If you own a top-loading washing machine, this cleaning tip is for you!
Most people don't bother cleaning their washing machines because they assume it is being cleaned as it is washing their clothes. Think about this for a minute. Do you ever need to clean your shower or bathtub? Why? Aren't you just cleaning your body in there? In theory, it should always be clean, right? But it's not. Dirt and grime collects and even mold begins to grow. Like your bathtub, your washing machine does the same.
The process of cleaning your washing machine can take 2-3 hours, but the manual labor involved may only take 15-20 minutes.
Here is what you need:
2-3 cups of chlorine bleach
paper towels or a sponge you're willing to throw away when done
2-3 cups of cleaning vinegar (optional)
Step 1: Fill your washing machine all the way with hot water. Add 2 cups of bleach (3 if your washing machine is extra dirty). Allow the machine to agitate for a couple of minutes to mix the bleach in, then turn it off and let the bleach sit for about an hour.
As it sits, now is a good time to clean the dispensers and surrounding area of the machine (where the bleach and water cannot reach). The dispensers should twist or pop right off. I like to soak the dispensers in a bathroom sink in hot water and bleach.
After replacing the dispensers, set the machine for the longest and most heavy duty wash and spin cycle.
Step 2: Use a sponge or paper towels to scrub the agitator. Sometimes this needs a little bit of elbow grease to get clean. Then run a second cycle of hot water, this time with no bleach.
Optional Step: If your washing machine needs a little extra cleaning, in place of the second hot water load, add a vinegar wash cycle. Do the same thing as the bleach cycle, this time with vinegar. When you're done, run a hot water only cycle to get out any remaining bleach or vinegar.
You should clean your washing machine every 3-6 months, depending on your family size, husband's job situation, how often your children play in the dirt, etc. The more loads of laundry you do, the more frequently you'll want to clean the machine!
Another tip: My husband suggests that the first load of laundry to be washed after cleaning the machine with bleach are the whites, "just in case". Clothing is expensive, so I listen to his advice!