There is some debate on the best method that you use to clean your washer. If you don’t clean your washer, you are actively asking your clothes to smell like mildew. Unless you are talking about a public laundromat, you are responsible for removing that mildew smell from the wash.
To address this problem, we will give you a few different options for what you can choose to clean your washing machine. We will also provide some instructions you can follow to ensure your machine is cleaned right every time.
What Should I Use To Clean My Washing Machine?
When cleaning your washing machine, you have one of two choices:
- An over-the-counter appliance cleaner with anti-bacterial capabilities
- A DIY washing machine cleaner variant
We will start by comparing some over-the-counter washing machine cleaners.
Magic Anti-Bacterial Washing Machine Cleaner
Magic is a cleaner that is best for stainless steel drums. They have specific instructions which you can find on their website, where they tell you to pour the contents of a packet directly into the drum. This product is suitable for top and front loader washers.
Pine O Cleen Washing Machine Cleaner
Pine O Cleen creates an excellent liquid cleaner that uses the entire bottle in front load washers. Make sure you have an empty drum to fill with hot water. It would be best if you did not use your washing machine with any of these cleaners if they still have clothing in them.
Effervescent Tablet Washer Cleaner
Your last option is to buy them in tablets, which Effervescent offers in a ten- or thirty-pack choice. You typically use one to three tablets in either top or front loader washing machines. Run this through a hot wash. You can find them easily on Amazon.
The above cleaners are great, but our preference has to go to Effervescent due to their excellent cost-effectiveness and convenience. Expect an entire ten pack of tablets to clean your washer about ten times.
DIY Cleaners for Washing Machines
If you are looking to save the most money, you can create a DIY concoction of chemicals to create a cleaner. You can do this by combining these ingredients directly into your washing machine:
- Two cups of white vinegar
- One cup of baking soda
You can choose to scent your combination with anything you want, but the two ingredients are the bare minimum. Keep in mind that you will want to put these ingredients directly into your washer, running a regular cycle.
If you still smell vinegar, you will want to run more cycles. These additional cycles will help remove any build-up of detergent in the process.
Now that you know what you need to use, the remainder of this article will be devoted to how you need to use it.
How Do You Clean Your Washing Machine? (A Step-By-Step Process)
This process is going to make two assumptions:
- You own a front-loader washing machine, as those are more complicated to clean
- Your washing machine can do a hot cycle.
Even if neither of these applies to you, you can still use this as a general guide.
Step One: Check Your Lint Trap, Detergent Container, and the Drum
Your first step to cleaning out your washer will be observing the inside of it. Loose change, lint, and any other bits need removing from the washer for proper cleaning. This removal of loose objects is more of a daily process, as you should be doing this step between every wash.
To reduce the workload during this process, check your pockets for change and always put delicates in a laundry bag. This process also includes checking the container for the fabric softener and detergent dispenser.
Step Two: Check Behind the Rubber Seal
If you have a musty smell coming from your front-loading washing machine, it’s likely coming from the rubber door grommet on your front-loaded washer. Checking behind your rubber seal should be a daily cleaning process, but it should also be a part of a more detailed overall cleaning.
Step Three: Soak the Washer with Bleach
Bleach is a natural anti-bacterial agent that will remove potential smells before they begin. Just be ready for your washer to smell like bleach until you run it through a couple of times. Before you do that, be sure the bleach soaks into the washer for about an hour.
After you are confident that you’ve removed the bleach inside, you can move onto the last step.
Step Four: Run it on The Hottest Setting (with your chosen cleaning material)
You will typically notice that they need to run on a hot setting among all cleaning products. Heat is a natural deterrent for bacteria, which are the cause of unpleasant odours. Be sure all of the bleach smell is out before you run through anything with your primary cleaner. There’s no telling what kind of reaction other chemicals will have with bleach.
You will want to finish up by wiping down the entirety of your washing machine’s surface. Disinfecting your surfaces always helps prevent the spread of germs.
What Can I Do To Prevent Bad Smells?
Through regular cleaning, you can prevent this from happening. However, something will inevitably get stuck in your rubber gasket. To prevent this, you can leave the machine door ajar to air out the moist contents.
Also, run your empty washer on your hottest setting for however long it takes. The heat will naturally kill any micro-organisms that could survive in your washer.
You may find that top-loading machines are a bit easier to clean, but you still need to be diligent with your cleaning to prevent mould or limescale build-up.
Just as a reminder, our favourite overall washing machine cleaner goes to Effervescent. The combination of simplistic tablets means the best overall results in cleanliness and cost-effectiveness. Either of the two options will work depending on your personal preferences.
If you don’t want to buy any of the mainstream cleaners, you also have the option of combining baking soda and white vinegar. You will prevent any detergent build-up through regular cleanings to ensure that your clothes will not smell like mildew.