Does your washing machine smell like a skunk? Knowing when and how to clean a washing machine is key to avoiding a smelly washing machine. Both top loading and front loading washing machines can suffer from odor, mildew and mold problems if not routinely cleaned. Owners of front loading machines need to be especially vigilant due to design specifications and operating differences compared to top loading washers. It is generally recommended that the cleaning of a washing machine be performed at least monthly.
Hard water deposits, laundry detergent residue, film from fabric softeners all can accumulate within the washer machine and decrease operating efficiency. Dampness can also cause unhealthy mold and mildew within the washer bin, gaskets and hoses. Collectively, all serve to create an environment that is ripe for creating a smelly, musty washing machine.
But simply cleaning your washing machine, at routine intervals, can keep your washer operating efficiently and safely —- allowing your laundry to smell and feel wonderful.
Clean Washing Machine With Vinegar
White distilled vinegar, preferably a mild acid variety, can aid in clearing your washer of detergent debris, mineral deposits and odors.
Add a 1/4 cup of vinegar to a hot water wash cycle utilizing the longest possible rinse setting. This “wash cycle” should be free of laundry. You can decrease or increase this amount according to your level of detergent residue or mineral deposits.
Some washing machines may have certain plastic and rubber components that are sensitive to vinegar. It is best to check with the washer manufacturer to see if they recommend using vinegar in their machines to prevent a costly repair or voiding of your warranty.
Washing Machine Cleaning With Citric Acid
A 1/2 cup of Citric Acid Powder can be used in a warm water empty wash cycle to help dissolve buildup and hard water mineralization. Some appliance brands, such as Miele recommend using citric acid when cleaning washing machines over vinegar as it is less corrosive to machine parts.
Appliance products like Glisten which are formulated with citric acid are ready-made to tackle mineral deposits, rust stains and laundry detergent scum.
Attacking Washing Machine Odors with Bleach
A Whirlpool Rep, Ms. Zeiter, in a Walls Street Journal interview recommended “cleaning washers monthly using an empty hot-water cycle and…bleach ” Zeiter cautioned that not properly measuring laundry detergents and other laundry products creates a buildup of heavy residue in washing machines. Such sticky buildup can lead to a stinky washer and musty laundry.
Adding a cup of liquid bleach to an empty, hot water wash cycle is effective in eliminating collected “gunk”, mold and mildew. Allowing the wash basin to soak several hours in the brew of bleach aides in the sanitation effort
Smelly Washer Cleaner – An Easy Smelly Washer Remedy
More Helpful Ways to Clean a Washing Machine
On front loading washing machines be certain to regularly clean the rubber door gasket. Wiping with bleach or another other type of disinfectant is helpful in ridding the area of mold and mildew. Lint filters should be emptied after to each wash to avoid moisture buildup. Also, take care to remove wet laundry promptly to avoid musty washing machine smells.
Giving your washer time to “air-out” after a cycle can also assist with the elimination of musty odors and the formation of mildew. Opening up a window or running a fan in the laundry room will help the air to circulate and minimize humidity. However, care must be exercised when young children and small pets are in the household. Open washer basins can be used as resting and hiding places, which can lead to an entrapment hazard.
If you are taking care to measure laundry products correctly, but are still finding proof of excessive detergent residue you may want to switch from a liquid detergent to a powdered laundry detergent. Some machines operate more efficiently with powdered detergents. Additionally, you may want to eliminate liquid fabric softeners as some have experienced a sticky buildup with these products.
Give your washing machine time to respond to these treatments. If you still are experiencing a smelly washing machine after cleaning your appliance it may be time to call a professional repair service. Sometimes, black mold can be harbored within an area of a washer that a washing machine cleaner can’t solve.
Knowing how to routinely clean a washing machine can help you avoid costly repair bills, preserve the life of your machine and reward you with clean, fresh-smelling laundry!