You had to know THIS was coming. Earlier this month I shared important information from a Mom/firefighter about how to give your dryer a tune-up, then last week I posted about cleaning your dishwasher.
Well, it’s a new week and today…by special request….I’m going to tell you how to clean your washing machine…specifically your high efficiency washing machine.
(Don’t worry you “LOW efficiency” washing machine owners — which includes yours truly — I will get to you soon.)
The reason I’m focusing on the HE washers today is because I had lunch with my niece Ashley last week and she was complaining about “smelly clothes” coming out of her HE washer. To be honest, I didn’t know much about HE washers except that they use less water and you usually wash with cold water, which required using a certain kind of low-sudsing detergent.
Well, after tonight, I feel like I could write a novel on the HE washer. :-) I have read dozens of online articles and I think I have a pretty good idea what Ashley’s problem is. Apparently it’s a VERY common one.
Since the HE washers use less water and energy (less HOT water)…detergent residue, dirt, mildew and minerals can build up inside the machine. This results in odors and laundry coming out less than clean.
There are some things you need to do each time you do a load of wash AND…you REALLY need to give your HE washer a good cleaning once a month! Fortunately, the machine will do most of the work for you!
- Begin by filling the washing machine with hot water on the largest load setting. Make sure there is no laundry in the washer.
- Add 2 cups of vinegar to the water to get rid of odor problems. (Most HE washers should have a “clean cycle” on it and you can add vinegar or bleach on that setting).
- Allow the washing machine to run through a complete wash and rinse cycle.
- Fill the washer a second time with hot water, also on the largest load setting.
- Add 2 cups of bleach to the water to help with stain removal.
- Again, allow the machine to run through a complete wash and rinse cycle.
- If all of the stains are removed, run an additional cycle without adding anything to the water. This will thoroughly rinse away any remaining residue.
- Remove the bleach dispenser and fabric softener dispenser and soak them in a bucket of warm water. When they have soaked long enough, remove them from the water, lay them on a towel, and spray them with an all-purpose spray cleaner. Wipe away any dirt with the towel.
- Dry the dispensers and return them to their original places in the machine.
- Finally, inspect the rubber door seal for mold and mildew. Pull back the seal to examine the hidden crevices. Mix 1 cup of liquid chlorine bleach with 1 gallon of warm water. Moisten a clean white cloth with the bleach water solution, then wipe down the seal to remove any mold and mildew. Allow the solution to remain on the seal for five minutes, then wipe down the door seal with a clean, dry white cloth.
Follow these steps and your HE washer should be in tip-top shape once again and the stinky smell gone. Just remember…you need to do it REGULARLY! (once a month at least).
To keep the “smellies” from coming back…do the following EACH time you do a load of clothes:
1. Leave the door open after washing and always take items out of the washer when not in use.
2. Wipe down the rubber seal and drum.
3. Take the soap/softener drawer out to dry.
These simple steps should keep your HE washer running efficiently AND clothes smelling fresh! (the best of both worlds!)