Do you have a front loading washing machine? If so, you most likely have noticed a pretty foul smell that gets worse with time. This smell comes from the fact that the washing machine has an extremely tight seal (which is good because you wouldn’t want water leaking all over the floor during your washing cycle). However, when you tightly enclose wet clothes, a musty odor begins to overwhelm the space.
A couple weeks ago, my aunt asked me about cleaning her washing machine. I did my best to explain the process over Facebook Messenger, but without pictures, it was pretty hard to give all the details. So, today I thought I would give you a little tutorial on cleaning your front-loading washing machine. *For those of you with a top-loading machine, you actually have it a little easier. You can do many of the steps listed here, but some will not apply.
Here’s What You’ll Need
- Vinegar or Bleach
- Baking Soda
The first thing you need to do is clean your washing machine filter. Warning! This process is cringe-worthy! Towards the bottom of your washer you should see a little door, and inside this door is your filter. You will also see a hose.
Take the hose and secure it over a bucket (I use an ice cream bucket). Remove the end-cap and allow all the water to drain.
The water that comes out of the hose is one of the WORST smells ever! I choose to wear a mask because it is strong and indescribable… I know, you’re pumped to do this now, aren’t you? Once all the water has drained out of the hose, you can remove the filter. Place an old towel underneath, because despite all the water you just drained, more still comes out when removing the filter… yes, that’s right, more rancid water to deal with. Yippee! (Just trying to stay positive here!)
Isn’t that lovely.? (Don’t worry, I’ll wait while you pin it… Done?). Once the filter has been removed, place it in a container (again, I use an ice cream bucket) and cover it with vinegar. Let it soak for 15-30 minutes.
When the filter is done soaking, you can wash it with a little dish soap and a paper towel. Replace the filter and close the door never to deal with it for another 3-6 months!
Now it’s time to clean the inside of the washer. You can certainly use bleach for this, but when I did my post on freshening the laundry, I discovered that vinegar and baking soda did an amazing job of ridding not only my towels of musty odors, but the machine itself smelled fresh as well. Therefore, I’m going with the vinegar/baking soda route once again.
Remove any clothes from the washer. Then, fill your detergent holder with vinegar, or bleach, if that’s the route you’re going. (Note- do NOT mix bleach and vinegar together!) My washer actually has a setting called “Tub Clean”, so I just push the button and let the washing machine clean itself.
If you do not have a “Tub Clean” setting, I’m sure just running a normal cycle with hot water will do the trick (this goes for top-loaders as well). Once the cycle is complete, you can run another normal cycle with 1/2 cup baking soda, again, using a hot water setting.
Alright, you’re almost there! The last thing you need to do is wash the inside and outside of the washer. Using a DIY All Purpose Spray, sponge down the inside and outside of the washer. (The reason I use a DIY version of the All Purpose Spray is because I’m not sure if using a store-bought version would do something to your washer or clothes. Better safe than sorry, right? If you don’t want to use a DIY version, I would recommend just using water). Make sure you wash the inside door because soap builds up there. You will also need to clean inside the rubber seal.
Because you already ran your machine through the above cycles, much of the soap scum, etc. that builds up in the seal will have been washed out, but using a few paper towels to really remove any remaining gunk is a good idea.
Yay- clean washing machine!!! In order to maintain the fresh smell as long as possible, keep the door slightly ajar when the machine is not in use. This allows for air flow to the machine.
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