When was the last time you cleaned your washing machine? We do our laundry very regularly, but rarely does it occur to us to clean the machine that is doing all the cleaning. Even during spring cleaning and daily chores, tending to the washer is often the last thing on our minds – if at all.
Just as you wash a washing cloth after cleaning, it can be important to occasionally clean the machine for long-lasting use. As in any warm and damp environment, mould and types of bacteria can develop inside a washing machine. With regular cleanups and maintenance, you can make the most of your washer and ensure it stays spotless inside and out.
Here are a few simple tips to keep different parts of your washing machine clean:
The drum of the washing machine is one of the main areas that needs to be kept clean. After all, that's where all the clothes get washed. Vinegar, which consists of acetic acid and water, is one of the easiest cleaning agents you'll find. It can be used to clean everything from to irons to carpets.
You can wash the machine's interior by running a hot water cycle and adding a quart of vinegar. Some people also add a cup of baking soda for thorough cleaning. Once the cycle is over, wipe the drum to dry it up. You can even leave the lid open for a couple of minutes to get rid of any odours.
Some washers also feature self-cleaning cycles that keep the interior sanitised through hot water and drum rotation at high speeds. This helps keep the drum fresh by removing dirt and bacteria without the use of harsh chemicals.
Washer maintenance can also be part of your regular laundry schedule. While many washing machines now offer cold wash options, do your laundry with hot water once in a while so that the machine itself gets some cleaning done in the process.
Detergent compartments are another place where residue can collect. Clean them up once a month to get rid of dried up powder and other excess. Wipe the compartments with a cloth dipped in warm soapy water or fill them up with warm water to soften the buildup and make cleaning easier. At the end, wipe the compartments with a paper towel to leave them dry.
Clean the filter
Lint filters and vents should also be checked regularly. Ideally, you should clear the filter after every wash so that there is no residue during your next cycle, but you can alternate or do it less frequently as long as it doesn't clog up. When you want to clean the filter, empty it and wash it thoroughly, then use a brush to get rid of the remaining dirt.
Whether your washing machine is in a dedicated laundry room or the bathroom, dust particles and other forms of dirt can collect on its exterior. You can use different cleaning materials, such as window cleaners and dishwashing liquids, to clean the washer from the outside. But this would also depend on the type of exterior it has, such as stainless steel or plastic. For stainless steel, it would be more appropriate to use white vinegar or a mild detergent with a microfibre towel. The safest way to clean any exterior is with a damp cloth, followed by drying. While washing the exterior, do not forget to scrub the knobs and the crevices around them as dirt can collect there.