How To Clean Your Washer and Dryer | Common Questions & Answers

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For the record, I am 36 years old. I am a grown-up woman. I’m married. I am a mother. I own a house. I run a business. Yet, when my Mom comes to my house, she always finds something that I’m not doing properly when it comes to cleaning. Case in point—the other day she was over helping me with something and pointed out that I hadn’t cleaned my washing machine filter… ever. This was a surprise to me, I thought I knew everything about cleaning my washer and dryer! Leave it to Mom to tell me that I forgot to do something. Well, I figured it out, and am now well versed on how to clean a washing machine filter. This got me thinking that it may be time to address some washer and dryer questions. We have a whole article on how to clean a washer and dryer, but there are some specific questions that we’ve received recently that I thought I would address.

My Washing Machine Smells

One of the biggest complaints that people have about their washer is that it smells. A great way to make sure that your machine doesn’t start to smell is to simply leave the soap tray and door open after each use. This simple will prevent moisture from being trapped inside your machine, which inevitably leads to mold and mildew. The damp and dark environment combined with soap residue is a breeding ground for bacteria, so simply leaving the door and tray open will solve this issue. Another great way to prevent odors is to wipe out the gasket with a microfiber cloth after each use.

My Clothes Aren’t Coming Out Clean

If you’re noticing that there are issues with your clothes in terms of them not looking clean, or there’s a smell that you just can’t get rid of, there might be an issue with your soap dispenser, or perhaps you’re using too much detergent. Ensure that you clean out the soap dispenser trays on the regular. These usually pop out and can simply be cleaned with vinegar and water. Again, it’s a damp dark environment, it’s got old soap in there, it’s a really good place for smelly things to happen, so you want to make sure you’re cleaning these. Now, the other thing to keep in mind is to be sure you’re using an appropriate amount of laundry detergent. A lot of us feel like, “Use a lot of soap, your stuff will get cleaner.” Well, in fact, if you use too much soap, it’ll either stay behind in the machine and your clothes won’t rinse thoroughly. This leftover soap leads to dinginess and mustiness in your garments. So, in short, it’s really important to make sure you’re using the right amount of laundry detergent to get the best possible wash.

How Do I Deep Clean The Washing Machine Drum?

Just like anything else in your home, appliances need TLC on a regular basis in order to work well. One of the things that a lot of companies have been doing is including a drum cleaning cycle so anytime you feel like your machine is a little dingy you can simply run this cycle. There are also tablets you can use for a deep clean of the drum (you can pick these up at most grocery stores). How frequently you should do this depends on how frequently you’re doing laundry. You’ll notice when your machine gets a little bit smelly or you can often see some residue left in there—either of these is a good indication for you to run one of these cycles or run through with a cleaning tablet.

How To Clean A Washing Machine Filter

If, even after you’ve done all the things that we’ve just talked about, you still notice that your clothes still aren’t coming out quite clean or there’s a lingering odor in there you may want to clean out your washing machine filter. I didn’t know it existed before a few weeks ago. I’ve done some studying and cleaned it out a few times now, so, I’m going to tell you how to clean it.

Step 1: Is to open the little door (generally located at the bottom left of the machine) and pull out the little hose. Uncap it and let it drain into a bucket. I had almost a gallon of water come out of mine. When it’s empty, replace the lid and slide the hose back in.

Step 2: Unscrew the filter and remove it. Clean with soap and water and a cleaning toothbrush if required. Replace.

That’s it! Pretty simple to do, but if you can clean away some dirt and debris it’s well worth the effort.

The Lint Trap

We all know we’re supposed to clean the lint traps in our dryer, and that’s about the size of dryer maintenance! If you don’t clean out that lint trap, over time lint will build up and can become a fire hazard. However, your dryer lint trap isn’t the only thing that needs to be cleaned! The housing where that lint trap sits, is another area that needs to be cleaned. There are specialty products available for this, but in most cases, you can use the oblong vacuum tool in there which will do the job adequately. Also, if you live in a condo, there is usually another lint trap in the ceiling just above the dryer that also needs to be cleaned out on the regular.

Exterior Washing Machine Cleaning

The exterior of your washing machine often needs a little love. More often than not you’ll notice (if you look close enough) that there’s product buildup on the front of the machine and the floor below the soap dispenser. I’ve certainly spilled my fair share of soap. This gets cakey and gross and attracts a lot of dust and debris. Quick solution: a microfiber cloth and a little bit of all-purpose cleaner. That will take care of any of the detergent or powder on your washer.

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.