Living frugally often means that you buy used appliances. Cloth diapering and washing work clothes can mean that you need to clean your washer more often. Having a forgetful nature or a husband with a forgetful nature (and aren’t I lucky that we both do?!) can also mean that you get that super awesome musty smell in your washer. YUCK. Oh – and don’t forget hard water and rust stains! There are a myriad of reasons that you may need to clean your washer, but the key is knowing how to do it.
We love coupons in our house, and are frequently coming across coupons for washing machine cleaners. Affresh, Tide, and Washer Magic are some of the brands that I have seen. But I have yet to actually see these products in the store, which confounds me. So I had to go the DIY route to cleaning the washing machine. Here’s what I did, so you can see if it will work for you too. I have a top load washer, so this is for top loaders only since I have not tested it on front loaders. Also, you will want to check your owner’s manual to make sure that the ingredients are safe for your machine. You may need to call them. Or if you have a used machine like I do and want to use simple, natural ingredients, you can just not – but I can’t guarantee you that there won’t be a problem!
DIY Solution to Cleaning a Washing Machine
- Set the washer on the highest load size and hottest wash. Allow the basin to fill and stop the cycle after the machine is full.
- Add 3 cups of white vinegar to the wash basin. Add 1 cup of baking soda to the wash basin. This mixture should fizz. If it’s not fizzing, add another 1/2 cup of baking soda.
- Close the lid and allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes.
- Turn the cycle knob to spin (most washers will drain and spin at the same time. If yours doesn’t, turn it to drain.) and allow the cycle to spin and drain.
- If you have problems with rust stains, repeat step 1 and add 1 cup of lemon juice to the wash basin.
- Allow the cycle to run completely.
- With hot soapy water and a cleaning rag, wipe down the sides, top, lid and underneath the lid of the washer. Wipe down the inside of the washer and get into as many nooks and crannies as you can. I find dog hair builds up on the side of ours.
- If you have a bleach or fabric softener container (we don’t), those can usually be removed and soaked in a soapy water solution to get the gunk off them. You may find Q-tips help for that too.
- Voila! Your washer should now be clean of smell and gunk. If you still see yuck inside, rinse and repeat.
This is what I consider deep-cleaning for our washer. Once a week I run bleach through (1/2 cup in the largest load with the hottest water) for normal cleaning, and once I month I do this deep-clean.
How do you wash your washer?
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