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Newsflash: You Also Need to Clean Your Washing Machine

Well, you probably knew this was coming…..not only do you need to clean your dishwasher on a regular basis to keep it working properly, but you also need to clean your washing machine.

Whether you have a front loading or top loading machine…..it needs to be cleaned. Standing water, detergent residue and deposit buildup can shorten the life of your machine….not to mention you want a clean environment for your clothes to be in! Here’s a step-by-step how to:

(more after the jump)

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  • Getting Started 1 of 8
    Getting Started
    White distilled vinegar is the best way to clean your washer.....and a "no scratch" sponge. You'll also want a sprayer filled with vinegar to get into hard to reach areas.
  • Soaking 2 of 8
    Soaking
    With front loaders....the biggest issue is standing water and detergent buildup. Spray vinegar around the rubber areas and let it stand for a bit while you clean the rest of the machine. For a top load machine, add 3 to 4 cups of distilled vinegar and begin a regular cycle but stop it after the water swishes around a bit and let the water sit for 30 minutes so the vinegar can work its magic removing buildup.
  • Basic Cleaning 3 of 8
    Basic Cleaning
    Use vinegar and a no scratch sponge to wipe down all areas of the machine including the door.
  • Dispensers 4 of 8
    Dispensers
    Remove any "removable" parts that need cleaning such as the bleach/softener dispensers. There's usually a lot of residue build up here!
  • Hard to Reach Areas 5 of 8
    Hard to Reach Areas
    Use a toothbrush or a paint brush to scrub small hard to reach areas.
  • Cleaning the Outside 6 of 8
    Cleaning the Outside
    Wipe the outside of the washer clean with vinegar. I use a Magic Eraser to remove any scuffs.
  • Deep Cleaning 7 of 8
    Deep Cleaning
    Once the inside has had a chance to soak, wipe down all surfaces. For top load washers you can run the rest of the cleaning cycle and allow it to drain. For front loaders you'll need to do a little more work....spraying down the inside and the rubber gasket a second time and scrubbing to remove any residue or mildew. I use white washcloths for this step so I can tell when there is no more residue coming off as I pull back the rubber seal. After all the residue is removed, add 2 or 3 cups of vinegar and run the front loader's cleaning cycle.
  • Ongoing Maintenance 8 of 8
    Ongoing Maintenance
    It's important to allow your washing machine to dry out after each load so that mildew and mold don't become a problem. Leave the door open enough for standing water to evaporate. Make sure you aren't using too much detergent as well! More soap doesn't = cleaner clothes! Clean your machine about once a month and it will just get easier and easier. The best part: you can rest easy that your clothes are actually getting cleaner!

 

READ MORE OF ASHLEY’S WRITING AT LIL BLUE BOO.

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