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How to clean your washing machine

washing machine

It may seem counterintuitive, but did you know that you actually have to clean your washing machine? Most people think that regular wash cycles with water and detergent keep your washing machine clean — but unfortunately, this isn't the case. 

Like your dishwasher and other large appliances, your washing machine needs to be regularly cleaned and sanitized. Consumer Reports notes that if washing machines (especially front-loading washing machines) aren’t regularly cleaned, they can develop mold, mildew, and odor.

Here are a few of our handiest tips for cleaning your washing machine:

Cleaning your machine

You can remove soap scum, mildew, and mold from your washing machine naturally! To start, you only need the following common household items.

  • One quart of white vinegar
  • One quart of bleach
  • Extra white vinegar and baking soda
  • A toothbrush
  • A cloth
  1. First, take out your machine’s removable parts and soak them in a mixture of bleach and baking soda for an hour. After completing steps three and four, you can replace these parts. 
  2. Next, using an unused toothbrush with bleach and vinegar solution, scrub the agitator, areas under the lid, and around the tub. You can also clean the front and sides of your machine, but don’t close the lid.
  3. Meanwhile, fill your machine with hot water. Once hot water has filled the tub, add bleach and run the machine until the bleach is thoroughly mixed with hot water. Let the bleach mixture sit for an hour; once an hour has passed, run a full wash cycle. This will clear the bleach entirely from your machine.
  4. After your machine has finished this cycle, refill the tub with hot water again. Add white vinegar and let the machine run for a minute to combine the water and vinegar. Leave the mixture for an hour. After that, run a wash cycle again.
  5. After your machine has fully drained, clean the tub one more time with the vinegar and baking soda solution.

washing machine

Once you're finished with this process, the inside of your machine should feel smoother and smell fresher, indicating that mold and mildew have been removed. If you’re searching for a new washing machine, look for models with their own tub-cleaning cycle; that way, the machine will do all the work for you!

Keep your machine clean

Wipe down the door and rubber gasket after every wash.

Your washing machine door and the rubber that surrounds it do not dry well. After each wash, be sure to wipe down the door and the rubber; you can even hook a cloth to the machine to remind yourself. After wiping down these places, leave the door of the machine open so that the inside dries out more quickly. If you have a top-load machine, you may have a latch that keeps the door open between washes so that the inside can dry out properly.

Clean out your soap dispenser.

The inside of your washing machine isn’t the only place that regularly needs a deep clean: to get rid of soap buildup and bad odor, you also need to care for your detergent dispenser. You can make sure it’s clean and functional by keeping several things in mind. First, always leave it open when your machine is not in use. Second, always use the right amount of detergent: check the back of your detergent box to determine how much solution you should use. Using the correct amount can eliminate residue.

While these steps can help keep your washing machine clean, you may still encounter technical issues with your washing machine over the course of its lifetime. If your washing machine is making loud noises, won’t drain, or is vibrating roughly, call a John C. Flood plumber  to ensure your machine is functioning properly. Our expert technicians are ready to respond to any issues (emergency or longer-term) 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Give us a call today!