Cleaning your washing machine may not be a task regularly on your to-do list, but it should be. As it is the appliance that cleans all your clothes, the build-up of bacteria, dirt and mildew can leave your clothes smelling damp and old. Not exactly the fresh scent you’re craving - no matter how many scenting pods you pop in!
Believe it or not, you should probably clean your washing machine every month. Think about all the clothes that go in which have dirt, grease and a multitude of spills on them. While they all come out clean and fresh, the nasties that were on your clothes are now clinging on to your washing machine.
An annual deep clean isn’t quite going to cut it. Not to worry, cleaning your washing machine should never be difficult or take too long. Take a look at a few of our ideas for cleaning your entire washing machine with little effort and natural products.
Before you go any further though, be sure to check your washing machine manual. It may list certain products that you shouldn’t use to clean it, but also tips on how to remove and clean certain parts. Perhaps most importantly, if any of your actions could affect the warranty.
If you’re in-between washes this one is a perfect top-up. Every time you pop clothes into your machine for washing you’re adding grease. So, run an empty wash. Make sure the machine is on the hottest setting as often hot water will cause any caught grease to loosen from the machine and flush it down the drain.
If you wanted, you could pop in a laundry pod, but we recommend saving that for your clothes. Near-boiling water will do most of the job for you. Zero effort, zero ingredients and all the rewards. The power of hot water!
If you’re noticing a strong smell coming from your washing machine, it could be a build-up of mould or mildew. There are two common areas that these grow in. The detergent draw and the rubber rim seal on the door.
For the drawer, it’s fairly simple to resolve. Simply remove the it from the machine (check your instruction manual if you are unsure about how to do this). Soak the drawer in hot soapy water and clean it with an old toothbrush. The bristles are great at getting into all the holes and grooves.
Then create a hot water solution with a touch of bleach. This is great for cleaning out the drawer cavity, make sure you get everything you can see. The bleach will act as a powerful agent to deter regrowth of mould. Wipe it dry with a microfibre cloth and you’re good to go. If you’re not so keen on using bleach, lemon juice is a good alternative, you’d just need to use a bit more of it to get the same result.
Cleaning the rubber rim of the washing machine is the same combination of ingredients. Warm water and a dash of bleach or a generous amount of lemon juice. You can use your toothbrush again to get in the creases and clear out all the mould and mildew or a cloth if you’re having trouble. The same principle applies when it comes to ensuring that it is dry before moving on. The reason these two areas need to be dry before you leave them is that it is the moisture that encourages the growth of mould - this helps to prevent it that little bit longer.
If you want to clean your entire machine with one powerful cycle this is the method for you. In the drawer of your washing machine, pour in two cups of white vinegar and run the machine on the hottest cycle. Then, you’ll run another hot wash, this time you’ll put half a cup of baking soda directly into the drum of the machine.
The first cycle will cut through all the grease and grime and remove it from the machine. The second will remove the odours and any lasting residue. After the two cycles, wipe down the drum, drawer and seal with a clean microfibre cloth. Job done!
Note: If you have used bleach in any of your cleaning efforts, it’s always a good idea to run an additional hot cycle afterwards to ensure none of the bleach transfers onto your clothing. The last thing you want is a clean washing machine that’s ruined your new red t-shirt!
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