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Guide to cleaning your washing machine

Should You Clean Your Washing Machine?


Whether it’s written down on paper, or simply in our heads, we’ve all got our own personal cleaning schedule; but one vital task most of us forget to add to the list is cleaning the washing machine. The washing machine is one of those things – like a shower cubicle or bathroom sink – that we wrongly assume is self-cleaning. After all, all that water and detergent should leave the washing machine sparking and spotless, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way.


The drum of a washing machine can become clogged if not cared for correctly, and the external buttons and dials can start to stick if they become caked in dirt and grime. If you think your washing machine is well overdue for a thorough clean, here are some cleaning tips that will make your job much easier.


Bear in mind, however, that if you’re washing your garments incorrectly, a clean machine won’t necessarily translate to clean clothes – check the label of your detergent to ensure you’re using the right dosage, and if in doubt, check for more websites or blogs with cleaning tips online.



Internal Cleaning Tips


There are three main reasons why it’s a good idea to clean out the insides of your washing machine on a regular basis – here’s a rundown of each of the most common issues and how to deal with them:


  • To prevent the filters from becoming blocked.

If the drum’s filters are covered in a thick layer of lint, it can significantly reduce the ease with which the water is pumped from the machine, potentially leaving your clothes soaking in a dirty puddle. To clean your filters, first run your hand around the inside of the washing machine drum, removing any small pieces of damp paper that may have fallen out of your pockets. Next, open up your filter cover and remove any lint from the trap. The cover is usually found on the bottom right hand side of your machine. Cleaning the filters is simple, but it’s always worth checking your users manual to find out


  • To deal with bacteria, mites, and mould

Some modern laundry practices, while wonderfully energy saving, can leave our machines open to bacteria growth. These days, we’re encouraged to wash at lower temperatures to conserve energy, and with bleach-free detergents to limit the amount of highly toxic chemicals we use at home. Both are excellent pieces of advice, but they do create issues. Warm temperatures of 30 degrees can create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, while bleach-free detergents don’t wipe out mould the same way that bleach does. A warm wash will kill just 6 percent of dust mites on clothing, whereas a hot wash of 60 degrees will kill 100 percent, so run an empty hot wash each week to kill germs, mites, bacteria, and mould.


  • To Clean out Dyes

Heavily dyed clothing, such as dark jeans, can bleed colour in the washing machine – leaving a thin layer of dye covering the insides of the drum. This can also happen when you use fabric dye products applied in a machine wash. Dye residue can then be transferred to light-coloured clothes in a subsequent wash. To prevent this from happening, once again, you need to run a hot wash every week, and consider washing brand new dark clothes once with just a small dose of vinegar to minimize the amount of dye they bleed later.



External Cleaning Tips


It’s important to clean the outside of your washing machine for two reasons: firstly, because any dirt or grime can cause the buttons to stick, and secondly because a dirty washing machine just doesn’t look all that nice. Here’s how to clean efficiently using products you may already have at home:


  • Spray the outside of the washing machine with a disinfectant product, and leave for 5 minutes to soften any dirty marks or stubborn stains. If you regularly use the top of your machine to store damp or dirty clothing, then you may have noticed some stains and watermarks starting to appear. Wipe with a damp cloth, paying particular attention to the areas around the buttons and dials.


  • If you’re hoping to introduce homemade products to your cleaning arsenal, the washing machine is one place where baking soda works wonders. Apply a generous sprinkling of baking soda onto a damp cloth, and wipe all over the outside of the washing machine. While baking soda does not have the disinfectant power of a commercial cleaner, it is a mild abrasive, which means it will effortlessly remove any dirt and stains without damaging your machine.


It Couldn’t be Easier


It really is so simple to clean your washing machine, both inside and out, and the best part is that it takes practically no time at all. If we let dirt build up in the machine, it’s no wonder our clothes don’t come out of the wash completely clean – and it’s not always possible to tell. While garments may be stain-free and smell fresh, they could be covered in bacteria and mould spores, which may be detrimental to our health. Always stay on top of cleaning your washing machine, as it really is hugely important. After all, with these cleaning tips, you now know how!


January 2020
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