Time: 2-3 hours
Are your clothes coming out of the wash smelling worse than when you threw them in? You’ve got bacteria, mold and mildew build-up in your washing machine to thank for that. But, don’t fret. A good deep clean will get your machine back on track and your clothes smelling fresh again.
What's in it for you?
● Keep your machine working at its best
● Prevent mold/mildew growth to keep your clothes sanitary and fresh
Deep Clean Your Washing Machine
- Wipe down the door gasket. Soak a rag in a 50/50 mixture of water and bleach and use it to wipe down the door gasket thoroughly. Pull open the seal creases to wipe away any mold and mildew growth. Uh oh...did you find a pretty serious mold infestation? Soak a few rags with the water/bleach mixture and stuff them into the seal crease and leave in contact with the mold for 30 minutes.
Pro Tip: Leave the washing machine door open for a couple of hours after each use. This helps air out the gasket and keeps your machine fresher for longer.
- Sanitize the washing machine drum. Fill the drum with a ½ cup of baking soda and a quart of vinegar and run a wash cycle containing just a couple of clean hand towels (many manufacturers don’t recommend running the washer completely empty). Use the hottest water setting, largest load size, and the longest wash cycle. While the cycle is running, wipe down the outside of the machine with a cleaning rag soaked in vinegar, and use a small brush to scrub the smaller nooks and crannies.
Pro Tip: Ever spill a little detergent or fabric softener on your machine? Don’t wait to clean it up. Most appliances are painted with enamel that can easily be damaged by bleach, ammonia and other chemicals.
Clean the washer lint trap. If you’re not sure where to find the lint trap, reference the owner's/repair manual. You can also look for it along the top rim of the washer tub, inside the center agitator, or at the end of the drainage hose. Remove the trap and soak it in hot water and liquid dishwashing soap for ten minutes (if it isn’t removable, use a small brush with soapy, hot water to clean it). Before replacing the trap, use a brush to clean out the area where it was attached, taking extra care to scrub down any crevices where mold and mildew may be hiding.
Clean the water pump filter. First things first: make sure the washer is empty and unplugged, then locate the filter. For most front load washers, the water pump filter can be found behind an access door near the bottom, front-side of the machine. For top load machines, check the back of the machine and remove the outer housing to access the water pump filter. Remove the filter and look out for any small objects that need to be dislodged like coins, keys or hair, then use a small brush to remove any excess debris from the filter. Soak the filter in a mixture of hot water and liquid dishwashing soap for ten minutes before replacing.
Perform routine inspections of your hoses and drum. Inspect hoses for bulges, loose fittings, cracks and leaks. Make sure to replace hoses every three to five years, or sooner if you notice any damage. Since the washer drum can be prone to corrosion, look for any exposed or damaged metal. See some rust? Toss two cups of lemon juice into the washer and run another cycle on the hottest setting. If you aren’t able to remove the rust, it might be time for a new machine.