Your Washing Machine Can't Clean Itself -- Here's How to Make It Shine

cleaning your washing machineHave you ever opened your washing machine and been surprised by a not-so-pleasant smell? And to make matters worse, it's empty, so you can't even blame the dirty clothes!? It's no wonder your washer needs a little scrub-down considering what goes in there, but just how do you clean it?


Green Cleaning Coach Leslie Reichert shares her strategies for keeping your washing machine as fresh and clean as the items that come out of it.

"People think that since they are cleaning their clothes in a washing machine that it stays clean; no such luck," Reichert says. "Between the buildup of soap and mold and mildew, it's a dark, dirty place."

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So, just where do you begin? Reichert recommends cleaning your washer once a month.

"You can do that by using the soak setting and adding straight vinegar to the water," she says. "Let it sit for a few hours and the acid in the vinegar will work on the buildup in the system. Then, run it through a regular cycle and the drum should be free from buildup."

Got one area that's in need of a scrubbing? Reichert has the solution.

"If you have a particular spot that has a lot of 'gunk,' I use a sponge and baking soda and sea salt mixed together to scrub it off. Rinse the area with nice hot water."

Have a front-loading washer? The same remedies apply.

"The rubber gasket gets full of built-up soap, and also mildewy," Reichert notes. "You can scrub it with the same salt/baking soda mixture but you have to stretch it out to get into all the nooks and crannies."

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To avoid odors lingering in a front-loading washer, Reichert advises leaving the door of the washer open.

"If you have small children, just make sure the door to the laundry room is closed and can't be opened by little hands," she notes. 

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Ever wonder what's trapped behind those holes in the sides of your drum? We do too! Though we might not be able to see what's back there (which could be a good thing), that doesn't mean we should ignore it!

"The small drainage holes also get plugged up with that soap gunk and need to be cleaned out with a Q-tip," Reichert says. "I also pour hydrogen peroxide down there to kill bacteria and mildew smells."

Keeping your washing machine clean is a great way to ensure that your clothing is coming out as fresh as possible.


Image via lightpoet/Shutterstock

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