Washing machines come in different shapes and sizes. There are top-loading washers, some with an agitator, and some without. There are front-loading washers, which are touted to be more efficient with water and electricity use. No matter the brand and type, they have one thing in common: they do need regular cleaning.
It might be counter-intuitive that you will need to clean your washing machine. However, because the washer gets loaded up with all sorts of dirt and grime from your household’s clothing, linens and sheets, you will need to make sure the machine itself is clean, so that it maintains efficiency in washing. This is especially necessary if your washer is located in the basement, where there is no flow of fresh air and sunlight. Molds and mildew can form in the rubber and plastic parts of the machine.
The secret to cleaning your washing machine is surprisingly cheap and it’s probably available under your kitchen sink or in the laundry room itself: bleach. Clorox bleach has been around since the early 1900s, and its effectiveness and efficacy are still unquestionable. You can use Clorox bleach to clean your washing machine from the usually grime, dirt, germs, and other possible contaminants. Here’s how.
- Set your washer to the hottest wash temperature available. You will also need to set it to the strongest or longest agitation setting. Note that this will depend on the make and model of your washing machine. If it’s a front-loader, then there will be no agitator. In this case, simply choose the longest and hottest cycle possible.
- Turn on the cycle. Fill the soap cup or dispenser with about one cup of Clorox.
- If your washing machine is a top-loader, pause the cycle when the machine stops filling up with water. Get a sponge and wear latex gloves. Soak the sponge with the bleach solution and wipe the insides of the tub thoroughly. Include the inside cover, the agitator, and everything that needs to be scrubbed. After this, close the lid. If your washing machine is front-loading, then you won’t be able to scrub the insides, as the door will most likely be locked. You can do an initial wiping or scrubbing before you start the cycle.
- Let the washer complete all its cycles, including wash, rinse and drain cycles. The water coming out of the drain will usually smell strongly of bleach, but by the last rinse cycle, the smell should be reduced.
Aside from bleach, you can add about half a cup of baking soda to the water. This is particularly effective with front-loading washing machines, which need cleaning on its hard-to-reach spots, like the door gaskets, and the tub itself, which is inaccessible to the user.
After washing, make sure that the next load you will launder will be the whites. Some bleach residue might still remain, and you don’t want to discolor your colored or dark clothes accidentally.
Clorox, as a bleach, will kill any germs and microorganisms that might be living in your washing machine. As an added bonus, it will also help whiten or brighten the insides of your washer. Make sure to regularly clean your washing machine. Experts recommend a quick wash cycle with baking soda and bleach at the end of each laundry day. Some would recommend a weekly wash with bleach while the machine is empty. This helps keep your washing machine sanitized, clean and running smoothly.