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We explain why dirt builds up in your machine and then show you the easiest ways to clean your washing machine.
Best Washing Machine Lint Trap
Maybe you’ve never given much thought to how to clean your washing machine. After all, you would think that your washing machine would be one of the cleanest appliances in your home. With all that detergent in and clean clothes coming out, it means a washing machine is maintained at all times, right? Bad, unfortunately. The pipes, seals and crevices of your washing machine, which regularly receive water, dust and dirt, are actually a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. In addition to being unpleasant and wonderful, it can also be dangerous to your health if left unchecked.
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Read on and we’ll tell you how often you should wash your washing machine, how to investigate dirt and build-up problems, and of course, how to deal with deposits when you find them. At the bottom of the page, we’ll also list the best dishwasher cleaning products to accomplish this task and make things a little easier.
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Do you remember why you had to wash your clothes in the first place? Exactly. All the dirt that comes off your clothes (especially cake dirt) has to go somewhere, and it’s not all down the drain: the washing machine offers plenty of nooks and crannies for bacteria to find a home. In addition, detergent residues can build up in drums and dust compartments, and damp areas are always a risk for mold growth.
If you don’t wash your washing machine regularly, there are also health risks to consider, especially if most of the washing is done at a relatively low temperature, say 40 degrees or less. For example, you may be exposed to bacteria such as E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus.
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Also, the use of liquid detergents and fabric softeners can cause sticky wax to form on the inside of the washing machine drum, again, a bigger problem when machines are used especially at low temperatures.
Finally, people who live in hard water areas run the risk of limescale build-up, reducing the machine’s efficiency and working life.
Ideally, about once a month. If at any time your washing machine begins to hide mold or unpleasant odors, it is a sure sign that it needs to be cleaned immediately.
Yes, as some manufacturers recommend using certain products on machines, it could void your warranty. Some manufacturers recommend using a specific drum wash cycle (sometimes called a service wash) to clean your washing machine.
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Use a dedicated laundry detergent or mix a quarter cup of baking soda and the same amount of water in a small bowl or pitcher. Put this in the detergent container – along with a cup of white vinegar in the drum – and then run the machine on a hot wash or a special wash (if the manual recommends it). Baking soda and vinegar will dissolve mineral deposits and natural mold growth, as well as clean and freshen your washer. Likewise, a dedicated washing machine will have all the components needed to clean your machine. If there is still an unpleasant odor at the end of the cycle, repeat the process (this is not necessary with a dedicated cleaner).
If you need to clean your detergent containers more thoroughly, carefully take them out (check your manual for instructions if necessary) and wash them in hot, soapy water, using a clean toothbrush to remove any debris or mold. Then wash and dry thoroughly before putting in the machine.
Finally, clean the rubber seals, digging deep into the grooves. If the mold is stubborn, use equal parts hot water and vinegar to clean it using a cloth.
You should clean the filters regularly. For more information on how to do this, check out our complete guide to washing your washing machine filters.
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Use a dedicated laundry detergent or mix a quarter cup of baking soda and equal amounts of water in a small bowl or pitcher and pour into the machine, along with a cup of white vinegar. Then run the machine on a hot wash (special wash if recommended by the manual). Baking soda and vinegar will treat mineral deposits or mold while refreshing and disinfecting the interior. Needless to say, a dedicated washing machine will have all the components to do the same, and usually in one shot; we may need to repeat the process with our homemade formula.
If your fabric softener – or any other removable part – needs a more thorough cleaning, carefully remove it from the machine (check your manual for instructions) and wash it in hot, soapy water, using a clean toothbrush to remove it. any stubborn waste or mold. Wash and dry thoroughly before putting in the machine.
This means you have a partial blockage in the column, and you will need to use a drain unblocker to clear it. If it’s serious, you’ll need to call a professional repairman.
Hairy clothes and excess detergent will always cause you problems, but some tips can help reduce the effect:
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In hard water areas your washer will be especially vulnerable to limescale damage, which can lead to heater core corrosion as well as a convenient breeding ground for bacteria. Your best bet is to add water softener tablets to each wash and follow the hard water detergent dosing instructions. You can also buy degradable cleaning products.
The best products to clean your washing machine1. Calgon 3-in-1 Water Softener Tablets: The Best Washing Machine Cleaner
Price: £16 | Buy Now on Amazon Calgon is a long-time favorite for preventing scale build-up in washing machines and these tablets protect against residue and bad odours. Put one in every wash, no matter what type of fabric you’re washing, and every part of the washer should be as good as it would be in soft water. In some washing machines, some people find that the tablets don’t completely dissolve in a 40 degree (or lower) wash, although we haven’t encountered this problem. Fortunately, while Calgon isn’t cheap, there are gel and powder alternatives that go down easier at lower temperatures.
Calgon water softener tablets 3-in-1 l removes odors, limescale and residues | Deep cleansing l Units: 75 tablets l Size: XL package l
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Developed in conjunction with repair companies, this is marketed as a “virtual” service engineer, but does it have upside? Surprisingly, we think so. In fact, we’ve found that it outperforms other dedicated washer cleaners, especially machines with heavy odors. It is easy to use: you throw one of the two 100 ml bottles into the detergent drawer, and run it in a wash at 60 ℃. This is what the manufacturers suggest, however; We believe that the 90°C cycle gives better results. Each 2×100 ml package is suitable for two treatments, and you can also use it in the dishwasher.
Price: £11 (2pk) | If you see a partial blockage in the Buy Now on Amazon column, you’ll need to unblock your drains. Scotch Corporation’s Heavy Duty Liquid Opener would be our top recommendation, and really, other drain openers don’t come close. Be sure to leave it on the sleeve overnight for best results, and you should see the sleeve running completely free again the next wash, even the next morning. This product is one you can’t believe will work as well as it does, so you can save a fortune on professional repair bills. Even better, there is minimal mess and effort involved.
Water soluble tablets are another way to keep your washing machine limescale free. Unlike Calgon, you only need to use one tablet once a month (or once every three months in soft water areas) in a hot wash and it gently removes limescale from all key areas, including heating elements, pumps and pipes. The result? Your washer will work more efficiently and last longer. And if you want to double up, you can use these and Calgon as part of a cleaning routine, with Calgon cleaning every day and these to keep everything clean and running smoothly.
Price: £3.70 | Buy another product that claims to be as good as a Service from Sainsburys now, this one is particularly good at removing nasty detergent residue that builds up as well as unpleasant odors and lime scale. Do not use
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