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How to Clean Your Washing Machine

By Carrie Dixon, Blog Editor

Washing Machine Cleaning How ToWhen it comes to appliances that keep our homes clean, such as dishwashers and washing machines, it can be easy to forget that the device itself needs cleaning on a regular basis. It may not be something you need to do weekly or even monthly, but it is something that is required. If you have never cleaned out your washing machine and do not know how, never fear! We have all the tips and tricks you need to get that machine gleaming like the day you bought it.

Needed Tools

  • Bleach or white vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Microfiber or cleaning cloth
  • Toothbrush or Q-tips

Instructions for Thorough Cleaning

  1. First things first, you want to fill the washer using the hottest water setting on the largest load size. You will also want to set it for the longest wash, as this gives it more time to clean and sanitize the inside of the washing machine.
  2. While the washer tub is filling, add a quart of vinegar (or bleach). Vinegar is the optimal choice as it can disinfect without the toxins that are found when using bleach. However, either will do in a pinch.
  3. At this point, you will add a cup of baking soda to the mixture. From this point, you can close the lid and let the washer agitate the water mixture for a minute or two. However, you will then open the lid and let the mixture soak for an hour.
  4. While the tub is soaking, you can clean the rest of the machine. You can clean the agitator top and around the lid and rim with a toothbrush or Q-tips. You should also scrub and soak any removable parts, such as the wells for bleach or fabric softener. When you’re done, you can also wide down and clean the front and sides of the machine to get things gleaming. If you want to do more cleaning, use your vinegar to clean the top of the machine, along with the dials.
  5. Once that’s done, let the machine continue soaking until the hour is up.
  6. After an hour, close the lid and let the laundry cycle complete through. You can keep cleaning any areas where it is needed or take a break and let the machine do its thing.
  7. This step involves a second wash. You will run this with a quart of vinegar or bleach, once again. This helps remove and clean anything loosened or left behind during the first cycle.
  8. After the second cycle is complete, wipe down the tub with your vinegar solution, as needed. You’re all done.

Tips and Tricks

  • To keep the machine clean and smelling fresh, it's an excellent idea to leave your lid open when the machine is not in use. This can ensure it dries out and no mildew starts to build up. If you have children or pets, you might want to consider a latch that leaves the machine ajar but not fully open. Another option is a lock for the laundry room.
  • You can also make a habit of wiping down the door and door gasket in between loads with that cleaning cloth from earlier. Leave one in the area, and you’ll find it takes next to no time.
  • If you use a soap dispenser, clean it out on occasion. Not doing so can add to mildew and odors. You can leave this open as well to help with those things.
  • Every few months sanitize the machine with a cup of vinegar or bleach. This will kill any mold and mildew that may be growing in the machine.
  • Follow recommendations from the Department of Energy to keep your machine going strong for longer.