Cleaning Your Washing Machine

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Chuck the attachments into the washer to soak.

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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.

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Use the toothbrush to scrub harder-to-reach areas, like these dryer door holes.

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And between the washer and dryer.

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And don’t forget the crannies under the lid itself. Sorry for the steamy picture.

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When the machine has filled completely it will stop. Haul out whatever you chucked in there and scrub it down.

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Add 1 cup baking soda to the water.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Laundry Loft Part One

My entryway is a mite crowded.  You have to stand up on the bottom step in order to open the door without interference.  I’m still amazed that we moved in all our furniture up that narrow flight of stairs.

This is also my laundry room, and I’m definitely feeling the lack of space.  You can see how the washing machine comes right to the door jamb.  I like to keep my potting soil and grass seed on top of the dryer.  That box of kleenex has been there since my parents visited in October 2008.

But if you look up, there’s so much space that I could be using.  Of course, I’m not ten feet tall so I’ll be limited in what I can do, but at the very least there needs to be a shelf up there.  I tried storing things like laundry detergent on top of the dryer, but the vibrations knock it to the floor within a day.  The potting soil has stayed there simply because it’s flat and heavy.  Anything else would be on the ground.

I’ll have to be careful of the fuse box, which you can see on the right side of the above picture.  The door of the box doesn’t open all the way because of the laundry.  Again, it’s a tight space.

The point of this particular project is to see if I can do it through scavenging alone.  I have a huge shed where my landlord’s contractor stores all his stuff.  I am determined that there are scraps in there good enough for what I’m intent on doing.

You’ll notice that the paint job in the entry way is the same horrible beige we eradicated throughout the rest of the house.   The ceilings are just too high for us to get the job done.

The plan is to lay a piece of wood so it sits about 6 inches above the top of the dryer and can be removed easily for maintenance purposes.  Because I don’t want large brackets to interfere with the dryer space I am going to prop the shelf on two pieces of wood that will be attached to the wall and will run flush to the wall along the depth of the shelf.  These will save me the space I need and will mean that I can just pop the shelf down whenever I need to.  I’ll put some small scraps running perpendicular to the wall-wood, just at the back, to prevent me from pushing the shelf backwards off its runner.

The shelf itself needn’t be super heavy duty.  All I plan to use it for is a repository for my one jug of detergent and maybe a box of Borax.  No biggie.

I need a piece of wood that is no less than 34″ (the width of the entryway).  This could be tricky.

Fortunately, Kª has volunteered the destruction of this changing table which is taking up space in the garage.As the both of us are of the school that the lower to the ground you change your baby the smaller the distance he can fall, this changing table is only gathering dust and mildew and Kª is thrilled that it can be repurposed to something else.

It looks like it’s a basic IKEA-style construction, so dismantling won’t be a big deal.  I measured and the long horizontal pieces of fibreboard are just barely 34″.  The vertical end pieces, however, are about 36″, so if I can cut the fibreboard carefully enough so it doesn’t splinter, then I can use those as well.  At least I have four different pieces of wood to screw up.

As for the ‘brackets’ that will hold up the shelf itself, I need two lengths of small-gauge board, preferably of a 2″ thickness, and about 14″ long.  There is a ton of that in the garage, and I’m sure it wouldn’t be missed.

These pieces are about twelve feet long.  The middle one is probably the ideal size for my job.  I’ll make use of it if my conscience doesn’t smite me.  I’m sure no one would miss it if I took two feet off it.  I had to unearth it from a dusty pile in order to put it on that rafter so I don’t think anyone will notice.

These pieces are less ideal.  They’re a bit narrow, thickness-wise.  I need something that the shelf can balance on securely that will distribute some of the weight.

These pieces are ones that I know nobody would mind me using, as they’re obviously remainders from other things (I used one of these to create the reinforcement on my fireplace door to keep out the mouse).  They’re even less ideal, being of varying lengths and thicknesses.  They are a last resort, for sure.  Although that little stack of squares might be useful to me.  I hadn’t seen those before in the scrap pile.  I’ll have to think about it.

Now I’m just being silly.  Though it might be interesting to see if I can make some outdoor pot stands and things from this stuff.  It’s not like any of the fireplaces in our house actually work.  What use is a whole wall of firewood?

Anyway, that’s the plan.  If I can get two days running of good weather I’ll start working on it.  In the mean time I need to pick myself up a stud finder and some nice long wood screws.  I will keep you posted.