How to clean a washing machine is an important question for anyone who wants to ensure their clothes are as clean and fresh as possible. Before I started to think of how to clean a washing machine, I noticed that though my clothes were coming out clean, they weren’t as fresh smelling as usual. After some research, I found that a good washing machine cleaning was to remove all of the dirt and bacteria which had built up inside the drum.
That’s why I’m excited to share my tips on cleaning a washing machine! It might sound intimidating, but trust me; it’s easier than you think. Not only will your clothes smell fresher and come out cleaner, but your washing machine will thank you too! So, grab your favorite cleaning supplies, and let’s get started.
Why You Should Clean Your Washing Machine Regularly
Even though you might think your washing machine is clean since it deals with cleaning your clothes, it still requires regular cleaning to function effectively and provide the best results. Here are some more reasons why cleaning your washing machine regularly and how to do it correctly is important.
1: Eliminating Bacteria and Mold Growth
As unpleasant as it sounds, washing machines can easily turn into breeding grounds for bacteria, dirt, and mold. The moist environment and the organic materials accumulated in the machine provide the perfect atmosphere for germs and fungi to grow and multiply. Your clothes can quickly transfer these germs back to your body, causing skin irritation and infections. Regular cleaning of your washing machine, especially the drum and the detergent drawer, can help eliminate any potential germs and mold.
2: Preventing Bad Odors
A washing machine often gets dirty after washing clothes, creating an unpleasant odor that can stick to your clothes. A smelly washing machine can be caused by mold and mildew buildup from detergent and fabric softeners, hard water, or even using cold water instead of hot to wash clothes. Regular cleaning of your washing machine can help you get rid of these causes and prevent the smell from transferring to your clothes.
3: Saving Your Clothes
Over time, detergents, fabric softeners, and other laundry additives can accumulate on the drum and the detergent drawer, causing a buildup of residue that can stick to your clothes. This residue can make your clothes look dingy and affect their texture. Regularly cleaning your washing machine can help remove this residue and improve your laundry results.
4: Saving Money and Energy
A dirty washing machine can impede the cleaning process, resulting in a longer wash cycle and higher water and energy bills. A clean washing machine can help maintain efficiency and save energy and money in the long run.
5: Prolonging the Lifespan of Your Machine
A washing machine that is not cleaned regularly can experience malfunctioning parts, such as clogged pipes, blocked water filters, or even broken hoses. Regular cleaning can prevent such damage and prolong the lifespan of your machine.
Cleaning your washing machine is crucial for maintaining efficiency, prolonging its lifespan, and getting the best laundry results.
Signs that Your Washing Machine Needs Cleaning
Below are some signs that your washing machine needs cleaning :
If your washing machine has a musty or sour smell even after washing your laundry, it could be a sign that it needs cleaning. Often, dirt, soap residue, and fabric softeners can build up inside the machine and cause bacteria growth, which leads to an unpleasant smell. If you notice this, it’s time to clean your washing machine.
❗Stains on Your Clothes
Have you noticed random stains on your clothes after washing them? No matter how hard you try, they just won’t go away. This could be a sign that your washing machine is dirty. Soap and fabric softeners can accumulate inside the machine and cause stains on your clothes.
Does your washing machine make a loud noise during the spin cycle? If yes, it could mean dirt and residue buildup inside the machine, causing it to function poorly. The noise could also be due to a misaligned drum or a loose belt. Either way, you must check your washing machine’s drum and parts.
❗Slow Water Drainage
If there’s a delay when water drains out of your washing machine, even after the end of the cycle, it might be clogged. Most people don’t realize that dirt and lint from clothes can build up in the hoses and pipes and slow down water drainage. You can prevent this by regularly cleaning the hoses and pipes in your washing machine.
❗White Residue Formation
Do you see a white residue on your clothes after washing them? This indicates hard water or a buildup of minerals inside your washing machine. Hard water produces high levels of minerals, which can accumulate inside the machine and cause residue formation. Clean your machine regularly to avoid this problem.
Overlooking signs that your washing machine needs cleaning can lead to a musty smell and bacterial growth, affecting the quality of your laundry.
How to Clean a Washing Machine
So here are easy steps on how you can clean your washing machine with basic household items.
Step 1: Fill the washing machine with hot water
In order to start the cleaning process, remove any clothes or items that may be in the machine. Then fill the machine with hot water. The hotter, the better, as it will help to dissolve any built-up residue, dirt, or soap scum in the machine. Make sure the machine is halfway full.
Step 2: Add chlorine bleach
Add one cup of chlorine bleach to the hot water in the washing machine. The bleach will help kill any bacteria, germs, or mold in the washing machine. Close the lid and let the machine run for a few minutes with the bleach.
Step 3: Run a wash and spin cycle
After adding the bleach, run a regular wash and spin cycle. Select the hottest temperature setting to clean the machine more effectively. This cycle helps to further remove any excess dirt, grime, or soap scum buildup.
Step 4: Fill it with hot water again
Now the first cycle is complete, fill the washing machine with hot water again, but this time add distilled vinegar instead of bleach. Vinegar helps to remove any odor and leftover residue. White vinegar is a natural alternative to some strong chemical cleaning products, which is better for the environment. Add 2 cups of distilled vinegar to the water and run the washing machine again.
Step 5: Add distilled vinegar
Stop the cycle once the machine is filled with water and distilled vinegar. Let the mixture sit in the machine for 30 minutes. During this time, you can use a clean cloth to wipe the drum, door, and rubber gasket inside the machine, where mold and mildew tend to grow.
Step 6: Run a complete spin
Finally, run a complete spin cycle after 30 minutes to get rid of the white vinegar and any remaining dirt or soap scum. Once the cycle is finished, open the machine’s lid for a few hours. This will air it out and help to prevent any further growth of mold and mildew.
Step 7: Clean the Outside
In addition to cleaning the inside of the machine, it’s also important to clean the outside of your washing machine. You can do this with a mild detergent or vinegar and water mixture. Wipe down the entire unit, including any knobs or buttons on the front panel.
By using basic household items and following these simple steps, you can keep your washing machine running smoothly and your clothes smelling fresh.
Preventing Unpleasant Odor in Washing Machines
Fortunately, you can take some easy steps to keep your washing machine smelling fresh and clean.
✔️Make it Empty
The first step in preventing unpleasant odor in your washing machine is to keep it as clean as possible. One way to do this is to empty the washer drum after each wash cycle. It will help prevent moisture from building up, creating a breeding ground for bacteria. If you forget to empty your washer, you may notice a musty odor developing over time. So, make it a habit to empty the drum after each use. Plus, don’t stock any used clothes in the washer for over a day or two.
✔️Remove Pet Hair and Debris
Pet hair and other debris can accumulate in the drum, creating a musty or unpleasant odor. To prevent this, use a lint roller to remove pet hair or debris from your clothes before putting them in the washer. You can also use a mesh bag to contain any loose strands of hair. This will help keep your washing machine clean and odor-free.
✔️Always Keep the Gasket Dry
The gasket is the rubber seal around the door of your washing machine. If moisture gets trapped in this area, it can create a perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. To prevent this, always wipe down the gasket with a dry cloth after each wash cycle. It will help keep the area dry and prevent unpleasant odors from developing.
✔️Always Clean the Dispenser and Controls
Over time, detergent and fabric softener can accumulate in the dispenser of your washing machine. This can create a buildup of gunk that can lead to unpleasant odors. To prevent this, remove the dispenser and clean it with hot water and mild detergent. After each use, you should also wipe down the controls on your machine with a damp cloth.
✔️Use a Cleaning Solution
If you notice an odor developing in your washing machine despite your best efforts, you may need to use the best washing machine cleaner. Many different products are available designed to clean and deodorize washing machines. Follow the instructions on the packaging carefully to ensure you use the product safely and effectively.
Keeping your washing machine smelling fresh and clean doesn’t require much effort. Following these simple cleaning tips can prevent unpleasant odors from taking over your laundry room.
Bonus Tip: Keeping Clothes Clean and Fresh When Using Washing Machine
Here are some bonus tips and tricks that can help you keep your clothes clean, fresh, and vibrant.
1: Separate Clothes by Color and Fabric
It might seem like a no-brainer, but separating clothes by color and fabric can significantly improve the quality of your wash. It is advisable to wash whites separately from bright colors. Furthermore, don’t mix synthetic with natural fibers. Synthetic fibers like polyester and rayon have different wash requirements than natural fibers, such as cotton and linen. Separating your clothes this way ensures no dye transfer or fabric damage occurs, keeping your clothes looking good for longer.
2: Pre-treating Stains
If you have many stained pieces of clothing, pre-treatment is a must. Apply a pre-treat solution to the stained area before washing. Give it time to soak into the fibers to break down the stain. Alternatively, dish soap or baking soda can remove grimier stains before washing. Don’t use bleach, though – unless the fabric is white, as it can permanently damage or discolor your clothes.
3: Use Fabric Softener
Fabric softener ensures that your clothes come out of the wash with a pleasant fragrance and reduces the severity of wrinkles. Add it to the rinse cycle, and it will work its magic. However, use it in moderation. Adding too much fabric softener can lead to a residue on your clothes, especially dark ones.
4: Don’t Overload the Washing Machine
We get it – you want to do your laundry in one go, so let’s stuff everything inside the washing machine. While it may seem efficient, overloading a washer can lead to poor wash results. The machine won’t agitate correctly, leading to issues like tangling, damp clothes, and detergent residue. An overloaded machine will need more time to dry clothes, which might mean using more energy. So, it’s better to split your laundry load and give each garment the space it needs.
5: Sometimes Air Drying Is the Way to Go
Even though tumble-drying is convenient, sometimes air-drying clothes is the best option. Air-drying is gentle on your clothes and ensures they don’t shrink or lose shape. Avoid drying dark clothes in direct sunlight – or too long – as they could fade. Instead, hang them in a well-ventilated place, ideally outside, where they can dry quickly. Remember to shake your clothes before hanging them, as this helps to remove creases and improves their appearance.
Try these tips out and see how much of an improvement you can make to your laundry day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is it necessary to clean the filter of my washing machine, and if so, how often?
Yes, It is crucial to clean the filter of your washing machine to prevent clogging and increase the life of your washing machine. It is advisable to clean the filter after every wash. To clean washing machine filters, you need to locate it. In some washing machines, it is under the drum, while in others, it is at the bottom. Once you locate the filter, detach it and rinse it under running water.
Q: How do I remove mold and mildew from my washing machine?
Mold and mildew could pose potential health hazards when they accumulate in your washing machine. Fortunately, it’s easy to remove them. Begin by cleaning the drum and rubber seal of your washing machine. You can use vinegar by mixing it with water and spraying the inside of the drum before running the machine without clothes. There are specialized washing-machine cleaners that can also remove mildew and mold.
Q: How do I clean the rubber seal around the door of my washing machine?
In order to clean the rubber seal around the door of your washing machine, you need to check your machine manual for the recommended method. Most machines come with advice on how to get rid of the filth easily. An easy DIY tip is to use vinegar and water solution and a soft cleaning cloth to scrub the rubber seal, ensuring you reach all the gaps. For stubborn grime, mix baking powder and water to form a paste and gently scrub the area with a brush.
Q: How do I clean the agitator or impeller in a top-loading washing machine?
The agitator or impeller in a top-loading machine can easily accumulate dirt, causing the machine not to work optimally. In order to clean them:
- Run the machine without clothes filled with hot water and some laundry detergent.
- Leave the appliance to agitate for a couple of minutes, then stop the spin cycle and let it soak for about an hour.
- Remove the agitator or impeller, then scrub with detergent or a laundry stain stick to remove any remaining stains.
- Rinse the components and return them to their place.
Q: How can I prevent the buildup of soap scum in my washing machine?
The accumulation of soap scum can cause harm to the functioning of your washing machine. To prevent soap scum buildup, you must use the correct amount of detergent. Too much detergent can create more lather leading to soap buildup. Try using chemical-free detergents or reducing the amount of detergent you use. Lastly, make it a habit to clean the machine’s inside regularly.
I have to say; I never realized how important it is to clean your washing machine until recently. For a long time, I assumed that the soap and water running through it during every cycle would take care of any grime or buildup. But I was wrong. After taking some time to learn how to clean my washing machine properly, my laundry routine has been forever changed. It smells fresher and feels cleaner, and even my clothes seem to come out looking better. If you haven’t given some TLC to your washing machine lately, I recommend taking some time to do so. Follow the steps and tips outlined in this article, and you’ll surely see a difference.