My friend Emi of The Cloth Diaper Report got me thinking about this with her How To Clean Your Washing Machine series.
I own a Samsung Steam washer and dryer and while it does have a Pure Clean cycle I can’t say I’ve used it as often as I should.
After reading Emi’s “Daily Routine” points I realized I am failing miserably at keeping my washer clean.
A clean washer means cleaner, fresher clothes and diapers so it is definitely something you should definitely start or (if you’re better than me) continue. I promise the daily routine items should only take you two minutes total each day you do laundry and it will help prevent a huge scrub down and odor issues later.
1. Remove the load right away. I know this can be a hard one with long to-do lists and kids to chase after, but make the effort and it will help. This will prevent the dampness from causing musty odors and residue in the washer. My daughter likes to help me switch loads, so get the kids involved, or if you have older children add this other other daily maintenance tasks to their chore list!
2. Leave the lid open or ajar. This will help the remaining moisture in the washer to dry and evaporate. Adding this to your routine won’t add any time to your chores (heck, it’ll even save you the 2 seconds it would take to close the lid). Researching for this article had me looking at washing machine reviews and the new Whirlpool Duet even has a FanFresh button that airs out loads to fight mustiness. Cool!
3. Wipe down your washer with a damp towelonce a week to keep dried on detergents or other debris off the exterior of the washer. Use a little vinegar or non-abrasive cleaner to the routine to make sure you get all the germs off.
4. Using the same towel, wipe the inside door and rubber lip out to prevent visible mildew or build up. I find that in my front loader the bottom portion on the inner plastic door is where mildew likes to creep up on me and I am trying to make an effort to wipe it down on a regular basis before I see that film that makes me think yuck, I’d better wipe that down. Consequently, this is my biggest challenge that I can avoid by following steps 1 and 2, and doing a weekly wipe down.
Now that I am aware my washer is probably full of gunk, I click on over to part 2 where Emi explains “Monthly Maintenance”. I am fully convinced that I need the product she is reviewing :) I think that means she did her job well!
This product is called Affresh. Have you tried it?
Here are the 4 Monthly Routine tips:
1. Clean the interior drum and hosing of the washer. A product will need to be used to reach all of the un-reachable places, so although bleach, vinegar or similar products may be used, keep in mind that these will be drained early in the wash cycle so won’t reach all of the parts of the washer. Affresh tablets are a product specifically made in a tablet form so that it lasts through the duration of the cycle and has the opportunity to produce oxygenating bubbles that foam up to clean throughout the hosing as well.
You can clean the interior drum with a couple cups of vinegar or lemon juice, but whatever product you use, you will want to use the hottest temperature setting when cleaning your washing machine to ensure build up stains and odors have a chance to be zapped away.
Note: if you use cold cycles on a regular basis you may need to do more frequent drum maintenance, because although cold water can wash clothing just fine with the right detergent, residue will not dissolve as well on a cold setting.
2. Wipe down the inside drum, rubber lip and door to get all of the remaining residue off of the reachable places after the cleaning cycle is complete. Affresh Grit Grabbers are a product made specifically for this task in front-loading HE machines, but a textured or microfiber cloth may also do the trick. Remember you should be wiping down the rubber lip and door during the week, so this is a step specifically recommended to get the remaining residue that may be lifted up after a monthly cleaning regimen.
3. Remove and scrub down the detergent and fabric softener dispensers in the sink then dry thoroughly before putting them back in place. While these are drying and the cleaning cycle is running, you can make sure your hosing is snugly in place so you don’t have any leaks or other issues and check to see if your washer feet are properly balanced to avoid unnecessary jiggling during a cycle.
4. Repeat once a month. I personally believe that even cloth diaper users can limit their monthly maintenance to once a month with a products like Affresh if they follow the daily and weekly maintenance. If you choose to use vinegar, bleach or another product approved by your manufacturer, you may want to clean your washer twice a month and keep in mind if any odor issues evolve over time, it may be coming from the hosing you cannot reach.
To read Emi’s full post click on the banner below.
If you have an HE machine have you noticed any problems from not washing your machine? I have occasionally noticed an odor when I remove clothes.
When I notice it I either kick myself for leaving the laundry in there too long or run the Pure Clean cycle. But, after reading Emi’s posts I’m thinking just running the cycle won’t get the machine really clean.
I clean sinks, tubs and floors so why do I neglect a machine I am so dependent on??