How to Clean Your Washing Machine

Looks brand new!

Looks brand new!

Okay, this may seem a little off topic, but it really isn’t.

So, you know these food allergy kids are super-sensitive, and most FPIES Mama’s have to change their laundry detergent because of reactions? (Along with their body soap, shampoo, cleaning products, perfumes, makeup…you get the idea!)

We haven’t had to do that, because Zac has been just fine with what we’ve been using. A few years ago, I heard about homemade laundry soap and jumped on that bandwagon. I was on a mission to reduce the amount of chemicals my son was exposed to (this was back when Jed was a baby).

I’ve used my homemade laundry soap for 3 years now, and it works just fine! I keep some Tide around for especially gross things that need the detergent, but I think I’ve used it twice in three years. Most things just don’t need detergent.

However, one thing I noticed with using the homemade laundry soap is a disturbing “ring” around the agitator of my washing machine. That lovely grey ring also decided to eventually show up just about the height of the water level on the inside of the barrel, too.

It was gross, y’all.

Maybe the homemade laundry soap isn’t the culprit; maybe it was there before with nasty, chemical detergents, and I just didn’t notice. (Sorry to say, but I’m a lot more clean – and paranoid – since the kids came along!)

Either way, my washing machine was funky and I didn’t like it, but I didn’t really know what to do. I’d tried using dirty kitchen rags when I was filling the machine to scrub the ickies away, but it never made a dent.

I’d resigned myself to either accepting the funk, or finding the time to get in there with some heavy duty spray cleaners to scrub the funk away. Fortunately, I was saved from either fate by Pinterest!

Why it never occurred to me to Google this problem, I’ll never know (except, of course, for the fact that I’m up to my eyeballs in problems far greater than a little washing machine grime), but I found an awesome pin on Pinterest, read Jillee’s post, and decided to give it a shot.

It worked!

It’s so simple, I can’t believe how easy it was, and my washing machine looks brand spanking new!

I didn’t take pictures of the before or during, because, well, ew, who wants to have a photo of their gross washing machine and also, I didn’t originally think “I need to blog this!” So you’ll have to use your imagination for how nasty it was to start.

Jillee’s post has great pictures from beginning to end, though, so feel free to just assume my machine looked about like hers did to start. (She also has WAY more detailed instructions and information – you should go read what she wrote! I just wanted to show you my attempts at it and share the highlights of what to do.)

Here’s what you’ll do:

Turn your machine on to the hottest water cycle, and the largest load it allows. Let the machine fill with hot water, then add 1 quart of bleach.

Let it agitate for about a minute, then stop the agitation and close the lid. Let it sit for one hour. Then turn the machine on again and let it complete the cycle.

When I came back after the hour was up, I was disappointed – it didn’t look like it had made a dent in the funk! Since I was so impatient that I didn’t want to wait for Step 2, I grabbed an unused, brand new toilet cleaner brush and gave it a quick scrub to see if that would help. Lo and behold, the grime came RIGHT OFF! It took about 3 minutes of gentle scrubbing and I saw bright white begin peeking it’s way through. Sweet!

So I started the machine up and let it finish, then moved on to Step 2. Repeat everything from Step 1, except this time pour in 1 quart of vinegar instead of bleach.

I grabbed a washcloth, dipped it in the vinegar water, and used that to wipe down all the surfaces, nooks and crannies in the washing machine.

The end result? A machine that looks like new – NO grey funky ring!




The "before" was nasty, I promise!

The “before” was nasty, I promise!

I read that you should do this twice a year, but with three humans of the male variety soiling my laundry (and making God-awful messes to clean up) I think I’d better make this a quarterly project.

Have you ever cleaned your washing machine? What technique did you use?

Tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How to Clean Your Washing Machine

  1. Pingback: Frugal Fridays – Homemade Laundry Soap - Cradle Rocking Mama

Comments are love! Tell me what you're thinking!