up for longer periods. The longer you wait, the more difficult and longer the cleaning process.