I love my front loading washing machine. I can easily reach all the way in to grab any clothes at the back, it’s energy efficient, and it fits a ton of clothes in one load! I’m not, however, a big fan of the smell that sometimes comes from my washer. The good news is it’s not terribly difficult to clean. Here’s how to clean a front loading washing machine and get that funky smell out of your laundry room!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO CLEAN
I am all about using natural cleaning products in my home. Cleaning my washing machine is no different. There is no need for specialized cleaners or harsh chemicals when it comes to getting your appliances back in tip top shape. All you need is currently in your kitchen pantry!
You’ll need white cleaning vinegar, a spray bottle, a microfiber cloth (or a similar lint-free cleaning cloth of your choice) and baking soda. If you don’t happen to have one of those items, they’re very inexpensive and easily found at your local dollar or grocery store.
The biggest culprit of funky odor in a front loading washing machine is the rubber gasket. The rubber gasket is located at the front of the washer, helping keep the drum sealed while your washer is running. They tend to accumulate a lot of hair, soap build up, mildew and even mold.
Start by spraying down the rubber gasket with your white cleaning vinegar and wiping it down with your dampened microfiber cloth. Don’t be afraid to get into those nooks and crannies – that’s where the gunk is hiding.
Once you have cleaned the gasket, set your washer to its highest level. Make sure it is also set to your highest water temperature setting, too. Pour two cups of white cleaning vinegar into the detergent dispenser of your washer. Just throwing it in the drum won’t have the desired cleaning effect.
Run your washer through the entire cycle. When it is done, start another cycle on the exact same settings. This time, throw one half cup of baking soda into your drum before you start. Run the cycle just like before, letting it go all the way through.
When your washing cycle is over, wipe out the inside of the washing drum with a damp microfiber cloth (we highly recommend using a clean cloth for both the rubber gasket and drum wipe downs – you don’t want to spread the gunk around).
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I CLEAN MY WASHING MACHINE?
I use two guidelines for how often I should clean my washing machine. First, the sniff test. If you’re starting to smell some funk when you go into your laundry room, then you are more than likely overdue for a deep clean.
If you’re looking to get on a cleaning schedule, once every six months or so is a good rule of thumb. I plan on cleaning mine whenever I change my clocks (and smoke detector batteries). It’s an easy way for me to remember, and since it’s such an easy process, I don’t mind it.
To help reduce the amount of mildew and mold that is potentially growing in your rubber gasket, always keep your washer door open when not in use, especially after you have completed a cycle. Closing the door will trap the remaining moisture, encouraging mold and mildew growth again.
You can also make sure there is fresh air getting to your machine by opening windows when possible, keeping your laundry door open, and/or putting a fan on in the space. The more air movement you have in the space, the better.
THE BENEFITS OF CLEANING YOUR FRONT LOADING WASHING MACHINE
First and foremost, your house will smell better. Secondly, your clothes will smell fresher. Mold and mildew build up in your machine will definitely have an impact on the clothes you wash in it.
Lastly, and most importantly in my opinion, it will prolong the life of your machine. When you machine is free of the gunk and build up that occurs naturally, it will stay more efficient. This will help you reduce the number of repairman phone calls and costs you have each year. Who doesn’t love the sound of that?