Thursday, September 19, 2013

TNO's Tips & Tricks 34 - How to clean your front loading washer!

* This post contains affiliate links.

Since last week's tips & tricks post centered around choosing a top loading washer, I figured this week it made sense to talk about cleaning the front loader you may already have in your home.

Because these things can get fuuuuuuunky.  For real.

However, with a few simple tricks, let's take your front loading washing machine from a seriously scary place to a nice, squeaky, clean appliance again!

how to clean your washing machine

Let's start by talking about maintenance cleaning first.  The first thing I highly recommend is to leave the door to the washer cracked open always.  Leaving the door open even slightly when the washing machine is not in use allows the washer to dry out.  If you close the door when the washing machine is not in use, you are very likely to get mold in your washer.

Another recommendation is to make sure you're not leaving wet clothing in the washer overnight.  Um... that's kinda one of those "in a perfect world" sort of things, right?  Let's just move on, because I know that happens in our household...


Did you know that you're also supposed to wipe down the rubber door seal and the plastic window after every wash?  I'll be completely honest - I don't get to it every time.  But I do wipe the rubber parts of the washing machine at least after every 2-3 washes.  I'll often just grab a quick wet washcloth, give it a swipe around, and then toss that washcloth in the next load.  It's simple, it takes literally only a few extra seconds, and it'll help your washer from growing legs and walking off into a dirty, nasty sunset.

how to clean your washing machine
Like this lovely - that my friend came home to after renting out her apartment for a while.  Yuck!
{If your washer does end up looking like the one above, try mixing some warm water and vinegar.  If you let that soak, give it a scrub, and that still doesn't work?  You may have to try it again with some bleach.  Typically though, warm vinegar and water is going to do the job just fine.}

As for actually cleaning your washer, check and see if it has a clean cycle, which my washer does.  Mine also has a note on it next to the clean cycle specifying "bleach only".  Because I'm a Betty-by-the-book, I stick with that and mostly do use bleach when using the clean cycle.

Mainly because I'm afraid I'll break it, and DH will get mad because I didn't follow the rules.  You know - how in typical fashion I just throw vinegar at anything remotely unsightly.

I run an empty wash with a cup or two of bleach on the clean cycle every few months if I feel like the washer is getting gross.  I'll also typically run a rinse cycle {empty} after a bleach wash to make sure all the bleach is out prior to washing our clothes again.  I have noticed that when I strip our diapers with either RLR or Mighty Bubbles, that I don't have to clean the washer nearly as much as they seem to strip the funk out of both the diapers and the washer!

It may seem silly to actually clean the machine that cleans your clothing, but if you have any indicators that your washer is dirty {including visible mold or gunk, stinky smelling clothing after being washed, or a stinky smelling washer} check out some of the hints above to clean your front loader!

Have you ever cleaned out your washer?  What is your routine?

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