I’m embarrassed to admit that my washing machine was way overdue for a cleaning. Like disgustingly overdue. So I figured I would share with you all how to clean a washing machine with vinegar today. That way, if you need to clean yours too, you will have all the knowledge and info to do so as well!
And since it is the new year, I am all about cleaning and organizing. This is definitely a great item to mark off of the cleaning to-do list! And it helps get rid of any bad smells and it is the best way to clean clothes every single time you use your washing machine as well!
Cleaning your washing machine with vinegar is a straightforward process that helps eliminate residues, mold, and odors. It doesn’t take much time and effort at all so that’s always a plus! Keep on reading for a step-by-step guide below!
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Steps To Clean Washing Machine With Vinegar:
- Prepare the machine: Make sure the washing machine is empty. Remove any clothes or items from the drum. For reference, I have a top-loading machine, but all this info below can be used for front-load washers too!
- Prepare the vinegar solution: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a measuring cup or bowl. For a standard-sized washing machine, around 2 cups (500ml) of vinegar is a good starting point. I used two cups of vinegar for my washing machine too.
- Run a wash cycle: Pour the vinegar solution into the detergent compartment or directly into the drum. I poured it into the detergent dispenser. Set the machine to its hottest water setting. If possible, choose the longest cycle. This will allow the vinegar to thoroughly clean the internal components.
- Pause the cycle: Once the machine is filled with water and agitation has begun, pause the cleaning cycle for about an hour. This pause allows the vinegar to work on loosening residues and build-up. It’s best to let it soak like this for awhile!
- Scrub the nooks and crannies: Dip a microfiber cloth or sponge in the vinegar solution and wipe down the rubber gasket around the door. Use an old toothbrush dipped in the solution to scrub any mold or grime in the hard-to-reach areas.
- Restart and complete the cycle: After the hour is up, resume the cycle and let it complete. The agitation and hot water will help rinse away loosened residues.
- Optional baking soda rinse: For an extra cleaning boost and to remove any lingering odors, you can add a cup of baking soda inside of the machine to a new wash cycle and run it without any clothes. This step is entirely optional, but also works wonders! It also helps reduce any detergent residue inside your machine as well.
- Final wipe down: Once the cycle is complete, use a clean, damp cleaning rag to wipe down the soap scum from drum, door, and detergent compartments.
- Air it out: Leave the door open for a while after completing the cleaning process to allow the washing machine to air dry completely.
Regularly cleaning your washing machine with vinegar helps maintain its efficiency and prevents unpleasant odors. Aim to clean it every few months or more frequently if you notice any buildup or odor issues.
Is It Better To Clean Washing Machine With Bleach Or Vinegar?
Both bleach and vinegar are effective for cleaning a washing machine, but they serve different purposes and have distinct advantages:
- Disinfectant: Bleach is a powerful disinfectant that kills bacteria, viruses, and mold effectively.
- Whitening: It can help whiten and brighten the interior of the machine and remove stubborn stains.
- Odor removal: Bleach is excellent for eliminating strong odors.
- Natural cleaner: Vinegar is a natural and safer alternative to harsh chemicals like bleach.
- Limescale removal: It’s particularly useful for breaking down limescale and mineral deposits.
- Odor neutralizer: Vinegar helps eliminate mildew and musty smells.
- Gentler on some components: It’s less harsh on certain machine parts compared to bleach.
Which is better depends on your needs:
- For disinfecting: If you’re primarily concerned about disinfecting and killing germs, especially if there have been issues with bacterial growth or illness in your household, bleach might be a better choice due to its strong disinfecting properties.
- For regular maintenance: Vinegar is great for routine cleaning to remove buildup, limescale, and odors without being as harsh as bleach. It’s a good choice for general maintenance and odor control.
- Ventilation: Both bleach and vinegar produce fumes. Ensure good ventilation when using these products in your washing machine.
- Compatibility: Check your washing machine’s manual to ensure compatibility with either cleaning agent. Some machines may have specific instructions or warnings against using certain chemicals.
Combining both: Some people opt to use a combination of cups of bleach and vinegar in separate cleaning cycles to maximize the benefits of both. For example, one cycle with bleach for disinfecting, followed by a cycle with vinegar to remove residue and odors.
Remember to rinse the machine thoroughly after using either bleach or vinegar to avoid any residual effects on clothes during subsequent wash cycles. Ultimately, the choice between bleach and vinegar depends on your cleaning goals and any specific concerns you might have about your washing machine.
Is It Necessary to Deep Clean a Washing Machine?
Deep cleaning your washing machine isn’t required as frequently as regular maintenance, but it’s beneficial to do occasionally, especially if you notice any of the following:
- Odors: If your washing machine develops a musty or mildew smell, a deep clean can help eliminate it.
- Visible mold or buildup: If you see mold or residue in the rubber seals, detergent compartments, or drum, a thorough cleaning is necessary.
- Reduced performance: If your clothes aren’t coming out as clean as they used to or you notice stains that weren’t there before, it might be time for a deep clean.
- Hard water issues: Limescale and mineral deposits from hard water can accumulate over time, affecting the machine’s efficiency. Deep cleaning can address this.
Regular maintenance, like wiping down the drum and seals after each use, leaving the door open between cycles to allow air to circulate, and using the appropriate amount of detergent, goes a long way in preventing the need for frequent deep cleaning.
However, performing a deep clean every few months or when you notice any of these issues can help maintain the machine’s performance, prevent odors, and prolong its lifespan. Using vinegar or bleach for these occasional deep cleans can be very effective in eliminating residues, limescale, and odors.
DIY Bleach Alternative
Another good idea when it comes to washing and cleaning clothes is to create your own chlorine bleach alternative. Especially if you prefer more natural ingredients rather than harsh chemicals. And you would be surprised at just how easy it is to make!
All you need is just two simple household ingredients and that’s it! Just combine 4 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide with a few drops of citrus essential oils. You could also use lemon essential oil for this as well.
Mix it all together and then add it into your bleach dispenser as you normally would. Then, throw your load of laundry into the washer drum and do a nice hot wash. I like to do this for all my bedding, especially since it is white. So this is a great way to keep them nice and bright looking using more natural cleaning agents too!
Other Cleaning Hacks
Like I mentioned above, my dirty washing machine was in desperate need of a good scrub down. Not only the inside of the drum, but the outside areas, the control panel, rubber seal, door gasket, and the fabric softer dispenser/detergent drawer as well.
I used a spray bottle filled with glass and window cleaner to clean the outside lid of my top-loading washing machine too. There were also little nooks and crannies that were hard to clean, so I just used a Q-Tip to get into those pesky, hard to reach areas.
After a good scrub down, my laundry room was looking much, much better. All of this information above is a great way to get your washing machines and your laundry room in tip top shape!
And now is the perfect time to do so since it is the New Year. I always love to start the New Year off with some cleaning and organizing hacks. And if you’re looking for more ideas just like that, be sure to check out my post on how to organize your pantry as well!