Cleaning Your Front Loading Washer

We love our new space age front loading washer and dryer. In fact, we refer to them as our spaceships. Ya, we’re dorks. They’re quiet, efficient and can pretty much do anything we want them to. Except make our coffee, but I’m convinced there’s a setting for that too and we just haven’t figured it out yet. We really got a deal on ours too because we bought the floor models at Home Depot.

There is one slight problem though… If you don’t proactively clean the washer, it will begin smelling! I learned this the hard way. There is a flaw in the construction. It’s the rubber seal around the door. It tends to retain water and detergent and in turn can get gunky and smelly. Gross! When I noticed the smell I started googling and realized there are cleaning detergents available for the purpose of getting rid of the yuck like this Tide one.

The problem with these is they didn’t work for me! And they just add more crap to the gunk buildup or at least seem too. Maybe if you’re proactive and use them before your washer starts smelling, it works. I’m not sure.

I knew there had to be a much cheaper and more thorough way to clean my washer. So after much searching and trial and error, I found a solution. Part of our problem is that we (more than once) forgot about a load of towels in the washer and they started to smell moldy. I didn’t want to throw them out but knew we couldn’t use them. I’m also not a big fan of using bleach so didn’t want to go that route. The following process not only worked for getting rid of the odor and gunk in the washing machine, it also prevented me from having to buy a whole new set of towels.  And all you need is vinegar and baking soda!

The following is how I cleaned the washer and it worked brilliantly. No more smell and no more gunk! Mix water in vinegar in equal parts.

The biggest problem area is the rubber seal around the door. Thoroughly wash it down with the vinegar water. Always take a paper towel after you are done with your wash and wipe it down to keep it from getting moldy.  We have dogs so dog hair will easily accumulate in this area if I don’t make sure it is always wiped down. Also, after washing, keep the door open so it can air out and dry.

Be sure to pull the rubber back and get into all of the crevices, wiping down every part.

Wipe down the drum. Although it may seem clean, it can still hold onto odor.

Clean out the filter at the bottom of the washer. This holds water so be careful when you unscrew it. Be prepared for water to go everywhere. I shoved a towel under mine and let slowly unscrewed it so the towel could soak up the water without the floor getting wet. Thoroughly clean this area and the filter with the vinegar water.

And finally, load the washer with your stinky towels, gym clothes or whatever else. Fill the softener dispenser with vinegar and place about 2 tablespoons of baking soda in the detergent dispenser and set your washer on it’s hottest setting. DO NOT add detergent. The hottest setting is so hot that it will actually kill any bacteria. You don’t have to have detergent to get the clothes clean. In fact, very hot water does a better job killing bacteria than detergent. Let it run it’s cycle then smell. No more odor!

Let me know how this works for you and please post any suggestions or other recommendations you have for cleaning your washer.

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