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How Often Should You Clean Your Washing Machine? Types & FAQ

washing machine

Cleaning your washing machine is probably one of the most neglected chores in the home. We usually think of doing laundry as a chore. Some don’t even know that you have to clean your washing machine, being under the impression that since it is a cleaning device and soap and hot water go in there, there’s really no need! If that’s you, then no worries or judgment from us! We’re here to explain when and how to clean your washing machine. It is recommended to clean your washing machine once every six months.

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How Often You Should Clean Your Washing Machine

You’ll notice that after running your washing machine for a while, you’ll start to get some soap scum buildup and maybe even dirt in there as well. That’s okay for a while, but it should get cleaned. If your clothes start smelling a little musty fresh out of the washer, then it’s definitely time to clean your machine. In general, it’s a good idea to do this once every six months.

Front load Washing Machine
Image Credit: stevepb, Pixabay

How Do I Clean a Smelly or Dirty Washing Machine?

To clean your washer, you will need:
  • White Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Rags
  • Toothbrush

The way you clean your washing machine will depend on whether you have a top-loading or a front/side-loading washing machine. Let’s go over how to clean a top-loading washing machine first.

Image Credit: evita-ochel, Pixabay

Top-Loading Washer

Top-loading washers are easier to clean since the tub soaks easier. Gravity is working against you on a front or side-loading washer. Before you clean the tub, remove the agitator and filter and clean them with a mixture of water and vinegar or water and bleach. But never mix vinegar and bleach! Replace the agitator and filter when clean and dry. Then you can begin to clean your tub.

Top-Loading Washer:
  • With an empty washer, set it to the hottest setting for the largest amount of water.
  • As the water begins to fill the tub, pour in 4 cups of white vinegar. Let it mix in a little bit.
  • Stop the cycle. Wait 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour in half of a cup of baking soda and continue the cycle. Let it mix in.
  • Stop the cycle and let the tub soak for about an hour.
  • Allow the machine to complete the cycle.
Top Load Washing Machine
Image Credit: Opat Suvi, Shutterstock

Front or Side-Loading Washer

Since a front-loading washer doesn’t soak very well, you need to get on your hands and knees to clean it out manually to start. Having a spray bottle with white vinegar in it will come in handy.

Front/Side-Loading Washer:
  • Spray the inside of the tub with your vinegar. Using your rag (microfiber cloth is best), wipe the inside of the tub.
  • Wipe around the rubber seal on the door, both on the door itself and the inside of the tub. This is an excellent spot to use an old toothbrush.
  • Run a hot cycle for the longest time possible with two cups of vinegar in the detergent dispenser.
  • Run a hot cycle for the longest time possible with half a cup of baking soda in the tub itself.
  • After running your cycles, leave the door open so it can dry properly, especially around the gaskets.
washing machine
Image Credit: Antonio_Cansino, Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

If you’ve been noticing that your clothes have been smelling a little mildewy or even moldy, then it’s not necessarily your detergent that is the problem. It’s probably about time you run a cycle on your washing machine just to clean it. If you are renting or sharing a washer in an apartment building, it’s a good idea to clean it before you even use it.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels


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