Friday, 20 September 2013

Cleaning your washing machine.

I am a strong believer in looking after the things you have and regularly servicing appliances to help them last as long as possible.  One appliance in particular that I like to treat well with regular servicing and cleaning so that hopefully it will serve us well for many years is our washing machine. 

Even though washing machines are cleaning machines they still need to be looked after and regularly cleaned and serviced as dirty clothes, detergent, clothes fluff, grime, odours and in our case full loads of stinky cloth nappies will leave their mark, leaving the washing machine looking worse for wear and in need of some loving attention and a good old scrub.  Also as we often wash clothes at 40 degrees or less which is great for saving money on energy bills and being better for the environment compared to hot washes there is a downside as low temperatures will not rid the machine of mould and bacteria like a hot wash would so I make sure that I regularly clean our machine.

To kill germs and bacteria, get rid of mould, banish bad odours and prevent limescale build-up in your washing machine, turn off your machine and get cleaning with my tips for cleaning your washing machine and giving it a new lease of life.

*  Clean the exterior of the washing machine.
Help make your washing machine feel like new by cleaning the exterior with a damp cloth and vinegar (or all-purpose cleaner).  At the same time as cleaning the exterior of the washing machine give some attention to the door, inside and outside, to get rid of any detergent build-up, grime and mildew. 

*  Clean the detergent drawer.
The detergent drawer can be a haven for grime, germs, mould and encrusted washing powder and regularly needs cleaning to help keep your washing machine clean and free from odours and germs.  For a quick clean, wipe the detergent drawer with a cloth and vinegar cleaning solution (or an all-purpose cleaner/bleach if you prefer) and remove gunged up bits of detergent and dirt, using a toothbrush to clean the fiddly areas. 

To give the detergent drawer a through clean remove the entire drawer and soak for 30 minutes in the sink with hot water and vinegar (or an all-purpose cleaner/bleach), then use a trusty toothbrush to clean dirt from all the nooks and crannies before drying and replacing in the machine.

Before replacing the detergent drawer in the washing machine, clean where the dispenser draw goes so that the dispenser drawer has a clean new home to live in.

*  Clean the door seals.
Use a damp cloth to clean door seals, pulling back the seals to ensure everywhere is cleaned.  Cleaning the seals with vinegar is a great way of removing any mould and grime collecting on the seals.

*  Unclog the filter.
A washing machine’s filter is another haven for germs as it is a warm and humid area where they can collect along with dirt and grime.  To keep your washing machine in tip top condition regularly clean and unclog the filter by opening it up and removing fluff and dirt that has gathered inside.

*  Clean the drum.
Even though inside your washing machine may look sparkling clean repeated use to clean dirty laundry will most probably mean germs, excess detergent and dirt will have gathered in the holes of the drum.  To give your washing machine a freshen up and remove germs, dirt, excess detergent and soap scum, mildew, limescale and odours it is useful to treat your washing machine to a deep cleaning service wash.

To give inside the washing machine a deep clean run the machine empty on a hot long wash with some soda crystals.  After doing a hot soda crystal cycle then run another empty cycle on the longest hottest wash but this time add vinegar (lemon juice also works great) to eliminate any limescale, detergent and unpleasant odours. 

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After you have cleaned your washing machine and it is sparkling clean there are a couple of little things you can do to help keep it clean and stop accumulation of unpleasant odours, germs and mould in between cleaning your hard working machine.

*  Give the washing machine some air.
To prevent unpleasant odours and help stop germs breeding after a wash leave the door open to allow air to circulate into the drum and let the drum dry.  It is also useful to leave the detergent drawer open too so that it can dry in between washes.

*  Use a natural alternative to commercial fabric softeners.
Commercial fabric softeners can leave a build-up of residue in the machine that may contribute to bad smells and mould.  To prevent a build-up of fabric softener in the machine you could try using to a natural alternative instead and use vinegar as a fabric softener.  Not only does vinegar not leave a build-up in the machine it also helps keep the machine clean and prevent mould and unpleasant odours.  Using vinegar as a fabric softener leaves your laundry soft and not is it a natural alternative with no harsh chemicals it is also a very cheap alternative.  To give the vinegar fabric softener a fresh scent simply add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the vinegar.

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To ensure unpleasant odours and bacteria do not accumulate and remove dirt, mould, germs and grime it is best to give your washing machine a deep clean every 4-8 weeks which will leave your washing machine sparkling clean and working more efficiently.

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