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How to Clean a Washing Machine

Posted January 1st, 2022

Some people may think that cleaning a washing machine is unnecessary and that they clean themselves every time they run. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Regularly cleaning your washing machine is a commonly overlooked task in many households. Even if you are aware that it should be done, it can be easily forgotten between keeping up with endless loads of laundry and other household chores.

How to Clean a Dishwasher

Why Washers Need to Be Cleaned

Each time you run a load of laundry in your washing machine it leaves a build-up of soap scum and minerals inside your washtub. As this continues to build up, mold and mildew can grow and cause an odor.

By maintaining a regular cleaning schedule for your washer, you will have cleaner clothes, better performance, and longer machine life for your washing machine.

Cleaners and Supplies

There are many different cleaning solutions that can be used to clean your washing machine. In many cases, you will likely have these items already on hand. Different methods allow you to use hydrogen peroxide, borax, baking soda, bleach, or white vinegar to clean your washing machine.

These cleaners do not all work well together, so pick one and stick to it throughout the cleaning process. Most everyone has bleach at home, so, for the purpose of this article, we will use bleach. Feel free to swap out the steps below for another cleaner of your choice if you have something else on hand.

Other supplies that you will need include paper towel, a microfiber cloth, brush or old toothbrush, socket wrench (if you have an agitator on your machine).

Cleaning a Top Load Washing Machine

If you have a top load washer, here are the steps we recommend for cleaning. Generally speaking, cleaning a top load washing machine is easier to do than cleaning a front load model. Because of their design, cleaners like bleach can more easily soak into the bottom of the washer and be more effective.

Here are the steps to cleaning a top load washer:

1. Start by cleaning the washing machine tub.

○ Fill the tub with 1/3 cup of bleach

○ Pour 1 cup of bleach into the bleach compartment or until its fill point.

○ Set your washer to a standard wash cycle with hot water and a rinse setting. Some machines have a clean setting that will do just this. Press start.

2. While the machine is running take a microfiber cloth and wipe down the outside of your washing machine. Be sure to clean off any detergent that may have been splashed, lint or dust, and fingerprints.

3. Clean all parts.

○ Once the washer is done running, take any removable parts out of the washer like a detergent drawer or bleach dispenser.

○ Soak each of the parts in hot water for 3 minutes then use a brush to scrub any buildup off the parts. Pay special attention to corners and drop downs.

○ Rinse well, dry, and replace the parts.

○ If your machine has an agitator and washing machine filter, remove them. Follow your owner's manual instructions to remove the agitator and filter.

○ Fill a bucket with hot soapy water and place the agitator in it to soak. Scrub with a brush.

○ Rinse and dry the filter and agitator.

○ Replace the filter and agitator.

4. Wipe the inside of the tub and the lid with a paper towel or microfiber cloth.

5. Leave the lid on the washing machine open to allow the washer to dry completely.

Cleaning a Front Load Washing Machine

Due to the setup of a front load washer, they tend to have water pool in tight spaces. This can cause mold and mildew and will lead to bad smells if not taken care of. Here are our recommended steps to properly clean a front load washing machine.

1. Start by cleaning the washing machine tub with these steps.

○ Fill the tub with 1/3 cup of bleach.

○ Pour 1 cup of bleach into the bleach compartment or until its fill point.

○ Set your washer to a standard wash cycle with hot water and a rinse setting. Some machines have a clean setting that will do just this. Press start.

2. While the machine is running take a microfiber cloth and wipe down the outside of your washing machine. Be sure to clean off any detergent that may have been splashed, lint or dust, and fingerprints.

3. Clean the parts.

○ Once the machine finishes running, remove the rubber gasket.

○ Take a paper towel or old toothbrush and bleach to wipe down the inside of the rubber gasket.

○ Remove and clean the filter.

○ Take any removable parts out of the washer like a detergent drawer or bleach dispenser.

○ Soak each of the parts in hot water for 3 minutes then use a brush to scrub any buildup off the parts. Pay special attention to corners and dropdowns.

○ Rinse well, dry, and replace the parts.

4. Wipe the inside of the tub and the door with a paper towel or microfiber cloth.

5. Leave the washing machine door open to allow air to circulate and the washer to fully dry.

Other Tips

There are a few other things that you can do regularly to help keep your washing machine running at peak performance between regular cleanings.

● Keep the outside of the machine clean from detergent, lint, dust, and any other debris.

● Always transfer your load from the washer to the dryer as soon as possible to avoid building up a musty smell. Leaving damp clothes in your washer can be a breeding ground for mildew.

● Always leave the door open on your washing machine after running so that it can completely dry. This will prevent mold and mildew growth.

By following a regular cleaning schedule and these tips, you can keep your washing machine churning out clean clothes at peak performance.

Ready to Purchase a New Washer?

If you are looking to purchase a new washer, shop at Queen City Audio Video & Appliance. We ensure that you will receive the best customer service in the area. Shop our selection of washing machines online today or stop into your local store to browse in person and speak with one of our team members.

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