How to Efficiently Clean Your Washing Machine

That’s right, those big things you may have thought were self-cleaning still need a bit of lovin’ once in a while.

We rely on washing machines to continuously pump out fresh, clean clothes day by day. When pulling out clean washed clothes with a subtle scent of pine, that’s a good sign your machine is working efficiently.

The truth is, these machines need regular cleaning and maintenance, along with any other well-used appliance. Clogged filters, building up of gunk between outlets and pipes can all contribute to poor washing sorrows. You know your washing machine is due for some TLC if your clothes are coming out of the wash with odd stains, detergent residue or smelling like the back of an old dusty wardrobe.

Cleaning your washing machine is simple, and as long as you supply the products and a bit of time, the machine will pretty much do a lot of the work for you- bonus! You will have your big old friend pumping out shiny whites in a few easy steps in no time, which could also save you money on any unnecessary washing machine repairs later on down the track.
This cleaning method is chemical-free, cost-efficient and won’t have any detrimental effects on your appliance.

 

What you will need:

Baking Soda
White Vinegar
Old toothbrush
Old cloth/ rag

 

How to clean a top-loading washing machine

1. Combine ½ cup of baking soda with 2 cups of white vinegar
2. Run a hot wash cycle on your washing machine, selecting the highest water level.
3. When the machine is at least half full with water, add the vinegar and baking soda mixture.
4. Once the machine has filled with water, pause the cycle and let the water sit in the machine for about 30 minutes, then allow your machine to run through its usual cycle.
5. Before all of the water drains out, use a toothbrush to scrub the holes in the washing machine barrel. The grime will come away easy after being soaked, and a little warning, you may be slightly grossed out by what comes out!
6. Using the toothbrush, try to scrub under or around any seals you can see that may need a clean.
7. The vinegar, baking soda and hot water will break down any grease or dirty bits and should clean the hoses.
8. Remove and clean any parts that can be washed separately, such as the fabric softener basket and lint catcher.
9. Once the inside looks clean, give the outside a good once over with some washing liquid and wipe away any built-up dust or grime.
Tip: When scrubbing the barrel with the toothbrush, let the water drain out in stages, so you don’t have to hold your hand underneath hot dirty water.

 

How to clean a front loading washing machine

1. Put 2 tablespoons of baking soda into the detergent draw and ½ cup of white vinegar straight into the washing machine drum.
2. Run a normal cycle with hot water.
3. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines on how to clean the filter. Filters are usually a contributing factor to poor washing results in a front loader.
4. If able to, remove and clean the soap and fabric softener dispensers in hot soapy water and dry them out in the sun. This will prevent mould from forming and growing.
5. Leave the machine door slightly open between washes to dry out properly and eliminate mould.
The machine might produce suds during the wash cycle due to the build-up of residue. This will happen less if you clean your machine more frequently.

 

How to tackle detergent residue on clothes

If you find that detergent residue is left on your clothes after a wash:
Do not overload your washing machine.
Try using less detergent in your washes.
Dissolve any powered detergent in hot water before adding it into the machine if you usually wash your items in cold water.
Store powdered detergent in an airtight container to prevent it from getting clumpy. Clumps can be part of the problem with residual.
If you have a clothes dryer, you can put the affected items into a quick cool cycle for 5 minutes. This will help to shake off the excess residue.

 

Author - Siobhan Reilly

Author - Siobhan Reilly

Owner and Professional Organiser of Clutter Monkey