How to Clean Your Washing Machine

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The washing machine is an essential part of keeping a clean house. It saves you hours every week washing and wringing out the family clothing. But the one thing it’s all too easy to forget is that your washing machine can sometimes need washing. We never think of this because it’s hard to conceptualize the idea of a dirty cleaning implement. Of course, the washing machine is clean because it gets your clothes clean. But this isn’t necessarily true.

The outside of your washer can get dirty because the washer doesn’t wash itself on the outside. And the inside of your washer can get a little grimy with buildup from water residue and soap scum. There are several ways that a washing machine can get dirty. And the best way for your home to stay clean and pristine inside and out is to learn how to wash your washing machine.

Today, we’re here to share the top tips on how to get your washing machine clean and keep it that way month after month of steady laundry use. 

Wear Gloves

The first and best piece of advice we can give is to wear gloves. Wear your sturdy rubber gloves or work gloves when you start to clean your washing machine. This may not seem necessary at first until you encounter your first finger-slicing moment. Washing machines have a few inner metal edges that are just sharp enough to slice your finger. Especially when you are moving your hand vigorously to scrub away soap residue. Wearing gloves will keep your hands safe so you can clean as thoroughly as you need to without worrying about cuts.

Be especially careful of your hands when the lid or door of the washer is open. The older the washer model, the bigger a risk there is that an interior edge is able to slice a hand.  

Scrub Away Detergent Drips

Where do you load your detergent? In a lot of homes, the detergent is stored above the washer or there are spills of detergent down the front of the washer due to awkwardly large bottles of detergent. There is almost always a few drips of detergent on the outside of your washer. Find them and scrub them away. These drips of detergent dry into a sticky residue that collects dust and other grime. By keeping the washer clean of detergent, you can keep it clean of everything else.

The best way to get rid of detergent drips is with a wet rag or sponge. The water is the key. Water dissolves the old detergent and makes it easier to wipe up off the surface of the washer. 

Clean Out the Soap Dispenser

The next smart step is to clean the soap dispenser very thoroughly. The soap dispenser is the single place that is most likely to build up a residue of both water scale and old soap scum. If you use a fabric softener, if you use liquid detergent, then the liquids will have left some residue inside the soap dish used by your washer. If you use powdered detergent, there is an even higher chance that there’s a difficult puddle of powder-paste left behind at the bottom of the soap dispenser.

This is because of how the soap dispenser works. The soap dispenser holds soap during the early stages of the wash. When it’s time to add soap, a small amount of water flushes through the soap dispenser to pull the soap into the load. But the water often isn’t enough to keep the entire soap compartment clean. So grab that sponge and wipe down your washer soap compartment from time to time. 

Run Hot with Vinegar

Of course, the real secret weapon of keeping your washer clean is simple white vinegar. White vinegar is the ideal way to keep any appliance clean, especially appliances that run water. Vinegar both kills bacteria and melts the scale left behind by hard water. It can clear water lines that have become clogged. It can clear water nozzles that jet into the clothes. It can clear the soap and water residue in the soap dispenser.

Pouring vinegar into the soap dispenser to run a load as if the vinegar is the soap. Or wipe down the inside of the drum directly with vinegar to kill any bacteria that may be left behind. The best way to clean your washer is to fill the soap dispenser with white vinegar, then run the washer empty on hot. This combines boiling hot water and white vinegar to blast your washer interior clean again. 

Wipe Down the Door Gasket

If you have a front-loading washer, you will find a very large door gasket in between the door and the door pocket. This ensures that several gallons of water used to wash the clothes doesn’t escape and leak all over the floor. Unfortunately, the large door gaskets on front-loading washing machines tend toward mold and mildew.

Keeping the door gasket clean is essential to keeping your clothes and the entire washer fresh and mold-free. The best way to wash your door gasket is with a washcloth soaked in vinegar. Wipe the entire gasket, including the deep folds that fill with water. Between washes, use a cloth or even a dirty piece of clothing to sop up the pooling water and do a quick wipe-down of the door gasket will help to prevent mildew.

—Is your washing machine grimy or performing below expectations? Keeping your washer clean is essential to keeping a clean house. Wipe up those detergent spills and run your washer empty on hot to blast away the interior grime. Don’t forget the white vinegar, which can make a real difference in the health and performance of your washer. With a little elbow grease, your washer can benefit from a little TLC to keep it clean month after month.

For more insights on proper appliance care, maintenance, and repair, contact us today. Our team of appliance technicians look forward to hearing from you. 

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