Photo credit: Pablo Ibañez
Cleaning the washing machine may sound counterintuitive because all the machine is used for is to clean! But most top-loading machines these days develop a musty smell after a while due to the fact that they don’t always expel all of the water they use. Small amounts of water can collect in different, often hidden, parts of the the washer which then in turn become the perfect place for mildew and mold to develop. Combine this with hard water build up or soap accumulation and you have the potential for all of those odors to come off of your clean clothes.
To get rid of the musty smell in your top-loading machine, clean it thoroughly twice a year (or more often if needed!). Cleaning your machine may sound labor intensive, but it can be done quite easily with just two household supplies. All you need to clean and deodorize your machine is WHITE VINEGAR and BAKING SODA. That’s it. Just those two simple ingredients will bring a renewed freshness to your washer and leave it sparkling clean.
Step 1: Change the settings on your washer to the hottest and largest load possible. Make sure the drum is empty of all clothing and detergent. All you want is hot water. Add 3-4 cups of WHITE VINEGAR and let the machine agitate for a few minutes.
Step 2: Add ½ cup of BAKING SODA to the hot water/vinegar mix, letting the machine mix the baking soda for a few minutes.
Step 3: Stop your machine at this point and let the hot water/vinegar/baking soda mix set for 30 minutes. If your washer is especially stinky and grimy, you can let the mixture set for up to an hour.
Step 4: If your washer has visible grime build up on the exterior working parts, use this time to wipe it down or scrub it with a vinegar and water mixture.
Step 5: After the machine has soaked, restart the hot water cycle. Once the wash cycle has finished, use a damp cloth to wipe away any grimy bits that have accumulated in the bottom and on the sides of the drum.
Step 6: Breathe deeply and enjoy the fresh smell!
Looking to clean your front-loading machine? Try this:
Step 1: Mix ¼ cups water and ¼ cup baking soda together in a small bowl. Add to to the detergent cup of your machine and pour 2 cups of white vinegar into the drum.
Step 2: Set your washer to the hottest setting available at a normal load size. Let the cycle run completely.
Step 3: Once the cycle has completed, use a sponge or soft, damp towel to wipe away any loosened mineral deposits or leftover debris.
Use a low- or non-sudsing detergent (like ours!) to greatly reduce the soap residue on both your machine and your clothes!
Keep your washing machine lid OPEN between washes. This will allow it to air dry more effectively.
These tips can be used to clean both standard and HE machines.