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How to Clean a Washing Machine

How to Clean a Washing Machine - Choice Stores

It’s been an age-old problem since the invention of the conventional washing machine, periodically they may smell stale or musty and they need to be cleaned. No one likes a smelly washing machine!

If you notice an unpleasant whiff coming from the drum when loading or unloading the clothes in your machine, unfortunately, it’s time to get the gloves out and get that dirty washing machine sparkling clean again. This regular washing machine maintenance is necessary so your clothes, linen, towels all continue to be fresh after washing.

Why do you need to clean your washing machine regularly?

Smelly clothes with a stale odour are one indication of a washing machine that needs cleaning, but not the only one. Fabric softener or laundry detergent can sometimes leave stains and dirt marks on your clothes when they get stuck on the drum or washing powder dispenser. The same is true if mildew or mould builds up on the rubber part of your washing machine loader or dispenser causing your load to come out dirty.

How often should you clean your washing machine?

It's recommended you give your washing machine a deep clean at least once a month. This is to prevent the build-up of odours, mould, mildew, grime and leftover detergent, powder and softeners. It’s not a difficult job and if you follow the below steps, it’s a quick and easy process. Some machines have built-in cleaning cycles too, so please consult your owner’s manual for more details.

Exactly how to clean a washing machine

For a clean and pristine washing machine, here are the steps you must follow monthly to ensure you never have the dreaded smelly or stained clothes problem.

  • Perform a wash cycle

With a lot of the more modern washing machines, there is a cleaning cycle pre-set that you run, and you then may just need to add some bleach. If your machine does not have this, you can use a speciality washing machine cleaner which will kill mould and bacteria but also help get rid of hard water and grimy build-ups. Alternatively, you can add approx. half a cup of liquid chlorine bleach and run a standard wash cycle with a hot water setting.

  • Rinse and spin Again

Just to make sure, always complete another spin and rinse after your initial cleaning cycle. This will ensure you get rid of any of the bleach or dirt remnants that may have been left. Once the cleaning cycle is done, run another rinse and spin just to make sure any traces of the bleach or stubborn particle remnants are completely washed away.

  • Clean the Washing powder dispenser

The majority of washing machines have a removable washing powder/detergent dispenser drawer that is easily cleaned. Remove it and rinse it under hot water and clean with a soft toothbrush to remove any gunk. Then dry off and replace back into the machine.

  • Rubber Seal Wipe down

Use a cloth or tea towel to wipe and clean the rubber seal on the drum thoroughly. Once all the dirt is gone, make sure it is completely dry again.

Can you prevent a washing machine from smelling?

The answer is yes, once you stick to your monthly cleaning schedule, as well as following the below guidelines, those musty smells and odours should become a thing of the past.

  • Leave the washing machine door open after using, to allow clean air to circulate and to help the machine dry out. Always keep pets and children away from an open washing machine as a safety measure and if you enable the child lock controls if available.
  • Any excess dirt, debris, fibres, hair, or pet fur should be removed regularly. These can build up and contribute to a nasty odour if left unattended.
  • Always aim to take the clean clothes out as soon as the cleaning cycle ends. This will prevent any smells from developing in the drum.
  • Clean out the washing machine filter regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Make sure the controls, front of the washing machine and dispenser are wiped down if any detergent or powder is spilt during loading. Not only will your machine look clean, by addressing this early will prevent mould and odours from building up.

Is vinegar, bleach or baking soda effective to clean your machine?

Yes, they are suitable for cleaning your washing machine, but may not be effective enough alone. The reason for this is vinegar is great at removing hard water deposits, but not as good at killing germs, whereas bleach alone is not too good at removing hard water particles. Baking soda is not good at removing hard water deposits, but it is good at removing odours, whereas bleach is good at removing hard water deposits, but it is not good at removing odours.

There is a range of speciality washing machine cleaners available that will solve all the problems associated with removing those nasty smells from your washing machine. We would recommend using these once a month to remove odours from your washing machine along with your regular cleaning schedule.

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