Front-load washers have become the most prominent models in use today. They have many great benefits, including better energy and water efficiency, more options, and settings, but most importantly, they have been proven to be better at getting your clothes clean.
Keeping your washer clean is an essential step in prolonging its life and making sure your clothes come out as clean as possible every time you wash them. You may think that using the “wash cycle” feature is the best way to keep yours clean, but it isn’t.
Think about all of the dirt, grime, food, debris, and other materials that soil your clothes that go into your washer. Your washer will drain the majority of those substances out on its own, but it can’t get it all out every time.
It’s a good idea to regularly give your washer a good cleaning to keep those troublesome substances from contaminating the loads of clothes you’re putting in it to get clean.
What Should You Use To Clean It?
You may think cleaning your washer will require expensive cleaning solutions and equipment. For general cleaning purposes, however, that is not the case. You can give your washer the cleaning it needs using the following products:
- Baking soda
- Hydrogen peroxide (Only necessary in cases of mold)
- A rag
- A soft-medium bristled brush (Can substitute for a non-abrasive sponge)
Baking soda and vinegar are great for removing the smell of mildew if it develops in your washer, and they are inexpensive products that you likely already have as they serve other purposes around your home as well.
If you have a case of mold around the gasket of your door, hydrogen peroxide is a great way to help kill the mold and loosen it for scrubbing.
Use a soft rag to clean your washer, but make sure you use something that isn’t too abrasive. You don’t want to scratch and scuff the materials your washer is made out of, as this can lead to further breakdown during use.
Many owners use a toothbrush when cleaning their washer, but any cleaning brush with bristles that aren’t too stiff will work. Avoid using stiff or metal bristles to clean as they can scratch and tear the seal causing your unit to leak.
4 Steps to Cleaning Your Washer
Once you have the materials you intend to use, follow these simple steps to clean your unit.
1. Wipe It Down
Using hot water and a rag, wipe down the interior and exterior of your unit. This will serve as the first pass, and it will gather most of the easy-to-clean dirt and debris from your unit. Using water or a vinegar-water solution is best for the wiping process.
You may use an additional household cleaner on the exterior of your washer, but that is not advised for cleaning inside the drum itself.
2. Clean Around The Gasket
The gasket of your unit is the perfect place for dirt and grime to hide. It’s a tight, hard-to-reach space, and depending on how your model is made, layers of new dirt and debris can pack in on top of it.
Gently scrub around the seal gasket using your brush and some vinegar water. If you can safely move it to clean better, make sure you do. Exercise caution, as you don’t want to damage this critical part of your machine!
3. Wash Cycle With Vinegar
Vinegar is a great way to clean your machine of soap scum and hard water stains. It’s also a great way to remove odors. Fill your liquid detergent dispenser with vinegar and run the washer on a cleaning cycle or the hottest wash cycle while your washer is empty.
One cup of vinegar will do for most washers, though you should consider two cups of vinegar if you have a larger capacity washer.
4. Do An Extra Cycle With Baking Soda
Baking soda is another excellent way to clean and remove odors from your washer. It’s a fantastic way to remove soap scum from the drum of your machine. Simply dump one-third cup of baking soda in the drum, and run another rinse cycle on the hottest setting.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you separate this step from the vinegar step. Mixing baking soda and vinegar will neutralize them both, and you’ll get no benefit from either of them. There’s no danger in mixing them, per se, but it will just be a waste of your time and resources.
5. Cleaning Removable Parts
Any removable parts of your washer, such as the drain filter, can be cleaned by soaking them in a vinegar-water mixture for at least thirty minutes.
Exercise caution when removing your drain filter, as there can be some light drainage. Be sure to have a small bowl or similar container to catch the water before starting.
Tips for Maintenance Between Cleaning Cycles
Run a cleaning cycle at least once a month with your washer. If you are in a situation where water conservation is important, you could consider running a cycle with vinegar one month and baking soda the next, but for best results, run both.
Leaving the door of the washer open between uses is a great way to dry it out and prevent the odor of mildew from forming.
Remove finished loads right away. Letting them set can speed up the process that causes mold and mildew to form, so getting them out of the washer and into the dryer as soon as possible is a great way to prevent that. Wipe the drum of your washer out with a dry rag or towel after each use. There are also specialized cleaning products such as tablets and powders that are designed to clean washers.
If you follow these simple steps to keep your machine clean and follow them regularly, you will not only improve your front load washing machine’s ability to clean your clothes, but you will help extend the life of your unit and get the most out of your investment!