We may not always think to clean our washing machines but doing so is important maintenance that can save you money in the long run. Not only can it help with any potential breakdowns, but soap residue, minerals, and chemicals from your detergent can leave a film over time and promote the growth of bacteria. You may even start to notice a dirt or musty smell, and this is a sure sign your washing machine is due for a clean. Here are 5 tips to maintain your washing machine.
1. Leave the door open between washes
One sure way to combat any unwanted smells and bacteria growth is to leave the door of your washer open when it’s not in use. This gives the washing machine the chance to dry out between uses and help keep it smelling fresh.
The inside of your washing machine can be the perfect breeding ground for mold, mildew and bacteria. The temperature of your washing water can also contribute to the growth of these things as well. Keeping a dry washing drum will help put a stop to these growths.
Don’t forget to always check your washing machine drum before putting in a new load and turning it on. Sometimes pets find it a cozy spot to nap, or young children may have placed toys or other items inside.
2. Clean your washer
It may seem odd to clean your washing machine; isn’t its job to clean? But with a lot of use, moisture, residue, and build-up, it does require some maintenance. You can purchase a washing machine cleaner and follow the directions for use or make your own cleaner at home. Vinegar and baking soda seem to be the most popular ingredients used and you will most likely want to run your machine with hot water during cleaning. A simple google search brings up plenty of DIY cleaners.
If you own a newer washing machine, it may have a cleaning cycle function. It’s recommended that you run a cleaning cycle with your washing machine every so often, with the frequency, depending upon use (check the owner’s manual for recommendations).
3. Measure your detergent
Using too much detergent can not only leave residue on your clothes but also cause a residue build-up in your washing machine. You’ll want to first read your washing machine manual to ensure you’re using the correct one and then read your detergent instructions for amount per use. High efficiency washers require detergent that has an “HE” label on the bottle, and to conserve energy and money, washing in cold water is helpful.
4. Clean seals and dispensers
You may not even think to clean the detergent dispensers because, since they are for soap, it stands to reason that they should be self-cleaning. But they can get clogged, sticky, and grimy over time. It’s also important to get familiar with the filters, drains and seals of your washing machine as they can easily get clogged with debris like pet fur, dirt, lint and items from your pockets.
On front loading washing machines, there is a drain filter that will need regular cleaning. There should be a small front-facing door near the bottom of your washing machine that you’ll open to locate the filter. Remove the filter and throw out any debris and give it a rinse before replacing it. When you remove the cap to pull the filter out, there will most likely be some water that will also drain so be sure to have a small bucket or bowl handy to catch it.
5. Don’t overload the washes
It’s so important to not overfill your washing machine with extra-large loads of laundry. This causes the washer to overwork and can damage the drum and cause clogging in your pipes and drains.
When you put in too large a load, your laundry and detergent aren’t as free to move around. This will lead to streaks or build-up in your laundry, and you’ll just end up having to re-wash them. In the long run, you’re creating more work for yourself and your washing machine.
Bonus: Check clothes pockets before washing
Last of all, I can’t stress enough the importance of checking pockets before washing. Loose change, keys, or other metal objects like nails or screws can cause damage to the inner drum of the machine or even shatter the glass of your front-loading machine. If items manage to make their way out of the drum, they can cause blockages as well.
Leaving items in your pockets can be a costly mistake in repairs or in replacing something that got water damaged. Last week in my house, pockets got missed and my husband’s wireless earbuds got an unnecessary and expensive wash.
If you haven’t cleaned your washing machine lately, now is the perfect time to add it to your spring-cleaning list and, going forward, add it to the weekly list. Cleaning it regularly will help ensure your washing machine lasts a full life and your laundry will get the best clean possible.
If you’re in the market for a new washing machine or laundry pair, check out Best Buy online.