Although it seems like your washing machine should be self-cleaning, it does actually require a more thorough scrubbing every so often. This is especially true if you notice a strange smell coming from your washing machine, or there are any visible stains on the inside. Mildew, mold and bacteria can all grow rampantly within your washing machine if not dealt with! If you follow these easy steps, you’ll have a sparkling washing machine in no time! Many sources will recommend cleaning your washing machine with bleach, which can be hard on septic systems. This tutorial only uses two ingredients – vinegar and baking soda – so no harsh chemicals are required. When dealing directly with the vinegar, it’s a good idea to use gloves to prevent any skin irritation.
Set your washing machine to run with hot water on the largest load setting. DO NOT add detergent or clothes while you’re cleaning your washing machine. Add three to four cups of vinegar (I used three) and allow machine to run for a minute or two to incorporate the vinegar into the water.
Add at least ½ cup of baking soda. You can add up to a cup if you feel that your washer really needs it. Again, allow a few minutes for the baking soda to incorporate into the water/vinegar solution.
Stop the washing machine and allow to sit for 30 minutes – 1 hour, depending on how dirty your machine is. If you have any detachable parts in your machine, like I do, you can allow them to soak in the water as well. I removed my fabric softener dispenser and allowed it to soak before scrubbing it. All of that blue gunk you see floating in the water? That is all fabric softener that had built up! Good thing we know not to use nasty fabric softener anymore!
While the machine is soaking, dip a clean rag in vinegar and scrub the nooks and crannies that water doesn’t reach. You can also wipe down knobs, the lid, and top of the machine at this time. Remember your gloves! If you have any of the above mentioned detachable parts that need to be cleaned, you can scrub them in the water as well. An old toothbrush would be perfect for this if you have one on hand.
After the soaking is complete, allow the washer to complete its hot water cycle.
After the washing machine is finished running, wipe down any loosened pieces of grime from the inside of the machine. It should wipe off easily at this point. In order to be sure that all vinegar and baking soda has been rinsed out, run your machine once more with hot water. Again, do not add clothes or detergent to this cycle.
You’re finished! Admire how clean your washer is and resume using it as you normally would! Happy washing!
Click here for instructions on how to wash a front loading washing machine.