Cleaning Your Washing Machine

by Karen Bates
(last updated April 20, 2009)

Perhaps the idea of needing to clean out a washing machine seems a little silly. After all, the washing machine is an appliance that you use all the time to wash clothes, so naturally it should stay clean. After all, it's constantly cleaning itself when you run a load of laundry, right?

The truth, though, is that washing machines should be cleaned regularly. Yes, most of the dirt from loads of laundry goes out with the discarded water, but not all of it. The inside of the machine can collect dirt from dirty clothes washed in numerous loads of laundry, and sometimes smells can develop inside the washing machine. Soap can also build up over time and affect the ability of your machine to clean at its full potential. When a film of dirt and soap is present, the machine can't do its job as well as it should.

Don't worry, though; giving your washing machine a good cleaning isn't very difficult, and it is possible to get that gross smell out. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps:

  1. Begin by filling your empty washing machine up with hot water. Make sure the machine is set to the highest capacity setting (large load).
  2. While the machine is filling, add some white vinegar or lemon juice to the water (about one or two cups should do it). You can also add ˝ cup of baking soda, if you wish, to improve the smell of the washing machine. Run through the wash cycle. Once this step is done, the dirt build-up and mineral deposits that were stuck inside the washer should disappear.
  3. Wipe out the empty interior of the washing machine with a paper towel or cloth to get off any loosened dirt or grime.
  4. Run another cycle all the way through, this time using cold water.
  5. Now that the inside of the washer is clean, you'll want to make sure that the outside matches! Get at all the hard-to-get areas (like around the lid) with a cotton swab or the edge of a washcloth. Scrub away any spilled detergent or dirt that has collection on the surface. Wipe the exterior with a wet wash cloth. Dry off, and your washing machine will be looking great!

Now that your washing machine is clean, it is ready to take on more loads of laundry. Repeat this process whenever you notice a musty smell in the washer. Also, it can help to leave the lid open after washes to allow the interior to dry out.

Author Bio

Karen Bates

An English student who enjoys writing and art, Karen has had her poetry published in her university's literary journal and has several novels in the works. ...

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