5 Essential Tips for Washing Machine Maintenance and Cleaning

how to clean washing machine

Your washing machine is a vital part of your home, keeping your clothes clean and fresh. However, it can also accumulate dirt, grime, and even mould over time. Learning how to clean a washing machine is essential for its longevity and performance.

In this article, we will share five essential tips for how to clean a washing machine, so you can keep it in tip-top shape and ensure your clothes come out clean and smell great every time.

Clean the Drum 

One of the most effective methods for maintaining a spotless and efficient washing machine drum is to use a hot water and vinegar solution. This natural cleaning agent effectively breaks down and removes accumulated residue, soap scum, and mineral deposits that can hinder your machine's performance over time. To ensure your washing machine drum stays clean and free from buildup, follow these simple steps:

Prepare the vinegar solution

Start by mixing equal parts of white vinegar and water in a container. For a standard-sized washing machine, you'll need about 2 cups of each. White vinegar is an excellent cleaning agent, as it has natural disinfecting and deodorising properties that help to eliminate bacteria, mould, and unpleasant odours.

Add the solution to the detergent dispenser
Once the vinegar solution is ready, pour it directly into your washing machine's detergent dispenser. This will ensure that the solution is evenly distributed throughout the drum during the cleaning cycle.

Run a hot water cycle

Set your washing machine to the highest temperature setting and run a full cycle without any clothes inside. The hot water will help to break down and dissolve the grime, while the vinegar solution will work its magic in sanitising and deodorising the drum.

Wipe down the drum

After the cycle is complete, use a clean cloth or sponge to wipe down the drum, removing any remaining residue or water. Pay special attention to the rubber gasket around the door, as this area can be prone to mould and mildew buildup.

Regular maintenance

To keep your washing machine drum in pristine condition, it's recommended that you perform this cleaning process every few months. Regular cleaning will not only ensure that your machine operates at peak efficiency, but it will also prolong its lifespan and prevent potential damage caused by buildup.

Tackle the Detergent Drawer

The detergent drawer is a critical component of your washing machine, as it dispenses detergent and fabric softener during the wash cycle. However, it is also a common area for residue, mould, and mildew to accumulate, which can lead to unpleasant odours and reduced effectiveness of your detergent. To maintain a clean detergent drawer and ensure smooth dispensing, follow these steps:

Remove the detergent drawer

Carefully remove the detergent drawer from your washing machine. If you're unsure how to do this, consult your washing machine's user manual for specific instructions, as the process may vary between different models.

Soak the drawer

Fill a basin or sink with warm, soapy water and submerge the detergent drawer for 15-20 minutes. This soaking process will help to loosen any stubborn residue, making it easier to clean.

Scrub away residue and mould

After soaking, use a soft brush or cloth to gently scrub away any lingering residue or mould from the detergent drawer. Pay special attention to the compartments for detergent and fabric softener, as these areas are prone to buildup.

Rinse and air dry

Thoroughly rinse the detergent drawer with warm water, ensuring that all soap residue is removed. After rinsing, place the drawer on a clean towel or drying rack and allow it to air dry completely before reinserting it into your washing machine. This will help to prevent the growth of mould and mildew.

Check and Clean the Filter

The filter is a crucial part of your washing machine, responsible for capturing lint, hair, and other debris from your laundry during the wash cycle. Keeping the filter clean and functional is essential for maintaining the overall performance and efficiency of your washing machine. Follow these steps to ensure your filter remains in optimal condition:

Locate the filter
The filter is typically located at the bottom of the washing machine, either at the front or back, behind a small access panel or door. Refer to your washing machine's user manual if you are unsure where to find the filter.

Remove the filter cover

Carefully remove the filter cover or access panel, taking care not to damage any surrounding components. Some washing machines may require the use of a screwdriver or other tools to remove the cover, so make sure you have the necessary equipment on hand.

Extract the filter

Gently pull the filter out of its housing, being cautious of any water that may spill out during the process. Place a towel or tray underneath the filter to catch any residual water.

Rinse the filter

Hold the filter under running water to remove any trapped debris, such as lint, hair, or small objects. You can use a soft brush or toothbrush to help dislodge any stubborn particles. Ensure that the filter is thoroughly cleaned and free from debris before proceeding to the next step.

Reinsert the filter and replace the cover

Once the filter is clean, carefully reinsert it into its designated slot in the washing machine. Ensure that it is securely in place before replacing the filter cover or access panel.

Wipe Down the Exterior

Maintaining the cleanliness of your washing machine's exterior not only enhances its appearance but also prevents the accumulation of dirt, grime, and potential odours. Regularly wiping down the exterior surfaces can contribute to a fresher and more hygienic laundry environment. Follow these steps to keep your washing machine looking and smelling its best:

Prepare a cleaning solution

Mix a small amount of mild detergent with warm water in a container or bucket. Avoid using harsh or abrasive cleaning agents, as they can damage the washing machine's finish or leave residue on the surfaces.

Dampen a cloth or sponge

Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the cleaning solution, making sure to wring out any excess water. A microfiber cloth is an excellent option, as it effectively removes dirt and grime without leaving streaks or scratches.

Wipe down the exterior surfaces

Gently wipe down all exterior surfaces of your washing machine, including the top, sides, and front. Pay particular attention to the control panel, buttons, and door, as these areas can harbour dirt and bacteria.

Clean the door seal

If your washing machine has a front-loading design, be sure to clean the door seal as well. Use a damp cloth to wipe around the rubber gasket, removing any debris, soap residue, or mould that may be present.

Dry the surfaces

After wiping down the washing machine's exterior, use a dry cloth or towel to remove any remaining moisture. This helps to prevent streaks and ensures that all surfaces are thoroughly clean and dry.

Leave the Door Open After Use

Promoting air circulation within your washing machine after each use is a simple yet effective way to prevent the growth of mould and mildew, which can lead to unpleasant odours and reduced performance. By making a habit of leaving the door open for a few hours after completing a wash cycle, you can maintain a fresh and odour-free washing machine. Here's what you need to do:

Finish the wash cycle

Once your laundry is done, remove the washed items from the washing machine and transfer them to the dryer or clothesline for drying.
Wipe down the door and gasket

With a clean, damp cloth, quickly wipe down the washing machine door and the rubber gasket surrounding it. This helps to remove any residual moisture, detergent, or debris that may contribute to mould and mildew growth.

Leave the door open

Keep the washing machine door slightly ajar for a few hours after completing the wash cycle. This allows fresh air to circulate inside the drum, helping to evaporate any remaining moisture and preventing the growth of mould and mildew.

Ensure proper ventilation

Make sure that your laundry area is well-ventilated, with sufficient airflow to aid in the drying process. A well-ventilated space will further reduce the likelihood of mould and mildew development within your washing machine.

Now You Have a Clean Washing Machine!

By following these five essential tips, you can keep your washing machine clean, efficient, and long-lasting. If you need professional assistance with washing machine maintenance or other home services, YourPro is here to help.

With our tech-enabled platform, you can quickly find reliable professionals to handle all your home service needs. Join more than 350,000 satisfied customers across Ireland and experience the YourPro difference. Schedule a consultation today!


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