I know…It seems silly, right?! By washing clothes you’d think you are in turn washing your washer, but in truth, even the machine that gets the job done needs a nice washing and a little TLC. Think of how many cycles of washing it has done and all of the fabrics it has rinsed clean. It makes sense that it would need a good soaking session by itself every once in a while to get any residue or build-up washed away.
I had heard about cleaning your washing machine a while back and to be honest, I thought it was a good idea but didn’t see any urgency in trying it out. With how busy life can be you need to pick and choose your battles. We have an older non-HE washer and dryer set. I noticed with the past few loads of laundry that as I was pulling my freshly washed goods out to either hang up to dry or transfer over to the dryer and I could smell a musty smell. I have a really sensitive sniffer, so I thought I was just being over critical of my freshly washed clothes and that it was just a wet fabric smell. Nope. After a couple loads I realized my nose wasn’t lying. Gross. It was definitely time to wash my washer. Luckily, it’s super easy…I don’t know why I haven’t been doing this periodically to freshen it up. Oh well, now I know.
Washing Machine Cleaning Recipe
1 quart white vinegar
1 cup baking soda
20 drops eucalyptus oil
This recipe is for a non-HE top-loading washer. Gather all of your supplies and head to your washing machine. For settings, (I know they all are a little different, so you can choose something similar) choose the largest water filling setting, hot water, an extra rinse cycle, and heavy soiled. I then chose the regular wash cycle setting to wash with. Pour all of your ingredients into your wash and let it work away.
If you happen to have a washer in need of a major cleaning you might want to let the water fill up with your ingredients, but then keep the lid open for 15-20 minutes so it can soak first before it starts the actual wash cycle. You may need to do this cleaning process a couple of times if your washer is in bad shape, but no worries! It’s simple, non-toxic, and will leave you with a sparkly clean washer.
Detergents and softeners, especially ones with dyes or added perfumes, can leave extra grime in your washing machine, along with build up from dirty fabric. Another culprit for mold and mildew is damp laundry left overnight in the washer. All of that moister creates the perfect environment for stinky smells to thrive.
What can you do to keep your washer smelling fresh and clean?
- Once a month, run a cleaning cycle on your washing machine, or as needed.
- Don’t let wet clothes sit in your washer too long.
- Use only a small amount of natural detergent without dyes and synthetic perfumes. It’s better for you, the environment, and the washer.
- Leave the washer door open after cycles so it can dry out properly.
- Wipe out any visible residue as needed with a clean and reusable cloth to keep your washer in tip-top shape.
If you haven’t washed your washer before, no worries! I hadn’t either! This simple wash recipe and washer tips will have both your washer and clothing smelling fresh and clean. You can feel good about the ingredients you are using too, knowing that they are both effective cleaners and safe for you and the environment. I used eucalyptus for its nice clean scent, but also because of its anti-bacterial properties. Tea tree or lavender oil would be other essential oils that would work well for this too.
Do you routinely do a cleaning cycle with your washing machine?
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