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Washing machines, like any often-used appliances, need a good cleaning now and then. With the amount of dirt and dust that your washer deals with on a regular basis, it’s no surprise that dirt builds up inside as well. When your clothes come out smelling funky or weird, then it’s obviously time to clean your washing machine. Another indication is when you can detect a faint sulfur odor when you open your unit.
A funky-smelling washing machine is often caused by a build-up of dirt and mildew inside it. Hard water minerals and leftover detergent can also form residues inside the washing machine. These factors can contribute to your clothes smelling funky even after being washed. A good rule of thumb is to clean your washer every six months to avoid dealing with long term cleaning problems later on.
Vinegar and Baking Soda Method
The vinegar and baking soda method is the most commonly recommended in cleaning washing machines. One good thing about it is that these ingredients are already found in your pantry, so you don’t have to spend more! Some experts recommend using white cleaning vinegar, but any vinegar will do in a pinch. To use this method, you will need to mix ½ cup of baking soda and 1 quart (1 liter) of vinegar and set the water temperature to 90ºC (194ºF) on a long cycle.
The acidity of the vinegar will loosen buildup in your washing machines, such as mineral deposits from hard water or detergent residues. Baking soda on the other hand helps dissolve deposits in your washing machine, making it clean. An added advantage of this method is that it uses all-natural and safe ingredients!
Citric Acid Method
The citric acid method uses natural acids found in citruses to clean your washing machine. You can buy citric acid online or in your local supermarkets but note that it’s a much stronger acid than vinegar. Worry not however, as most citric acids are derived from citrus fruits, which make them natural and safe to use.
Because it’s much stronger, citric acid is especially helpful in removing tough buildup and scum inside your washing machine. To use this method, use 1 cup of citric acid. You can also add ½ cup of baking soda if you want to, but this is optional. Choose a long wash cycle and set the water temperature to 90ºC (194ºF).
Hydrogen Peroxide Method
Hydrogen Peroxide is a great all-around cleaner and it also has anti-bacterial properties. It also kills mold and removes limescale. Hydrogen Peroxide can seem intimidating to some, but it’s actually safe to use. It doesn’t produce toxic fumes unlike other commercial cleaners. It also doesn’t harm the environment like other commercial cleaners because hydrogen peroxide breaks down into oxygen and water after using it.
To apply, mix 1 liter (1 quart) of hydrogen peroxide with water at 90ºC (194ºF) on a long wash cycle. Take note however that hydrogen peroxide takes longer to work, so you might need to leave it around for three hours to work properly. This might not be so suitable for front-loading washing machines, so you might need to do it twice.
Chlorine Bleach Method
The main purpose of using chlorine bleach is to remove odors from your washing machine. However, chlorine bleach is toxic and cannot be mixed with other ingredients. To effectively do this, you have to use it either with warm or cold water as it is not effective at higher temperatures. Use 1 quart (1 liter) of chlorine bleach and set the maximum water temperature to 40 ºC (104 ºF).
There are different methods you can use to clean your washing machine. There are options available for a variety of problems, whether you are worried about the environmental impact or dealing with particularly stubborn buildup. With these different methods, you can choose which one fits your needs most.