When your washer is not clean, it can promote the growth of bacteria, mold, and foul odors that can affect your laundry. In extreme cases, you may even see small black particles of mold on the surfaces of your clothes and fabrics. The washing machine drum and rubbers seals are susceptible to a build-up of soap scum and black mold that can ruin your wash. In this article, we will show you six simple steps to clean and sanitize your front loading washer.


Close up image of a washer

  1. The Rubber Seals

As we mentioned in the introduction, the rubber door seals and gasket are particularly prone to a build-up of mold and soap scum. Start by soaking some old towels with either white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Then pack those towels into the gasket cavity and leave them for an hour to loosen any mold and grease lurking there. This should disinfect the area thoroughly, and you can wipe the door seals and gasket clean. If there are any stubborn areas, you can scrub off this residue with an old toothbrush soaked in white vinegar or simply repeat the process.


  1. Run the Washer

Now the gaskets are clean; you can turn your attention to the washer by setting it on the hottest setting and the largest load size. Then fill the dispensers with a mix of 1 quart white vinegar and ½ cup of baking soda. If you don’t have any vinegar on hand, you can substitute with hydrogen peroxide, citric acid, oxygen bleach, or a chlorine based bleach. Pour the white vinegar in the detergent dispenser and place the baking soda in the softener dispenser. Then run the wash cycle until it finishes.


  1. Clean the Exterior

When the wash cycle is running, you can use that time wisely and clean the exterior of the washer. Take a cloth soaked with white vinegar and rub at all those nooks and crannies on your front loading washer. Obviously, you cannot get to the top or rear of the washer, but you can do that another time when checking the hoses and fixtures. This will disinfect the front of your washer and make it fresher and cleaner.


  1. The Second Wash Cycle

Once the first wash cycle is completed, you can run a second wash cycle using only hot water. If you want to get rid of any residue that may be remaining after the first wash, you can add a little vinegar. Once this second wash cycle is finished, leave the door open to dry the drum and prevent the formation of mildew.


  1. Clean the Components

Get a smaller towel, soak it with vinegar, and then wipe down the inside of the dispenser. You can use an old toothbrush to get into any seals and tight spaces to get the vinegar into the cracks. Scrub at the rims, edges, and other areas that come into contact with water. If the dispenser can be removed, it’s easier to clean it over the sink and replace it later.


  1. Cleaning Ingredients

As you may have noticed, a lot of the cleaning ingredients used in the sanitation process for your front loading washer are not store bought cleaning products. Both vinegar and baking soda are excellent at cleaning and deodorizing because they are natural ingredients. White vinegar is an acetic acid, but it’s extremely mild, and it cannot kill all of the mold with a single pass.

So, if you have a very dirty and mold machine, you may need to try an oxygen bleach and enzyme detergent instead. If your washer is still struggling to deliver clean clothing, you can rely on a home appliance repair technician to help. An experienced technician can evaluate your machine to determine any underlying issues that may compromise performance.

Cleaning a washing machine is important for several reasons:

  1. Removal of dirt and grime: Over time, dirt, detergent residue, and fabric softener can build up inside the washing machine drum, detergent dispenser, and other components. Regular cleaning helps to remove these deposits, preventing them from accumulating and affecting the cleanliness of your clothes.
  2. Odor prevention: Moisture and detergent residues can create a damp and musty environment inside the washing machine, leading to unpleasant odors. Cleaning the machine helps to eliminate these odors and keep your laundry smelling fresh.
  3. Preventing mold and mildew growth: The combination of moisture, warmth, and organic matter inside the washing machine can promote the growth of mold and mildew. These fungi can not only cause unpleasant odors but also pose health risks. Cleaning the machine regularly helps to prevent mold and mildew growth and maintain a hygienic environment for your laundry.
  4. Improving washing performance: A clean washing machine operates more efficiently, leading to better washing performance. Removing dirt and residues from the drum and other components allows the machine to function optimally, resulting in cleaner and fresher clothes.
  5. Extending the lifespan of the machine: Regular cleaning and maintenance can help prolong the lifespan of your washing machine. By preventing the accumulation of debris, reducing strain on the motor, and keeping the machine in good working condition, you can minimize the risk of breakdowns and costly repairs.

To clean your washing machine, you can follow the manufacturer’s instructions or use these general steps:

  1. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines: Refer to the user manual or manufacturer’s instructions specific to your washing machine model for guidance on cleaning.
  2. Clean the drum: Wipe down the drum with a damp cloth to remove any visible dirt or debris. You can also use a mild detergent or vinegar solution for a more thorough cleaning. Run an empty cycle with hot water and add a cup of vinegar or a washing machine cleaner to help remove built-up residues.
  3. Clean the detergent dispenser: Remove the detergent dispenser tray and clean it with warm soapy water. Rinse it thoroughly and ensure there are no clogs or residues.
  4. Clean the rubber seal/gasket: The rubber seal around the door can collect dirt, hair, and moisture. Wipe it with a cloth soaked in a vinegar-water solution or a mild detergent. Make sure to reach into the crevices to remove any hidden debris.
  5. Run a maintenance cycle: Some washing machines have a self-clean or maintenance cycle. Follow the instructions provided to run this cycle, which is specifically designed to clean the machine.
  6. Regular maintenance: After each load of laundry, leave the door of the washing machine open for a while to allow moisture to evaporate and prevent mold and mildew growth. Also, periodically check and clean the filter (if applicable) to remove lint and other debris.

By incorporating regular cleaning into your washing machine maintenance routine, you can ensure that it performs at its best, keeps your clothes fresh, and lasts longer.


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