UGH! What is that smell in your laundry room? Trust me, you aren’t alone. Washing machines are notorious for collecting gunk and funk and weird smells. Here’s a step-by-step guide to clean your washing machine inside and out – for High Efficiency (HE), top loader, or front loaders – and using all-natural products.
It is me or does anyone else wonder how and why the machine that is supposed to clean our clothes gets so gunky and funky smelling? Especially those HE machines – stinky! I mean, does that totally gross you out too? I’m also wondering if you are like me and just ignore the gunk and funk until you can’t stand it anymore? Anyone? Bueller?
Regardless of what kind of laundry machine you have – HE, top loader, or front loader – we’ll go through the step-by-step process to clean your machine with all-natural products that you already have in your home. Easy peezy!
First, let’s address how often you should clean your machine. I’ve researched several articles and expert sources. The majority say once a month. However, if you are a normal human being with a normal crazy, hectic life, that is probably not reasonable. So maybe aim for once a quarter? Can you work with that?
All-Purpose (White) Vinegar
How to Clean Your Washing Machine
I’m a little hippie flower child with trying to live in the most non-toxic world possible. So bear with me while I gripe – it seems like all of our efforts to make more eco-friendly and energy efficient products comes with a whole host of secondary issues. Like the newer HE machines. They produce gunk and funk worthy of an Olympic medal.
Rant over. The steps are pretty much the same regardless of what kind of machine you have. Every model is different, so the instructions here are pretty generic and universal to cover most models.
1. Inside the Tub
Pour 4 cups of all-purpose (white) vinegar into the tub. If your machine has a “Clean Cycle” use that, otherwise use the longest cycle. Run with the hottest temperature setting.
You shouldn’t smell the vinegar after the cycle is over, but if you do, run a short cycle on cold water for an additional rinse.
2. Machine Exterior and Lid
Some people like to use just water with a microfiber cloth, and that is fine. You can also use a non-toxic all-purpose cleaner or make your own. Spray the cloth and wipe down the exterior of your machine. I like using the microfiber cloth because it helps to get all of the gunk build-up, especially around the controls.
Use an old toothbrush for those stubborn and hard to reach spots, especially under the lid.
3. Front-Loader Door
If you have a front-loader, very gently pull back the rubber seal and use the microfiber cloth or toothbrush to wipe away any mold or mildew. Put back into place.
4. Internal Dispensers
I use all-natural laundry products, and also make my own. But the bleach and fabric softener dispensers still get really gunky. If the dispensers are removable, pop them out and clean them separately. I actually find running them under hot water under the sink faucet works best before spraying and wiping.
5. Inside the Machine
Finally, use the microfiber and water/cleaner to clean out the remaining interior – the drum and under any parts that are still dirty. Keep the toothbrush handy. You will probably still need it.
Keep it Clean!
Now that your washing machine is clean, let’s try and keep it clean! A little bit of daily-ish maintenance works miracles to help keep your machine clean. I keep all of my supplies in a small bucket next to the washer and dryer so everything I need is in easy reach.
2. Keep the door or lid open in between washings. CAUTION – DO NOT leave the door/lid open if you have small children or pets in the home where they can crawl in and potentially get hurt or stuck.
3. Keep a cloth near the machine to do a quick wipe down after each load or two. Or three.
4. Fabric softener causes a lot of build-up. Ditch the liquid fabric softeners and use wool dryer balls instead.
5. Check your hoses periodically to ensure they are in good condition.
More Laundry Resources
Are you Inspired?
Be sure to download your FREE Healthy Living Bundle to launch you into the life of good health and fortitude!
Love, hugs, and cleaning the machine.HERE.