Last update: 6 months ago
The humble washing machine is one of the hardest working appliances in your home. it is surprising then that it is also one of the most neglected appliances when it comes to cleaning. Many of us wouldn’t even think that a machine designed to wash things would need to be cleaned. But after a while of being unclean you may start asking questions such as “What is that smell?” and “Why does my washing machine smell?”.
Very few of us clean our washing machine on a regular basis and this allows dirt, oil, fat, and limescale to build-up. This alone is enough to produce an unpleasant aroma. When this is coupled with the warm, humid environment present in washing machine drums it creates the perfect habitat for bacteria to thrive. As the bacterial occupiers multiply and feast on dirt and the remains of human fats, oils, and skin cells the horrible smell can very quickly morph into the aroma of an evil-smelling abomination.
Fear not! For are here to give you the knowledge needed to defeat those smelly washing machine demons. But before this, it is important to know that you should ALWAYS read the instructions for your appliance before attempting any of these cleaning methods. Some manufacturers provide specific cleaning instructions and using an alternative method may void the warranty.
How to clean a front loading washing machine with vinegar
An hour or two of cleaning a washing machine with vinegar may not be an enchanting experience, but nevertheless, it is a necessary task if you would like to keep the washing machine in good condition. With the right preparation, it won’t even take that long, follow the steps below to freshen your machines breath.
- Remember, always check the instruction manual before cleaning your washing machine. Some have specific cleaning instructions and you might void the warranty by using an alternative method.
- Remove the detergent drawer and soak it in hot water. Clean it thoroughly with an old toothbrush and let it air dry. When the drawer is clean and dry insert it back into place.
- Turn your machine settings to the hottest cycle or to the sanitizing cycle and add one cup of white, undiluted vinegar to the washing machine drum. The vinegar will not only sanitize the machine, it will also help to remove and dissolve limescale.
- Allow your chosen cycle to finish and open the door so that the drum can air dry. If there is still a bad smell simply repeat the process until it is gone.
- Take a clean cloth and dampen it with white vinegar, wipe all of the rubber seals and remember to lift them so that you can clean in the folds. Lastly, clean the external surfaces of your washing machine.
After following these steps you will have a fresh-smelling and shiny washing machine.
How to clean a front loading washing machine with baking soda
If you are just as fond of the smell of vinegar as you are the bad smell emanating from your washing machine there is another common ingredient which can be added to deodorise the drum, good old-fashioned baking soda.
- Mix four tablespoons of baking soda in four cups of warm water and stir until it is dissolved.
- Take a clean cloth and dip it into the baking soda mixture. Clean the inside of the drum and softly scrub any stubborn stains or residue.
- Pour the remaining baking soda mix directly into the drum and set your machine on a hot rinse cycle.
If you find baking soda residue after the rinse cycle or there is still a bad smell, follow the steps above for cleaning a washing machine with vinegar. Repeat these steps as often as is needed until the smell is gone.
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How to clean a front loading washing machine drum
As mentioned previously, the warm and humid environment inside your washing machine’s drum is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and more bacteria means more nasty smells. This is, obviously, not good for your clothes or your olfactory system (the fancy name for your sense of smell).
In order to keep your washing machine clean and relatively free of bacteria, merely switch your machine to the ‘empty’ setting and run it on the highest temperature possible. If there are still signs of soap scum or limescale present, simply pour 500ml of white vinegar directly into the drum and run the machine on the highest temperature setting once again.
How to keep a washing machine clean
Knowing how to clean a washing machine is all good and well, but if you want to limit how often it needs to be cleaned check out the tips below.
- Leave the drum door and the detergent drawer open when you are finished using the machine. This will allow the interior to air dry which reduces the chances of mould and a musty smell forming.
- If you live in a hard water area, consider installing a water softening system or using anti-limescale tablets to prevent massive build-ups of limescale.
- Don’t use too much laundry detergent, check the guidelines on the label to find out how much should be used. Using excessive amounts of detergent will cause a build-up of residue which can block internal pipes and the machine will be unable to rinse clothes properly.
- Try rinsing dirty laundry before machine washing it, removing excess dirt will also help with stain removal.
So there we have it, your guide on how to clean your washing machine. With a little bit of effort and a good cleaning routine, your washing machine is unlikely to be visited by the stench demons again, your clothes will be cleaner, and the drum will be a forbidden zone for bacteria.
Did we miss anything? Do you have any tips for cleaning a smelly washing machine? Let us know in the comments below or give us a shout on social media!