How to Naturally Clean a Washing Machine

You may have seen products at the grocery store for cleaning your washing machine. Did you know that you need to clean your washing machine? You are probably thinking why would I clean my washing machine? Doesn’t IT do the cleaning? Well of course, but layers of laundry detergent and dirt can build up in the machine over each wash causing stale odors. Give your washer a monthly maintenance wash, and you can easily avoid those unwanted washer smells. (Proctor and Gamble, 2020) Where do you find the best products to use? The best way to clean a washing machine is use natural products that you already have. Look no further! Let us show you how to naturally clean a washing machine.

Why does the washing machine need to be cleaned?

There are many reasons that your washing machine needs a good cleaning. Soap and dirt build up in the washer creating grimy places over time. High Efficiency(HE) washing machines retain water in different parts of the machine. Since water use is low, there’s a tendency with some washers to not flush the soap and wash load residue properly, leaving damp accumulations within the washer, which can cause mildew to grow. (Mifflin, 2020) Dark places and water are the perfect conditions for bacteria and mold.  Many houses also have hard water. Hard water is water that has a high mineral content. Over time, the minerals in your water build up in the components of the washing machine making it less efficient.

How to clean the washing machine naturally

The Vinegar Wash

The first ingredient to use is something that you probably already have a container of in the kitchen, white vinegar! Vinegar will help to disinfect, kill mold, and eliminate mildew. The acidity of the vinegar removes dirt and soap build up. It also helps to break down hard water mineral deposits. 

  1. Spray white vinegar onto the door seals and the gasket of the washing machine. Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe them down.
  2. Remove the tray dispenser and place it in a container of hot water and soap to soak. Scrub it with a soft brush or toothbrush to remove any stuck on residues. Rinse with clean water and replace in the machine. If you can’t remove the tray, pour some vinegar into it and scrub it with a soft brush or toothbrush.
  3. Place your washing machine on the largest capacity and highest heat settings.
  4.  Pour four cups of vinegar into the machine. Let the washing cycle run for a few minutes and then pause cycle for one hour to let it soak.
  5. Let the cycle run through. If you are worried about your clothes smelling like pickles, you can add a tablespoon of essential oils to the vinegar. For example, essential oils like: mint oil, tea tree oil, and lemon oil not only smell good but are also anti-microbial.
  6. Run an additional cycle with just hot water to rinse the washing machine thoroughly.





    The Baking Soda and Vinegar Wash

Baking soda is another common household ingredient, because it is good to use for so many things. Baking soda and vinegar combined cause a chemical reaction. The base or baking soda combined with the acid or vinegar create a fizzy reaction. This reaction can help break up any dirt, soap, or mineral build up.

  1. Wipe down the door seals and gasket with vinegar.
  2. Sprinkle a little bit of baking soda into the tray dispenser, and use a soft brush to scrub it out.
  3. Put your washing machine on the largest capacity and highest heat settings.
  4. Add four cups of vinegar and allow the machine to run for a couple of minutes. Then, add ½ cup of baking soda.
  5. Allow the washer to run through the entire cycle.
  6. Run an additional cycle with just hot water to rinse the machine.
  7. Wipe down the barrel and lid of the machine with a dry cloth.

The Baking Soda and Citric Acid Buildup Wash

Does your washing machine have heavy buildup? Maybe, you haven’t ever washed it. Citric acid is strong enough to break down lots of buildup. Adding in some baking soda will help kill any odors.

  1. Set your washing machine to the largest capacity and highest heat settings.
  2. Pour in one cup of citric acid and ½ cup of baking soda.
  3. Let the washing machine run through the whole cycle.

The Quick Baking Soda Deodorizing Wash

Maybe you don’t think the washing machine needs a deep clean right now. If that’s the case, you can run a cycle with just baking soda for a quick and easy freshen up.

  1. Set your washing machine to the warm and large capacity settings.
  2. Pour in one cup of baking soda. Let the washer agitate for a couple of minutes to fully dissolve the baking soda.
  3. Pause the cycle for at least thirty minutes to let the mixture soak.
  4. Run the rest of the washing cycle like normal.
  5. When the cycle is complete, you can open the lid to let the machine dry out.

The Hydrogen Peroxide Wash

If you want an alternative to baking soda and vinegar, try hydrogen peroxide.

  1. Set your washing machine to the largest capacity and highest heat settings.
  2. Pour in two cups of hydrogen peroxide.
  3. Let the solution sit overnight.
  4. In the morning, let the washing machine run through the whole cycle.

Maintaining a clean washing machine

Now that you have a sparkling clean washing machine, how do you keep it that way? Wipe down the outside and inside of your washing machine in between loads with a soft, dry cloth. Don’t leave loads of clothes sitting in the washer for longer than necessary. Keep the lid open after each wash. Keeping the lid ajar lets the machine dry out completely. Remember, mold and bacteria love damp and cool places!

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