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This Is The Right Way How To Clean The Washer And Dryer

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Inside: Cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing the washer and dryer should be done monthly. Find out the proper method behind how to clean the washer and dryer to maintain the life of your machine and your clothes.

As a homemaker, part of our duties is to ensure all areas of our homes are clean; however, there’s always one area we either tend to forget to clean or never realize it needs to be clean.

Cleaning the washing machine is one of those tasks that most of us never realized needed to be cleaned and sanitized. Perhaps it’s due to the fact there’s always some sort of cleaning agent and bleach in the machine, we don’t even consider it’s something that needs to be cleaned.

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Not that I’m trying to give you one more job to do, but this cleaning task, is pretty simple to perform and you only need to do it every month.

With that said, let’s learn how to clean, disinfect, and sanitize our washing machines and dryers with, and without bleach.

NOTE: Always make sure there are no clothes in the washing machine or during the cleaning process.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Disinfecting uses chemicals to kill germs on surfaces and objects (household bleach), whereas sanitizing means you’re lowering the number of germs to a safe level (white distilled household vinegar).

Although white distilled household vinegar does have some disinfecting properties, per the CDC, it should never be relied on 100% as a disinfectant, as it can only kill E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes, which are all foodborne illnesses. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hasn’t registered vinegar as a disinfectant.

If you’re looking to disinfect your washer and dryer, you’ll want to use bleach.

Why it’s necessary to clean the washing machine and dryer?

Your washing machine is a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. I know, you’re probably wondering how that can be since you use some sort of cleaning agent every time you run the washing machine.

The reason for cleaning the washing machine is to:

  • Make it run more efficiently, by removing the soap residue, minerals, and chemicals your laundry detergent left behind.
  • Dirt, mold, and mildew can thrive in the washing machine lid and the door.
  • It allows your water to reach its optimal temperature to ensure your clothes are cleaned properly, by optimizing the strength of the laundry soap. The hotter the water, the better the laundry detergent works.

This is how you clean the washing machine with bleach

Bleach is the best disinfectant you can use, as it kills 99.9% of all germs including bacteria, fungi, and viruses including influenza.

Household bleach is the recommended choice by appliance manufactures to use to clean your washing machine due to its powerful disinfecting properties.

1. Set your washing machine to hot water on the largest load setting.

2. Add 1 cup of household bleach to the water.

3. Allow your washing machine to run through its full cycle, using a hot water rinse.

4. While the washing machine drum is soaking, take this opportunity to clean the exterior of the washing machine.

5. Once the water has completely drained from the washing machine, you’ll want to inspect the interior of the lid, and clean out any residual dirt that may be stuck in the corners of the lid.

6. If your washing machine has a fabric softener or bleach dispenser, you’ll want to clean that out with a ¼ cup of household bleach to 4 cups of water, using a clean microfiber cloth. If you’re unable to reach an area with the cloth, use a soft nylon-bristled brush (a used toothbrush works fine for this as well).

7. Run the washing machine again for a full cycle using hot water on the largest load setting. You’ll want to do this to ensure all of the bleach has been removed from the drum.

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This is how you clean the washing machine with vinegar

Although it’s strongly recommended by washing machine manufacturers to not use vinegar in a washing machine, due to its acidity levels, a lot of homemakers opt to use it, as vinegar works wonderfully as a sanitizer. Excessive use of vinegar in your washing machine can harm its rubber parts.

If you’re “anti-bleach” and you chose to use vinegar to sanitize your washing machine, please do so sparingly.

1. Set your washing machine to hot water on the largest load setting. Once the machine starts to agitate, add 4 cups of white distilled vinegar to the drum.

2. After the water is agitated for three-to-four minutes, add ½ cup of baking soda. Continue with the agitation process for three minutes. This will allow the baking soda to mix with the vinegar and water.

3. After 3 minutes, turn off the washing machine and let the water, vinegar, and baking soda sit for 7 minutes.

4. While the washing machine drum is soaking, take this opportunity to clean the exterior of the washing machine.

5. At this point, you’ll want to finish off the washing cycle, with a hot water rinse. Once the cycle has completed, and the water has drained out, you’ll want to rerun the machine, this time with nothing other than hot water on the largest load setting.

The reason behind running the machine again is to ensure all the baking soda and vinegar have been removed.

Heat alone won’t kill the bacteria in the dryer

A dryer will typically reach a heat index of 125°F to 135°F, or 51°C to 57°C. Since the boiling point of water is 212°F or 100°C, the dryer is not capable of heating the water in the clothes to the boiling point. Instead, the heating element of the dryer warms the water in your clothes and turns it into vapor to dry your clothes.

First things first – Cleaning out the lint trap

If you’re not already in the habit of doing so, you’ll want to start cleaning out the lint trap after every use.

1. Remove the lint from the screening with your fingers. For tough stuck on lint, use the lint you’ve already removed from the screen to pick up the stuck on lint. This may seem counter-productive, but the lint acts as a magnet and it will make cleanup quicker.

2. Wet both sides of the lint trap screen with hot water.

3. While using a small amount of liquid dish soap and a soft nylon-bristled brush, gently scrub the screen. This should remove the buildup.

4. Rinse the lint screen with hot water.

5. Either let air dry or dry off with a clean microfiber towel. You don’t want to use a paper towel, as that will add lint and dust to the screen.

6. Using your vacuum cleaning wand, get down into the inside area where the lint trap lives, to get rid of any other pieces of lint.

Once you’ve cleaned out the lint trap, proceed with the following:

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This is how you clean the dryer with bleach

1. Mix ¼ cup of household bleach with 4 cups of water into a bucket.

2. While wearing protective gloves, dip a clean microfiber cloth into a small bucket. Rinse the cloth and wipe down the entire surface of the dryer drum, drum paddles, and the door of the dryer; especially around the seals and gaskets.

3. Using a new clean microfiber cloth, saturate it in plain water and wipe the entire contents of the dryer drum, drum paddles, and the door of the dryer; especially around the seals and gaskets. You may need to do this several times to remove the residual bleach.

4. Saturate that microfiber cloth again with fresh clean water and place in the dryer. Run the dryer for 15 minutes on the highest setting. You will want to add some other clean towels or rags to the dryer to aid the dryer is heating up quicker and becoming more efficient.

5. Wipe down the exterior of the dryer with your favorite cleaning solution and paper towel.

This is how you clean the dryer without bleach

1. Using a moist microfiber towel that was soaked and rinsed out with vinegar and warm water, wipe out the base of the dryer’s drum, drum paddles, and the door of the dryer; especially around the seals and gaskets.

3. Using a new clean microfiber cloth, saturate it in plain water and wipe the entire contents of the dryer drum, drum paddles, and the door of the dryer; especially around the seals and gaskets.

4. Saturate that microfiber cloth again with fresh clean water and place in the dryer.  Run the dryer for 15 minutes on the highest setting. You will want to add some other clean towels or rags to the dryer to aid the dryer is heating up quicker and becoming more efficient.

5. Wipe down the exterior of the dryer with your favorite cleaning solution and paper towel.

Your turn

Will this be the first time you’re going to clean your washer and dryer, or is this something you do regularly? Share in a comment.

Stay Peachy!

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