If you thought your washing machine cleaned itself, then you are not alone. A lot of people think the same way. And when after a while they find their washed clothes not as clean as they used to be, they start investigating to realize the culprit is the washing machine itself.
Washing machines are a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, mold, and other pathogens. Wondering where they came from? Of course your clothes. Sweaty clothes, underwear, etc could harbor various bacteria. And sometimes these bacteria linger in the washing machine drums. Also, being a warm, moist environment, mold and mildew thrives in the drum.
Limescale is also something you need to look out for. They build up in the drum, tub and pipes leading to clogged lines and malfunctioning of the electronic components in the long run.
According to experts, you need to deep clean your washing machine at least on a monthly basis to prevent excessive build-up of limescale and harmful pathogens. But don’t worry. It isn’t a time-consuming exercise if you have the right tools and follow the proper method.
How To Clean The Drum and The Tub?
Everyone talks about cleaning the drum. But forget about the tub which encloses the drum. If you look at the anatomy of a washing machine, you will understand that the inlet and outlet pipes are connected to the top and bottom of the tub respectively.
In my experience as a service technician, I have found numerous washing machines with clean drums, but filthy tubs that reek of mold, mildew and limescale deposits. This is because the users neglect their monthly maintenance.
Running a washing program with drum descaling powder is the best way to get rid of limescale deposits. Use the drum cleaning cycle, if it is available in your washing machine. If you have an older model, run it in the hottest wash program. The water temperature should be at least 60 degrees Celsius to kill the bacteria and mold. And the wash duration should be 45 minutes to an hour long.
Do not combine bleach, vinegar, and drum descaling powder as they will react and form chlorine gas, which is dangerous when inhaled.
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How To Clean The Gasket/ Rubber Seal of Front Load Washing Machine?
The gasket/ rubber seal of the front load washing machine is yet another breeding ground for bacteria, mold and mildew which feeds on detergent residue, hair and other organic material that gets accumulated within the folds of the gasket.
Unfortunately, the drum descalers cannot eliminate the mold in the rubber seal. The alternatives that expert cleaners recommend are vinegar OR bleach ( NEVER TOGETHER). But, we were not able to clear the mold completely using either of them. Light spots remained.
What worked was a combination of baking soda and bleach. First, we wiped off the mildew and any other debris on the rubber seal. Then, we made a thick paste of baking powder and bleach and applied it over the mold. After leaving it overnight, we wiped off the paste the next day with a damp cloth. Voila, it worked like a charm!
But, we wouldn’t recommend using this method frequently because bleach can damage the rubber and result in an imperfect seal. The best method to avoid mold is to wipe the seal on a daily basis and keep the door open for ample air circulation.
Related reading: What Is Spin Cycle In A Washing Machine?
How To Clean Detergent Dispenser?
Certain models come with a removable detergent dispenser. If so, you can scrub it using a toothbrush under running water to clean any accumulated detergent residue.
If it isn’t removable, scrub it with a toothbrush and wipe it with a damp cloth.
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How To Clean Pump Filter of Washing Machine?
In a top-loading washing machine, you have lint filters that have almost the same function as a pump filter- catching lint, coins, small objects and other debris. Ideally, you should clean it on a monthly basis.
In the front-loading washing machine, the pump filter is located at the bottom right corner. It has a small knob that you can pull to open. Before opening, place an old rag on the floor to collect water and debris that may come out of the filter.
On the left, you will find a tube. Take out its plug to empty the water in the tube.
Then, twist the filter in an anti-clockwise direction to remove it. Clean the filter with a toothbrush under running water. Take out any debris from the filter cavity and wipe it with a clean cloth.
Other Tips To Maintain Your Washing Machine Clean
- Keep your washing machine door open when not in use. This gets rid of the excess moisture, which in turn prevents mold and mildew growth.
- If possible, avoid using fabric softeners. They accumulate as a layer on your clothes as well as the drum and tub.
- Use just the right quantity of detergent. Excess detergent residue leads to mold and mildew formation.
- Ensure you clean and descale the washing machine on a monthly basis to prolong the lifespan of the appliance.
- If you ever find your washing machine making a louder-than-usual noise, stop the machine and balance the load before proceeding further. An unbalanced load means the weight is not balanced. It typically happens when washing a single large piece of clothing, like one large pillow or bedsheet or duvet. It would be a good idea to wash two of each in a load so that the load is balanced.
With sufficient care and following a strict cleaning routine, washing machines can be maintained clean and devoid of germs. However, if you omit to clean them, not only will the washing machine getting damaged, but your clothes will start stinking too.