This is something you should do as often as you clean your dishwasher. But of course I know that you’re probably not going to do it any time soon. The last time I cleaned my dishwasher was when I made that post about it. I’ll probably do it again before we move, but that’s it. My washing machine? Well, I can state for the record that I have never cleaned it. Our old one was installed during the previous tenants’ reign in our apartment and I don’t think they cleaned it either. And then it died, so we inherited the one from the downstairs apartment, which is of equal age and has also been equally abused. Plus, the machine is literally right next to my front door, which means it gets all sorts of outside gunk stuck to it/in it, let alone the crap that comes out of my clothes (mostly dog hair, if we’re being honest).
Anyway, because we’re moving I figured I’d give it a bit of a scrub so the next set of tenants won’t have to deal with my leftover dirt. Prepare to be shocked at the sheer grossness of my machine. Just remember that I have a short hairy dog and the machine is next to a door to the outside on a busy, sooty street, so it’s not entirely my fault. I’m not that bad of a person, really.
Apartment Therapy, of course, has great instructions on how to clean a top-loading washing machine, so I’m going to follow their lead on this one. All you need is four simple items: baking soda, white vinegar (or bleach, if you prefer), a soft flannel cloth or microfibre cloth, and an old toothbrush.
Set the washer to fill at the largest volume, the longest setting, and the hottest water, and turn it on with the lid open. Pour in 1L (~1 quart, 4 cups) white vinegar.
While it’s filling, pop off any of the attachments that can easily be removed. On this machine, that’s the bleach cup. Wipe off all the surfaces you can reach.
Chuck the attachments into the washer to soak.
The machine will continue to fill, and things will get pretty steamy. While that’s on the go, take your soft cloth, dip it in the vinegary water, and start wiping down everything you can still reach with the washer lid still open. For me that meant wiping down the interior of my dryer too, which is directly above. Rinse your cloth often in the washer water to prevent transferring lint to other surfaces.
Use the toothbrush to scrub harder-to-reach areas, like these dryer door holes.
And between the washer and dryer.
And don’t forget the crannies under the lid itself. Sorry for the steamy picture.
When the machine has filled completely it will stop. Haul out whatever you chucked in there and scrub it down.
Add 1 cup baking soda to the water.
Close the lid and let that fizzy water agitate itself for about a minute (wipe down the lid while you wait). Then open the lid again and leave that water to sit there for an hour. I know, a whole hour. But I’m sure you have other things to clean in the meantime.
When the hour is up, close the lid and let the machine complete its cycle. Use your soft cloth to wipe down the interior of the drum to remove any residue left behind, and run the cycle again with just water this time to flush out anything else.
And now it’s clean. Way to go! Final tip: If you leave the lid open to allow the washer to dry between uses you can avoid mould and mildew build up too!