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How to Clean a Washing Machine

person loading detergent in washer

Even washing machines need cleaning sometimes. Here’s how to do it.

With spring cleaning afoot, one should not neglect the machine that helps you stay clean every day: the washing machine. Clothes sustain a lot of dust, dirt, etc., every day and need proper cleaning, but without a clean washing machine, they (and we) will still remain dirty. Yes, even cleaning machines need cleaning. Here’s how to clean a washing machine in several easy steps.

Wipe the Outside

Wiping the outside of the machine can be one of the first or last things you do when you clean a washing machine. Even the appliance’s exterior could become dirty, and when the exterior has grime, the whole appliance can have a harder time operating properly. 

Wipe the Door

The next task is to wipe the washer’s door, especially if it is a front loader. A front-loading washing machine door can become scuzzy, caked with suds and dust. An all-purpose cleaner, a paper towel, and some elbow grease are generally enough to complete the task.

Complete a Cycle

The most important step is to clean the washer’s interior. You can use a variety of products, such as white vinegar, baking soda, both, or a commercial washing machine cleaner. Run the washer empty on the hottest cycle with the cleaning solution to clean your washing machine. Check to see if your machine has a self-cleaning cycle as well, and refer to its care instructions.

Wash the Drawer

Extend the laundry detergent drawer as far out as it will go. If you can remove it completely, you can wash it in the sink with mild detergent. If not, wash with an appropriate cleaner thoroughly.

Do It Again

How often should you wash your washing machine? It doesn’t hurt to do it once a month or every 30 washes. Deep cleaning it at least once a year would be a good rule of thumb. 

How to Maintain a Front-Loading Washer

Front-loading washing machines have a habit of gathering a musty, moldy smell if you leave the door closed when the interior is wet. Keep the door and laundry detergent drawer open after finishing a load until they dry.

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