Ok, so last week I shared how to clean your dishwasher, as well as some facts you may not know about gel detergent. That post came after hours of hand washing every dish I own. Ok, not literally, but it felt like it! So, the recent drama in the move-in saga involves the washing machine. In our apartment was a brand-new stackable washer and dryer. You’d think there wouldn’t be any problems with them being BRAND-NEW, right? Wrong.
I was doing load after load yesterday, trying to get everything clean so it could go in drawers and those boxes could go to the trash. On the drain and spin cycle of my second load, the washing machine just stops. Just turns off. I went into to change the clothes over and there was like 10 inches of nasty blue water (it was a load of jeans) in the washer. Ugh. So, I thought, “Well maybe it’s got a stabilizer and it’s heavy on one side” so I moved the clothes around and turned the washer back on. Nothing. I thought “Well, maybe if I reset the cycle”. Nothing. Then I was getting super frustrated and tried the knob in just about every position on the washer. Nope. I unplugged it and plugged it back in. Not that either. I went and checked the breakers. The washer and dryer switches are connected with a metal clip and they weren’t tripped. Then I wondered if the washer was just loaded too heavy. Extra large capacity, my rear end. So, I took the jeans out of the washer. Do you know how much water a pair of jeans will hold?!? I had water ALL over the place. UGH!
I told My Mr Right about it and he suggested everything I’d already tried. He said he’d take a look when he got home from work. And by then the dryer was freaking out too. It would tumble, but would never heat up. Of course, by the time My Mr Right got home, it was magically fixed and all he had to do was turn it back on. GRRR! So, I don’t know what was wrong with it. However, he didn’t think I was a complete loony because after he turned it back on and it went through the drain and spin cycles, the lid wouldn’t unlatch. Awesome, right?! We have a possessed washer. Fabulous.
This is for a top load washer only! Don’t use this method with a front load. See those instructions below.
1) With no clothes in the drum, fill it full of hot water to the largest load setting. When it begins to agitate, add 4 cups of distilled white vinegar and 1/2 cup of baking soda. Let the machine agitate until it’s mixed well. Then, turn the machine off and let it sit for 30-45 minutes.
2) After your wait time, turn the machine back on and let it run through a whole wash cycle. On some machines you can adjust the knob to the spin cycle as your machine begins to drain. Doing this will cause the machine to spin as it drains, further knocking gunk and grime loose. Not all machines do this though, so if yours doesn’t just let it drain.
3) After the machine is empty, take a rag and a 1:1 part solution of hot water and vinegar and wipe down the entire inside of the machine. Make sure you get under the blades and agitator, as well as the inside of the lid. If you have a bleach or fabric softener dispenser, either remove them and clean thoroughly or grab a toothbrush (the same one you cleaned the dishwasher with will work well) and scrub out all the gunk in the dispensers.
4) Allow you machine to air dry before you use it.
Pretty simple right? And, if you’ve noticed a smell coming from the machine, this will help (if not cure) the problem. This method works with top load washers only. So, DON’T USE THIS ONE ON YOUR FRONT LOAD MACHINE! Those directions are below!
You should clean your washing machine once a year, at least. I usually do mine every six months or so. My Mr Right works out in the field a lot, so some of his clothes are pretty gross and grimy.
Ok, I don’t have a front load, so I’ve never done this before. However, my mom does have a front load and this is what she does.
1) Run the empty washer through a complete wash cycle with 2 cups of vinegar and nothing else. No clothes or detergents.
2) After your machine has completed a cycle use a wet rag sprinkled with baking powder to wipe down the inside of the washer, scrubbing any places that feel or look grimy. Rinse with a half and half solution of hot water and vinegar (or lemon juice – I think the lemon juice smells better).
3) Scrub the inside of the door with a wet rag and some baking soda. Rinse with the vinegar water solution. Scrub the gaskets and door seals with your toothbrush and vinegar water. Leave the door open to dry. Let dry completely before using.
4) Clean out your detergent dispenser. Some of them come off the machine, and some don’t. My mom’s doesn’t. If it doesn’t, take your toothbrush and use just enough baking soda to lightly cover the bristles and scrub the entire compartment. Rinse with vinegar water and let air dry.
Ways to help reduce the gunk that builds up in your washer:
– Use less detergent. You can usually use about half of the suggested amount of detergent and still get your clothes clean. If anyone in your family (especially little ones) show a rash with no obvious explanation, decrease the amount of detergent you use and see if it helps. If you have hard water, you may need to use more than half the suggested amount. Play around with it and see what the ideal amount for your clothes and water is.
– Run an extra rinse cycle. My mom’s machine has a cool button that say “Extra Rinse”. If yours has one of those, USE IT! Mine does not. For $400, you don’t get the cool “Extra” buttons. If yours doesn’t, don’t fret. After your machine finishes a wash cycle simply set the dial back to ‘rinse’ and let it go.
– Instead of using commercial fabric softener, use vinegar. It won’t leave an oily residue on your clothes or machine like some fabric softeners will. Don’t worry about your clothes smelling like vinegar, they won’t. It’ll wash out in the rinse and drying processes.
Enjoy your clean machine! Click HERE to learn how to clean your dryer.