Everyone is busy with jobs, families and getting back into leading a semi-normal life – we get it. When it comes to your to-do list, we bet there is one item that hardly ever makes it to the top – clean your washing machine. I will fully admit, that I never even thought about it. One day, I was pulling out a new black top from the dryer and noticed it had a red stain. The top was cheap and cheerful, so I just wrote it off as a one off. Then, it happened again with a top that I really liked, and I set out to figure out the reason.
Sometimes household cleansers with bleach or even skin cleansers with hydrogen peroxide can cause stains, but that didn’t make sense. I did what every person alive does when they need an answer – I Googled “Why do I have red stains on my black clothing”. One of the reasons given was rust in the basin of the washing machine. Mine looked like the one above – pristine, but before I felt too much pride, I looked at the rubber gasket around the opening of the front-loader and gasped. That is when it hit me – not only did I not know how to clean my washing machine – I couldn’t remember ever doing it! After watching several YouTube videos and reading more articles, here is how to clean your washing machine:
Why You Have to Clean Your Washing Machine
Your laundry detergent and fabric softener can leave behind soap residue and contain minerals that can build up over time. You may also notice that sometimes your clothes do not get as clean as they used to. Dirt from the clothes you are washing, mold or mildew and grease can build up and leave your washing machine with a musty smell.
How Often Should You Do It?
It depends. Once a month is a good guideline. Check your owner’s manual for your specific machine.
What Are the Steps?
The good news is that many of the new models of washing machines come with self-cleaning features. Follow the owner’s guide to use these. If you have an older washig machine, it isn’t difficult at all.
Step One: Wipe around the rubber gasket if you have a front loader with a clean, wet, soap cloth (liquid dish soap will work). Use a wet, soapy toothbrush to clean around the gasket until it comes away clean. Dry the rubber gasket.
Step Two: Use 1/2 cup of liquid bleach or a specialty washing machine cleaner like Tide Washing Machine Cleaner or Taffy’s Washing Machine Cleaner. You can find products like this online or at your favourite hardware store. Run a cycle with the hottest temperature on your machine. Run the cycle again to make sure that all residue is gone. Washing machine cleaners have ingredients that remove build up and grease, therefore, they may work better than bleach.
Step Three: Remove the dispenser drawer where you put the detergent (check and make sure it is removable first) and rinse it with hot water. Use the toothbrush from step one to remove any detergent residue. Dry the dispenser thoroughly and put it back.
Step Four: Wipe the exterior of your washing machine with your favourite cleaner.
What You Can Do To Keep Your Laundry (And Washer) Smelling Fresh
- Remove your laundry from the washer right away. The longer your clothes or towels sit, the mustier your machine will smell
- Keep the washer door open after each use. The air will dry the machine more quickly and help prevent musty odours
- Check the gasket regularly for loose items. Small items can get trapped and create those musty odours. Dry the gasket to prevent mold and mildew