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Can I Use CLR in a Washing Machine? Everything You Want to Know!

washing machine

CLR is a commercial cleaner that is used to remove calcium and lime deposits as well as rust. It is typically used on surfaces like bathtubs, toilets, and sinks, but it can also be used on shower heads and can be used to clean washing machines. In fact, CLR’s manufacturer states that it is good for removing the smell from certain types of washing machines.

CLR is non-abrasive and it does not contain bleach, ammonia, or phosphates. It is also septic-safe, which means that it is non-toxic by the time it reaches the septic tank. However, it does contain sulfamic acid, citric acid, and glycolic acid. If these are left in the washing machine too long, they can cause corrosion that can wreak havoc on your machine.

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When using CLR, make sure you wear protective gloves and always have windows and doors open. You should avoid mixing CLR with other cleaning materials and substances, especially bleach. Do not spray the liquid and do not place it on clothing directly.

Yellow rubber gloves for cleaning on white background
Image Credit: MRAORAOR, Shutterstock

Cleaning A Washing Machine Using CLR

How to safely and effectively use CLR in a washing machine depends on the type of machine you have:

Top-Loading Machines

Run the washing machine on its main wash cycle but leave it empty. When the cycle has finished and the drum is about to start spinning add half a cup of CLR directly to the drum. Let the cycle finish and then run it for an additional cycle to make sure that the liquid is thoroughly rinsed out of the machine.

Front-Loading Machines

With a front-loading machine, set the machine to do a full cycle and add the cleaner before the cycle begins. You should also add 3 cups of water because a front-loading machine uses less water than a top loader. Let the cycle run completely and run it again for a second time to ensure that all of the CLR has rinsed through.

An Alternative to CLR

baking soda and vinegar
Image Credit: focal point, Shutterstock

If you don’t want to use CLR to clean your washing machine, you can use a combination of vinegar and baking soda. The acidity in vinegar will kill bacteria and the baking soda will help get rid of nasty odors.

Pour 2 cups of vinegar into the detergent section of the drawer and run a hot cycle. When the cycle is complete add half a cup of baking soda to the drum and run the machine on another full cycle. You can then spray the inside of the drum with vinegar and wipe it down with a damp cloth.

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Washing machines can get smelly and dirty after months or years of continued use, although they do a reasonable job of keeping themselves clean. CLR, which claims to remove calcium, lime, and rust, can be used to clean a washing machine with the exact technique used depending on the type of machine you have. Alternatively, if you don’t have or don’t want to use CLR, you can use a combination of vinegar and baking soda to get the job done.

Featured Image Credit: Antonio_Cansino, Pixabay


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