Clean Your Washing Machine in 3 Simple Steps

Learn how to clean a washing machine so the grimy buildup doesn't sneak its way onto your clean laundry.

The dirt that disappears from your clothes has to go somewhere, right? Learn how to clean a washing machine, so that grimy buildup doesn't end up on your clean pile of laundry.

Ron Holt, CEO of Two Maids & a Mop, recommends completing this simple three-step process, at least quarterly, on both front-loading and top-loading washing machines without a self-clean function. It'll eliminate buildup in hoses and pipes and ensure your clothes stay fresh and clean.

Step 1: Run a Hot Cycle with Vinegar

Run an empty, regular cycle on hot, using two cups of vinegar instead of detergent. White vinegar will not damage clothes. The hot water-vinegar combo removes and prevents bacteria growth. Vinegar can also act as a deodorizer and will cut through mildew odors.

Step 2: Scrub the Inside and Outside

In a bucket or nearby sink, mix about ¼ cup vinegar with a quart of warm water. Use this mixture, plus a sponge and dedicated toothbrush, to clean the inside of the machine. Pay special attention to soap and other dispensers, the inside of the door, and, if you have a front-loading washing machine, the rubber seal. (If your soap dispenser is removable, soak it in the vinegar water before scrubbing.) Give the machine's exterior a quick wipedown, too.

Step 3: Run a Hot Cycle

Run one more empty, regular cycle on hot, without detergent or vinegar. You should clean your washer every six months to prevent bacteria and mineral build up, and to make sure your clothes are actually clean when they come out of the washer.

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