How to: Clean Your Washing Machine

Last week, we talked about some laundry facts & fiction – one of which concerned washing machine upkeep.

So, pop quiz: should you clean your washing machine?

If you gave an emphatic ‘Yes!’, then you should feel proud of yourself. If you said anything else, perhaps you should take 5-10 minutes to read our last article.

Now that we’re all on the same page, repeat after me: Yes, I should clean my washing machines on a semi-regular basis.

But why? Why wouldn’t something designed to clean your clothing stay relatively clean on its own?

Let’s explore some central reasons it’s smart to clean your washing machine and then discuss some of the best methods!

Why should I clean my washing machine?

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In an ideal world, your washing machine would remain perpetually clean and sparkly, always ready to spew out spotless, fresh clothing. But realistically, the dirt and germs from your dirty clothing have to go somewhere.

While most residue will be washed away with the draining of the drum, a certain amount of dirt & bacteria will remain within the machine. And after months and months of washing, this residue builds up.

Therefore, depending on how frequently you use your washing machine, set a schedule to clean its interior every few months or weeks. In doing so, you ensure the authentic cleanliness of your items and extend the life-span of your machine.

‘Okay, I should clean my washing machine. But how?’

This is a fair question – how do you clean something whose sole job is to clean other things?

There are a few sure-fire methods, but we’ll outline our favourites below.

1. Start by using hydrogen peroxide


The germs and dirt that build up within the interior of your washing machine have probably been there a while. Therefore, the residue won’t come off too easily.

By soaking the drum with the hydrogen peroxide-infused towels, you’ll loosen any mould and residue left behind.

Start by cleaning the door seals and drum with towels soaked in hydrogen peroxide. Once you’ve wiped down the interior, allow the towels to rest in the drum for about an hour.

After the time is up, use them to wipe down the interior a second time.

2. Set your machine to its hottest, longest cycle


Next, you’ll want to run your washing machine at its hottest, most intense cycle. This affords the time and heat required to dislodge any remaining residue.

For this wash cycle, you’ll want to add white vinegar & baking soda. When combined, this mixture is effective for eliminating mould, limescale and ridding your machine of foul odours.

Generally, it’s best to stick to 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1 litre of white vinegar.

If you have a front-loading washing machine, you can place the baking soda and white vinegar in the detergent and fabric softener dispensers, respectively. They’ll be released and combine during the machine’s wash cycle.

If you have a top-loading washing machine, then it’s best to let the drum fill with water for a few minutes before adding the baking soda and white vinegar.

Once added, let the machine run for a minute or two to mix up your components. Then, pause the cycle and let the solution soak for about an hour.

Afterwards, run the wash cycle as normal.

3. Opt for a second cycle


Once this first wash cycle is complete, it’s best to run a second cycle with only hot water.

This will dislodge any remaining residue, ensuring that your machine is sparkling clean.

4. Wipe it down

After the second cycle concludes, take a cloth soaked in white vinegar and wipe down the interior of the drum.

Pay special attention to the door seals and agitator (the thing in the middle of a top-loading machine that stirs your clothing), as these can be secret places for residue to hide.

And voilĂ , your washing machine should be (almost) as good as new!

Though this may be a time-consuming task, it’s essential to keep your machine in top working order.

When we treat our items with care and attention, we prolong their lifespan and save ourselves a future headache or two.


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