You’d be forgiven for thinking that a washing machine cleans itself. Soap, water, spin cycle – that’s all you need to keep the machine clean, right? Wrong.
Chandler from Friends may have had a point about soap being self-cleaning but your washing machine is another story.
Should I Clean My Washing Machine?
Think about it. Have you ever, through the thousands of loads of washing you’ve done over the years, ever thought to clean your machine?
If you’re like me, probably not.
Soap residue from washing powder or liquid can build up over time, and bacteria and other germs can breed in the film detergents can leave behind. Add in the humid conditions in your laundry and you’ve got a thriving environment bacteria loves to grow in.
Remnants from dirty clothes may also be getting trapped in your machine, which makes sense! The amount of food I found hidden in the machine’s detergent dispenser was kind of alarming!
I recommend doing this about once a month to keep it fresh. The first time is really rewarding, so you’ll be happy to keep this routine up!
Here’s what you need:
2 Cups White Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Bicarb Soda
How to Naturally Clean a Washing Machine
• Set your machine to a hot water and large load setting. No clothes or detergent in this load just for today! Put the vinegar into the basin, start the machine and let it fill with water.
• Let it run for a few minutes, then press stop.
• Add the bicarb soda, let it run for a couple of minutes, then stop it again.
• With the machine off, let the water, vinegar and bicarb soda sit for an hour or so. While waiting, spruce up the outside of the machine some love with an equal parts mixture of water and vinegar, ensuring you get into all the crevices with a scrubbing brush if needed.
• After the hour or two is up, fire up the machine again and finish the cycle. It’ll make a nice change hearing a cycle finish and not having to hang it out for once!
• Run another hot water (just water this time) cycle just to flush everything out, before wiping the whole inside of the basin down with a dry cloth.
Why does it clean my washing machine effectively?
Vinegar is great at eliminating built-up grime while sanitising your machine. Bicarb soda has its own cleaning properties and will neutralise any odours.
Your pipes and drain will get a clean too as the mixture empties form the machine.
An added bonus is that as your mixture drains away, the pipes will get a clean too.
How else can I keep my machine clean?
Leave the lid up after a wash. This will help the basin to dry out to help reduce the risk of mould or bacteria growth in the machine.
Empty the load right away. I know it happens. You put a load on, life gets in the way and you’re only getting to the clothes many hours later. This can unfortunately breed bacteria on clothes, especially on a warm day. My tip? Run the cycle again if it’s been left too long.
Keep it light. Loading up the machine with large loads time and time again will cause it to overwork which can clog up the pipes.
Clean up after yourself. Follow the advice you tell the kids and try not to leave spilled detergent or fabric softener around, or in the machine. Some may have chemicals that cause corrosion or build up in your pipes and drain.
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