Tips on how to clean and maintain your top load washing machine
Have you ever left a load of laundry in the washer and forgot about it? I know I have! After doing that you may notice a lingering smell in your washer that just won’t seem to go away.
By following the instructions below you can not only take the smell away, but also leave your whole machine looking good!
To clean your washer you will need the following supplies:
• scrub brush
• cleaning cloth
• cotton swabs
• 4 cups (1 quart) regular bleach
• 4½ cups (1 quart + ½ cup) white vinegar
We will start by hand cleaning the machine. We know how lint, detergent and dust love to cling to the washer.
1.Mix 1 cup of hot water and ½ cup vinegar together.
2.Dampen a cloth in vinegar solution and wipe down all surfaces. You can use a cotton swab to get to those hard to reach areas.
3.Open the lid and wipe it down. Dirt and soap can splash up during the washing process, leaving the lid with a build up of grime. This is where the cotton swabs may also come in handy.
4.Remove any bleach and fabric softener dispensers (if applicable) and scrub with your scrub brush dipped in the vinegar solution. If you can not remove the dispensers, just use a cotton swab to get to those hard to reach areas.
5.Lastly, use your scrub brush to clean the agitator.
When you are done giving the washer a good scrub down, let’s make sure the inside is smelling its best.
1. Set your washer to hot, choose the largest load option and the longest wash setting. Also, if you have the option, run an extra rinse and spin cycle.
2.Let the washer fill with hot water, then add 4 cups bleach.
3. Allow the washer to agitate for 2 minutes, then turn the washer off and let it sit for 1 hour.
4.After an hour, turn the washer back on and let it run through the cycle.
5.When the first cycle has finished, turn the washer back on and fill with hot water once again.
6.Add 4 cups vinegar and allow the washer to agitate for 2 minutes, then turn the washer off and let it sit for 1 hour
7.After an hour, turn the washer back on and let it finish the cycle
When you’re all done you should have a beautiful looking, better smelling machine!
Front Load Washers
•First and foremost, ALWAYS make sure you are using detergent made for high-efficiency (HE) machines. Regular detergent produces more suds than HE detergents. Since the HE machine is using less water that the non-HE machine it is harder for those suds to be rinsed out of the drum. Over time, film will build up on the drum and hoses which can produce mold. Even worse, it could mechanically or electronically damage the machine. When shopping for HE detergent, you can generally find the label on the front of the detergent bottle. However, please be careful and take note of the bottles that read “HE compatible”. These may claim to be compatible but can still produce too many suds, which can lead to the same problems. Also, always remember to follow the directions and use the recommended amount in the machine. Adding more detergent does not mean cleaner clothes! In this case, less is more!
•When using liquid fabric softener, remember to use less than the recommended amount. One teaspoon will suffice for a whole load. This goes the same for bleach. Only one tablespoon is needed for concentrated bleach, or two tablespoons for regular.
•When you are not using your washer, always leave the door open. This helps improve air circulation and helps prevent any mold and mildew from forming.
•When a load of laundry is complete, make sure to remove the loads immediately. When damp clothes sit in the machine too long, it allows the mildew smell to form in your machine which can be very hard to get rid of.
•Make sure on a regular basis that you clean out the seal on the washer’s door. To do this, you can make a solution using equal parts of water and vinegar and wipe down the seal. For those hard to reach areas use a Q-tip. Make sure you remove any fabric, hair or debris (candy wrappers, receipts, or any other items we forget to remove from our pockets before washing). Also, make sure you wipe down the inside on the drum, as well.
•For those mildew smells you cant’s seem to get rid of, try pouring distilled white vinegar into the dispenser along with adding one cup of baking soda directly into the drum. Run your machine on the hot cycle, along with the extra rinse cycle.
•Lastly, make sure you are always using the appropriate spin speed for the load you are washing. Higher spin speeds eliminates excess water, which helps with the drying process. However, keep in mind that the higher speeds also means extra wear and tear on your machine, which can shorten the life span.
The Do's and Do Not's of Garbage Disposals!
-DO run your garbage disposal on a regular basis. By frequently using your disposal you are preventing rust, corrosion and assuring that all parts stay moving.
-DO use full flow of COLD water when disposing of food. Why cold water and not hot? It causes grease, fat, or oil that may be on food to solidify and can be chopped up before it reaches the trap.
-DO cut large items into small pieces before putting them into the disposal. Also, do not put too many pieces in at once.
-DO always keep you disposal clean. Frequently put a little dish soap inside and let the disposal run for a minute with cold water.
-DO NOT put glass, metal, plastic or paper into disposal.
-DO NOT put pasta, rice, or any other expandable food into the disposal. Potato peels, and large animal bones should not be put into disposal either.
-DO NOT put oil, fat or grease into. The grease will start to accumulate leaving the grinder unable to work to its full potential. Also, it can lead to clogged drains.
-DO NOT use HOT water! Hot water will liquefy any grease that may be on food which will cause a build up in the disposal.
-DO NOT turn off the disposal until grinding is fully complete. When the grinding is complete, turn off the garbage disposal first. Then, let your COLD water continue to run for at least 30 seconds allowing any left over particles to be flushed out.
Now that you know the do's and do not's lets learn about maintenance.
Did you know that ice is a great method for cleaning your disposal?
Ice not only cleans you garbage disposal but it also sharpens the blades as it cleans!! Simply toss a few cubes into the disposal and run it (remember to be running cold water at the same time). As the disposal runs, it chops the ice cubes which then sharpens the blades. The chips also scour all the hard to reach areas of the unit. Try and do this once to twice a month. This will help keep your disposal working its full potential.
One last thing before we end todays tip. Do you ever have that foul smell coming from your disposal? Have you tried everything and the smell still lingers?
Here are a couple natural methods that are not only good for the environment but are also inexpensive:
-Periodically take a lemon or orange and toss it into the disposal (again always running cold water). The oils and juice naturally clean the walls of the disposal and create a fresh smell.
-You can also freeze vinegar in ice cube trays. By putting these in the disposal you are keeping your blades sharp as explained earlier but the vinegar kills odor causing bacteria at the same time!
-For odors that may be a little harder to get rid of, pour baking soda into the drain and let set for several hours. Then run the disposal with cold water.
Do you have a dryer that seems to be taking forever to dry your clothes?
Are you having to run the dry cycle twice?
Well, here are a couple of things you can try:
First, what size loads are you putting into your dryer? Please ensure you are not overloading it. I know that seems as if it is simple enough but sometimes we do not realize that we have put in too large a load.
Second, after a load is done drying, open the door and check to see if it is warm inside the dryer,
If it is, most likely you have a lint build-up.
This can easily be cleared. You can go to the outside of your house and look for the vent. Usually, there will be a screen over it which prevents birds from coming in. When you find it, make sure that all lint is cleared from it. that This should probably be a weekly task to ensure that your dryer is working at its full potential! Also remember that if the vent is where you have to use a ladder to reach it, that you are always using proper safety precautions. We do not want to see anyone get hurt!