In order to keep your washer running at peak performance, you’ve got to make sure the washer stays clean — and traditional laundry methods mean your washer might be prone to gunk, residue build-up, bacteria and odors. We depend on our washing machine to clean our laundry, but it can’t do an efficient job if it’s not kept clean. In fact, one of the first signs of a dirty washing machine might be the telltale indicators you see on your clothes: strange oily deposits, musty smells, lingering stains, dull colors, waxy residue and towels that just won’t fluff. The good news is, as long as you keep up with regular maintenance and routine cleaning, your washing machine should continue to perform well and be a steadfast appliance for many years! A good rule of thumb is to clean your washer, inside and out, once a month.
- Wipe down the exterior. For this, you can use an all-purpose cleaner, or just some vinegar. Avoid abrasive cleaners, as they can scratch the surface.
- Clean out the tub. To remove odors, stains, and build up of detergents and fabric softener, pour two cups of white vinegar or lemon juice into the tub and run it through a complete cycle on the hottest setting.
- Scrub the lid or door. White vinegar is also good for removing mildew and detergent buildup around edge of the door and around the window on front load machines.
- Don’t forget the bleach and fabric softener dispensers! Remove these if possible and scrub them in the sink, drying them thoroughly before returning them to the machine.
One more place that you might not think of cleaning but should: the inlet hose filters. These are found inside the water inlet connections, and they keep minerals and debris in the water from getting inside the washer. If they’re clogged, they’ll impede the flow of water into the machine for the wash cycle or cause the washer to not operate at all. While you’re cleaning the washer, inspect the hoses to make sure they are firmly connected and if signs of cracking are found, the hoses should be replaced.
When everything’s said and done, the entire cleaning process should take less than thirty minutes!
A few other tips to remember:
- Remove laundry promptly after the cycle completes, and leave the lid open afterwards, to prevent mildewing.
- Consider switching from commercial fabric softeners to white vinegar, since adding too much fabric softener may cause spotting on clothes.
- On the other hand, for even less buildup, consider using no detergent at all! Try investing in a detergent-free laundry system, which uses oxygen, peroxide, and other oxidizers to lift dirt and odors from clothing without leaving residue in your washer or allergens in your clothes. Hospitals and hotels have used similar technology for years.