Your washing machine is like any other household appliance, requiring regular TLC to ensure clean clothes and smooth operation. There are several areas of your washer that need to be cleaned regularly.
Washing machines are coated with a porcelain or synthetic enamel, and this stains and scratches easily. So cleaning the outside of your washer regularly with a soft damp cloth and mild dishwashing detergent will prevent washing powder spills and stains from damaging the finish.
Try and avoid spilling solutions such as bleach or abrasive cleaners on your washer, as these can eat into the enamel. Ideally, lay a folded towel over your washer when not in use, to prevent any objects placed on top of it from scratching the finish.
Lint and soap residue can build up on the inside of the washing machine drum over time. Wipe it down periodically with a damp cloth, and wipe down the agitator if your washer has one.
Also, clean out the fabric softener dispenser if your washer is fitted with one, as this can become caked with residue. Remove it from its cradle and soak it for 10 minutes in hot water before drying and replacing.
Washing machine hoses can crack and split over time, so they need to be checked periodically and replaced if any damage is detected. Ideally, they should be replaced entirely every five years – a job best left to your plumber or washing machine repairer.
After a while, you may notice that your clothes are not as clean as they should be. This could be caused by build-up of mildew in the drum. Mildew has a distinct odour and results from clothes being washed constantly in cold water, from having poor ventilation in your laundry or from leaving wet clothes in the washer for too long.
Deep cleaning will remove mildew and these are the steps you should follow:
- Set your washer for a large load using hot water and add a cup of bleach. Do not put any clothes in with the cycle.
- Run a second cycle using hot water and add two cups of white vinegar. This will remove the mildew odour.
- Run a third cycle with hot water only.
The best way to prevent mildew from developing in the first place is to leave the lid of your washing machine open after each wash cycle. This allows the moisture on the inside of the drum to evaporate.
Observing a regular cleaning regime such as the steps mentioned here will ensure your clothes are as clean as possible after every wash, and your washing machine will continue to operate efficiently for many years to come.