The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Washing Machine

cleaning your washing machine

Your washing machine works hard to keep your clothes clean and smelling fresh. However, people often forget that their washing machine needs to be cleaned and maintained, too. You should clean your machine once a month or every 30 cycles. The first time you clean your machine, it might take a while. Once you start to do it regularly, it shouldn’t take more than 20-30 minutes each time. In this blog, we’ll go over everything you need to know about cleaning your washing machine and how to keep it pristine.

Empty Out the Machine

This might go without saying, but before you clean your machine, be sure it’s empty. Clothes can be ruined if they get left in the drum while you’re cleaning it. Plus, your machine won’t get cleaned out very well if it’s full.

Wipe It Down

Next, you’ll want to wipe down the inside of your machine. (If you have a top-loading machine, skip this step). Get a microfiber cloth and a spray bottle of diluted vinegar (a 1:1 ratio with water is great for cleaning). Spray down the inside of your machine (the drum) and give it a good wipe-down. This will remove any detergent buildup that might have accumulated. Then, wipe down the inside of the door. Finally, wipe out the rubber gasket/seal around the opening of the washing machine. That thing gets NASTY, so prepare yourself. The gasket is usually the culprit if your front-load washing machine smells bad. 

Clean the Filter

Top-loading washing machines typically don’t have a filter, so you get to skip this step too! For front-loading machines, you’ll need to clean out your filter four times a year. This differs based on every machine, so you’ll need to check your owner’s manual for the details. The basics of this is pretty much the same, however. You’ll open the filter door (usually on the bottom front of the machine) to access it. You need a bowl handy to catch the water that hides the filter. You’ll drain out the excess water and wipe out the filter with diluted vinegar. If it’s really gross, you can let it soak in some soapy water for a bit. 

Scrub the Detergent Drawer

This step applies to all types of machines. If your detergent cups are removable, take them out and let them soak in some warm, soapy water. Wipe out the detergent area with the microfiber cloth and diluted vinegar. Be sure to put them all back in before you run the machine again. 

Run a Cleaning Cycle

Cleaning a Top-Loading Washing Machine

Fill the drum with the hottest water available and a quart of vinegar. You can also use bleach if you want; just make sure never to mix bleach and vinegar. Let it sit and soak for an hour. Then, allow the machine to drain. Once that’s done, run a cleaning cycle. If your machine doesn’t have an option for a drum clean or machine cleaning cycle, just use the hottest, longest one you can. 

Cleaning a Front-Loading Washing Machine

If you have a front-loading machine, you can use vinegar or a commercial washing machine cleanser. As with the top-loading machine, if you don’t have an option for a tub-clean, pick the longest, hottest cycle available. 

Leave the Door Open

Finally, let your machine air-dry every time you use it. Whether you’re cleaning your washing machine or just doing laundry, this is important. Keep the door open until it’s completely dried out to prevent mildew and mold from growing. 

If you haven’t cleaned your machine out for a while, you might need to give it a good scrub down. Once you get into the habit of maintaining your washing machine, it shouldn’t take more than 20-30 minutes each month to clean your machine. Doing this regularly will keep your machine working its best and your clothes smelling fresh!

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