How to Clean and Maintain Your Washing Machine

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The washing machine is a central part of keeping a home clean. In most households, laundry is a constant project of collecting, washing, drying, folding, and re-distributing to the closets and dressers through the home. After the first time you have your own washer/dryer, you quickly learn that the cleanliness of your laundry room often determines how clean your laundry can get.

Especially the outside of your washer. Dripped detergent, dust, and rust can all wear down a washer’s cleanliness, limiting how clean your clothes can get. Here’s how to keep your washer not just clean but in good maintenance condition.  

Windex The Cabinet

You’d be surprised to realize just how much can build up on the outside of your washer. Moisture from the dryer exhaust collects a thin film of lint dust while detergent drips make sticky slicks that are hard to clean up. This can result in a pretty grimy washing machine. Fortunately, the fix is easy. Arm yourself with a scrubbing sponge and a bottle of multi-surface cleaner.The cleaner will break up, dissolve, or soften anything in your way.  The soft side of the sponge will quickly wipe up lint dust while the scrubby side can handle anything more substantial. 

Scrub Off the Leftover Detergent

Now for the detergent spots that last past the wipe-down. For this, you’ll need a damp washcloth and access to a sink. Use the washcloth to soak the detergent spots and soften the congealed soap. Rinsing the washcloth several times should make it possible to completely wash and scrub away the old detergent drips.You may also have some luck with a plastic scraper, like a spatula or putty knife. As long as you don’t damage the washer enamel, the detergent might peel right off with a little help. 

Swiffer Under, Around, and Through

It’s safe to say that your washing machine basically never moves. You never push it out from the spot it’s in, because it is heavy, tethered, and is likely in the only corner where it will fit. But the floor around your washer can still get grimy. Keeping your washer both clean and in good repair means tending to the floors under and around your washer-dryer set.

A Swiffer style dustmop is exactly what you need, with a very flat head slender handle so you can clean all the way underneath an appliance. Swiffer under the washer and also around the front, back, and sides. 

Level the Feet

Good washer maintenance also includes the feet and level. If your floor or floor coverings are not level underneath the washer, this can cause alignment and leaking problems down the line. The front two feet of your washer are likely to be leveling feet, possibly all four. Leveling feet unscrew to become taller and screw in to become shorter. This way, you can level the washer cabinet one foot at a time, if necessary.Use a bubble level to tell if your washer is level as you start toying with the feet. 

Check and Clear the Drain

Your washing machine fills with water, spins it around your clothes, and then drains the water. To do this, it needs access to a drain. Track back your washer drain and make sure there is no clog anywhere in the system. Check the washer drain hose and assembly, check the drain itself, and try pouring some water down the drain to see what happens.If the drain is dirty or clogged, clean it out. Run hot water and vinegar through the drain hose to clear it out. 

Run Empty with Hot Water and Vinegar

Speaking of hot water and vinegar, that will cure what ails most washing machines with smell, residue, or clogging problems. And the occasional wash with hot water and vinegar will prevent those problems from ever occurring.It starts with an empty washer. Set the washer to run a “Hot” or “Heavy Duty” laundry cycle. Then fill the detergent cup with white vinegar instead of soap. Run the washer, enjoy fresh wash. Add borax for extra scrubbing action that is completely safe for your machine and rinses clean. 

Keep an Ear On It

Finally, listen to your washer. Often, the first signs that something has gone wrong will be audible.  Your washer might start sounding louder, whirring, rattling, or you might hear the cycles switching erratically. Every responsible owner of a washing machine learns to keep an ear on the machine when it runs. You’ll often know weeks before a repair becomes necessary.For more helpful appliance repair tips or a consultation on your washer, contact us today!

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