How to Clean the Washing Machine and Dryer
Cleaning the Washer and Dryer
The washing machine and dryer faithfully clean our clothes day after day and honestly, we don’t give them much of a second thought.
It’s important to keep them clean for our clothes to get clean, smell fresh, and prevent poor performance issues.
Here are some easy cleaning tips to keep your washer and dryer clean and help to prolong the life and efficiency of these time saving appliances.
Cleaning the Washing Machine
It is essential to periodically clean the washing machine to avoid bacteria growth, remove any residue that can be left behind from detergents and to keep our clothes from smelling bad. As a rule of thumb, it is recommended to clean the washing machine at least once a month. If I’m washing my husband’s dirty work clothes, I’ll typically clean the tub after so it’s clean for the next load of clothes.
You should not wait to clean the washing machine until there are apparent signs that it is in need of cleaning.
Cleaning a Top Loading Washing Machine
Prior to running the hot water cycle, clean the bleach dispenser, fabric softener dispenser and detergent dispenser using a toothbrush. Clean the top of the tub to remove any dirty debris and clean the inside of the lid.
Cleaning the Agitator and Filter
If you have an agitator, remove the cap and clean that out as well. Consult the user manual on how to clean the filter which may be located at the bottom of the agitator. Newer models have filters in the pump that self clean, so there is no need for maintenance.
Run Empty Cycle to Clean the Drum
With no clothes in the washing machine, set your machine to the cleaning cycle option and either put in a cleaning tablet or 1/2 cup of bleach to thoroughly clean the inside. After running the cleaning cycle, run a rinse cycle before washing a load of clothes.
If you don’t have a cleaning cycle option on your washing machine, run a large, empty hot water cycle with the bleach and run an extra rinse cycle to make sure the bleach is thoroughly removed.
While the washing machine is running you can clean the outside of the machine with a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water.
If you Don’t Want to Use Bleach, Use White Vinegar
If you don’t want to use bleach to clean the inside of the washer, you can use 3 cups of white vinegar instead.
Cleaning a Front Loading Washing Machine
Many people have front loading washing machines and love them but I notice my mother’s front load tends to have a bad smell quite often if not cleaned regularly and the door gasket gets gunky with debris and mildew. For now, I’ll stick with my top loader.
Cleaning the Dispensers, Rubber Seal and Filter
Start by cleaning the dispensers with an old toothbrush. You’ll also want to periodically clean the filter. Check the manual for the location and how to do this. You will most likely need an additional tub or shallow basin of some sort to catch water as you remove the filter then use a soft bristled brush to clean and remove any debris.
Next clean the rubber seal of the drum. As I stated above, it’s a place that gets mildew and bacteria growth, hair and other debris that can get pretty gunked up if not cleaned regularly.
Run a Cleaning Cycle
With no clothes in the washing machine, place a cleaning tablet inside the washer (something like affresh washing machine cleaner). Select the clean washer cycle and let it run. Then run another empty cycle on the hottest and longest cycle or use the sanitize option then wipe down the inside to make sure all residue is gone.
While the washing machine is running, wipe down the outside of the machine.
It is also recommended to leave the washing machine door open for a short time until the inside has air dried.
How to Clean the Dryer
Take the lint trap out of the dryer. Run it under hot water using an old toothbrush to clean then let air dry or use the crevasse tool from the vacuum cleaner to remove any stuck on or embedded pieces of lint from the trap and carefully clean inside the lint trap area.
Unplug and move the dryer away from the wall so you can remove the exhaust hose and vacuum underneath then mop the floor.
Carefully vacuum inside the dryer hose then go outside and remove, clean and vacuum the outside vent.
Reconnect the power and move the dryer back into place and wipe down the outside of the machine. Oh, and while you have the dryer away from the wall, don’t forget to wipe down the back of the machine.
Making Homemade Fabric Softener
So many of us use store bought fabric softeners for the dryer. I mean why not? They are easy and convenient to use, just throw one in the dryer and they remove static cling. But fabric softeners can leave a residue behind on your clothes (which can cause skin irritations for some people) and they can also leave a residue behind on the inside of the machine.
So why not try and make your own DIY fabric softener? It’s easy and only takes a few ingredients.
DIY Fabric Softener Recipe
In a large mason jar or plastic container, add 4 cups epsom salt and 1 cup baking soda. Close the lid securely and shake until combined. You can optionally add in your favorite essential oils for a nice scent, just be sure to shake again to thoroughly mix in the essential oils. Some good ones are lavender, citrus scents, woodsy scents or a combination of what you like best.
Using Your Homemade Fabric Softener
Simply add in 1/4 cup of the fabric softener to a standard load of laundry along with the detergent you use.