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Washing machine hygiene

Filed Under: household hacks, cleaning, Essential Skills, Know-How

washing machineIt happens to the best of us. You run a load of laundry through the washing machine with full intention to put it in the dryer as soon as its dry. You go back three days later to find a soggy smelly mess that needs to be rewashed. Once you rewash and dry the clothes you find that the washer still has that funky smell. How you do clean the washer when simply running obviously wasn't enough?

I found an easy cleaning answer. All you need is white vinegar, baking soda and a washer full of hot water. Add three cups of white vinegar and 1/2 cup baking soda to you washer that has been filled with hot water. (no laundry this time).

Let the washing machine run most of a regular cycle then stop it. Advance your washer's knob to the spin cycle without draining it and turn it back on. This way the water will be forced up the walls of your washer and clean it even better. Once the water has drained run a rinse cycle to rinse out the remaining vinegar and baking soda.

This works best for regular top loading washing machines. I have not tried it with high efficiency washers and have no idea how it might effect them so be cautious.

Also, if you have a fabric softener or bleach dispenser on your washer pour some of the water down them mid-cycle to clean them out as well. If you see black gunk floating in the water don't panic. This means you have done what you set out to do, remove what is causing the awful smell in your washer.

You may need to do this two or three times if you have had your washing machine for awhile or left more than one load sitting in it. Another thing I have found that helps cut down on odor is to keep the lid open while its not in use. This allows air to dry it out a little better than if you keep it closed.

This method of cleaning a washer is much more skin friendly and environmentally friendly than using bleach would be. I have also found it to work much better than bleach. It also keeps those mysterious bleach stains off of your nice towels that come from the bleach not being rinsed out as well as you thought it was.


  • steph

    Thank you so much for this.
    I actually do this quite often (sorry to say!) and was just thinking about how i could clean the smell out.

  • JJ

    Has anyone tried this with front loader/ H.E. machines? Sadly my hubby's in charge of laundry during the weekend on weekends there's been WAY to many times he's left it in there. And suggestions?

  • Bobbi

    I am most interested in your comments.

  • 3 Comments / 1 Pages

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