How to Deep Clean a Washing Machine
Have you ever opened your washing machine to transfer your laundry to the dryer only to notice a bad smell? This can be a frustrating experience, and it’s typically caused by a washing machine that hasn’t been regularly cleaned. While the washing machine is designed to clean linens, towels, and clothing, it also needs its own cleaning from time to time to efficiently do the job. The odor that can emanate from a washing machine that hasn’t been cleaned is only a small part of the problem. When fabric softener, debris, and laundry detergent are stuck to the washing machine tub, these things can rub off onto your clothes. This will result in stains and marks. This is why it’s essential to clean the washer at least once a month. You’ll avoid stains and musty odors at the same time.
Once it’s time to do a more thorough cleaning, the steps below will take you through the process. Both top-loading and side-loading machines can be cleaned in nearly the exact same way. Follow this easy guide and your washing machine will be clean in minutes.
Tools and Materials Needed to Deep Clean Your Washing Machine
There are a handful of items that you should have on hand when you’re planning to clean a washing machine. First, make sure you have a tough pair of kitchen gloves that you can wear throughout the process. This will prevent allergic reactions and keep your skin soft, even when using abrasive or acidic cleansers. You’ll also need some white vinegar, and baking soda to get through the process. Having a toothbrush and a couple of bowls will also streamline your cleaning. After you have all of these things located and placed in your laundry room, it’s time to move forward and start cleaning.
- Clean the Softener and Detergent Dispensers Has it been a while since you last cleaned your washing machine? There’s nothing to be ashamed of; it’s something that can easily slip the mind. If this is the case for you, add a note to your calendar to get in there and do the job every month. This will keep you on task so that your washing machine stays in the best condition possible. If cleaning hasn’t been done recently, you might find a lot of liquid and debris in the detergent and fabric softener areas of the washer. The best way to take care of this is by taking the components out of the machine and disassembling them. Next, make a mixture of white vinegar (around half a cup) and a sink full of hot water. Place the components inside and let them soak for about 15 minutes. Once the parts have soaked, you can drain the sink and scrub off any residue that remains. Let the items air dry and then you can set them to the side and get started with other cleaning necessities.
- Start Working on the Gasket Now it’s time to get to work on the machine’s gasket. The best way to handle this task is by adding white vinegar to a cloth before wiping down the rubber gasket. All sorts of things, including animal fur, mold, and other debris, can get onto this component and make your washing machine far from pristine. You can use a reasonably large amount of vinegar for this task, but before you do, make sure you crack a window or have other ventilation available since vinegar fumes can be potent. After you wipe down the gasket, let it stand for a few minutes before you go back in and scrub things clean.This is the easiest option for dislodging any gunk you find on this part. After the gasket is looking like new, use a warm, damp cloth to wipe everything down one more time. Don’t leave any moisture since this can cause mold to grow.
- Scrub the Exterior of the Washing Machine You can remove dust and dirt from your washing machine’s exterior using any type of traditional cleaner. An all-purpose cleaner can be used on many appliances and works great for getting rid of unsightly gunk on the outside of your machine. Use a soft cloth to apply the cleaner and then wipe it down after the cleaning is finished. You’ll also want to clean the inside of the door, as well. For this, you can use a different kind of cleanser. Go back to the vinegar that you used earlier to wipe down the inside of the washer door. Once you get done with cleaning both of these components, your washing machine should look as good as new.
- Take Care of the Filter Cleansing Find the filter in your washing machine, which may have a label telling you how often to clean it out. Every manufacturer and model can have different cleaning instructions, so this is an excellent time to take a look at your user’s manual. However, we’ll share information on what the process is like for many of the washing machines on the market today.
Have a bowl on hand and ready as you move forward. Now you can start removing the tubing before you take the cap off and let the water drain into the bowl. Don’t be surprised if the water has a strong odor; this is relatively normal. After you have the water drained out, leave the tubing cap off before taking off the filter’s cover and then the actual washer filter. Use a flashlight or other illumination to look at the drain pump to see if anything is clogging it up. If there is, it will need to be removed. If not, you can move forward.Go back to your sink with the filter and fill it with hot water and vinegar again. Place the filter into the sink and let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes. This will help break up any of the debris that is stuck on the part so that it’s easier to remove when you scrub it. When soaking is done, a toothbrush can be used to scrub the filter thoroughly. Once this part has been given time to dry, it can be replaced on the washing machine. Next, put both of the caps back on for the filter and the tubing. Then you can close the cover for the filter. Everything needs to be secured and closed so that the washer doesn’t malfunction or leak.
- Put the Detergent and Softener Parts Back in Place Now that you’ve made it through one of the most complicated steps, you can move on to something much simpler. If you haven’t yet reassembled the softener and detergent components, this is the time to take care of that. After everything is put back together, you can replace these parts and won’t need to worry about them until the next cleaning you schedule.
- Run a Full Washing Cycle on High Heat You’ll need to plug the washing machine back in to move forward with cleaning. For this step, you’ll want to get your vinegar out again. Take two cups of the liquid and add it to the machine in the detergent slot. Now you can run a cycle on the highest heat possible to get the best cleaning possible. You can take a break while the washer is running and appreciate that you’re almost done with the cleaning process.
- A Second Cycle Needs to Be Run Once your washer has done its job with the vinegar cycle, you’re going to use another cleanser to ensure all the dirt and debris is removed. Take about a half of a cup of baking soda and place it into the machine. Instead of putting this where the detergent goes, the baking soda can be put straight into the washing machine drum. Similar to the last step, you’re going to want to run a second cycle with the hottest water possible.
- Wipe Everything Down One More Time The finishing touch on your cleaning experience is a simple wipe down. This will only take a minute or two and will ensure your washing machine is dry and ready for regular use. After you’ve done the two cycles we mentioned above, use a dry cloth to wipe down the washer drum. This will remove any debris remaining and get rid of excess water.
Special Instructions for Top-Loading Washers
There are a few things you can keep in mind to clean a top-loader that will increase the efficiency of cleaning. While you’re doing the first hot water cycle mentioned above, you can pause it in the middle. After the tub has filled and started to vibrate, stop the cycle for around an hour to let the vinegar really soak in.
Another thing to know about top-loading washers is that they often get dustier more quickly than front-loading washers. If you’re dealing with detergent or dust splatters, you can wipe the dials and top of the machine with a cloth dunked in white vinegar. Your cleaning toothbrush will help you reach challenging areas around the rim and lid of the tub.
Special Instructions for Front-Loading Machines
For a front-loading machine, the rubber seal on the door often creates musty smells so that will need to be cleaned thoroughly. Get rid of leftover soap and moisture using a white vinegar spray around the door. If there is a great deal of debris to deal with, you can also use a diluted bleach mixture to clean the area instead. Remember to leave the door open for a few hours after you use the washer to keep moisture out.
Essential Tips for Maintaining a Tidy Washing Machine
Want to maintain a clean washing machine in between deep cleans? Follow these three tips to ensure your washing machine stays clean and laundry fresh. Consider how much fabric softener, detergent, and debris can get built up inside the washing machine. On top of that, dirt and mold can become stuck underneath the rubber seal and cause even more cleanliness issues. The washing machine interior should be cleaned once a month, although the drain hose and filter may not need as much attention.
However, there is a trio of tips that you can use on a more frequent basis to keep your washer running well between major cleanings:
- Remove Clean Clothes Quickly – When your washing machine gets to the end of a cycle, it’s a good idea to take the clothes and towels out as soon as possible. When you do this every time you do a laundry load, it can prevent a musty odor from developing inside the machine. You’ll appreciate how excellent your clothing smells right out of the washer.
- Eliminate Hair and Debris – Those who have pets will find that lots of fur ends up in the washer after you run a few loads of laundry. Keep the door open and let the washing machine drum dry before moving forward. Next, use a vacuum with a soft brush to get rid of all the fur and other debris inside. This will ensure your washing machine can run at its best.
- Leave the Door Open – If you have a top-loading machine, make a habit of lifting the lid when it’s not in use. For front-loaders, pop the door open after a cycle. When you do this, any extra moisture will be removed through the circulating air. If you have pets or children, be especially cautious about this to ensure their safety.
It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to keep your washing machine sparkling clean if you make sure you go through this cleaning process just once a month. Not only will it make your laundry room look great, but it will keep your clothes from getting stained and ensure your washing machine stays in excellent working order. Add it to your monthly chores and see how far it goes! As always if you have any additional questions, we are always here to help at AppliancePartsPros.com.