When you throw your laundry into the wash, you expect your clothes to come out smelling clean and fresh, but have you ever pulled your clothes from the washer, given them a sniff, and noticed that they’re a bit…stinky?
Front-load washers are amazingly efficient, however, they tend to get a bit smelly over time. Thankfully, there’s a super easy fix.
Before we get to fixing your musty washing machine, it’s best to first understand why it’s happening in the first place. Front-loading washers have been shown to be far more energy-efficient than top-loading washers, however, it’s their efficiency that causes mildew to build up.
Front-loading washing machines only fill the bottom of the drum with water, versus their top-loading counterparts. The drum turns on a horizontal access and your clothes tumble through the water. Not only does this save you money, but it saves the environment too! The problem happens when they aren’t used properly.
Front-loading washers require energy efficient soap – it’s easier to rinse which is great since these machines use minimal water. However, if the wrong soap is used – the drum can get coated with soap scum.
Between the dampness and heat of the washing machine, over time, the soap scum becomes a haven and breeding ground for bacteria and mildew. Plus, all the debris and dirt from your clothing only becomes stuck in the build-up, never fully cleaning your clothes.
In addition to using the wrong soaps, the rubber seal around the door can trap dirt, soap, or lint which, over time, can create smells that are less than pleasant – smells that you certainly wouldn’t want on your clothing.
How do you get rid of that funky smell? All you’ll need are two ingredients.
- Baking soda
1. Forget bleach, baking soda is gentler. Bleach is great for cleaning and killing bacteria, however, it can be really harsh on your machinery. Instead, combine 1/4 cup baking soda with 1/4 cup water and add the mixture to the detergent container of the machine.
2. Time for the vinegar. After the baking soda mixture has been added, pour two cups of vinegar into the drum of the machine – run the cycle on ‘normal’ at high heat (no clothes, of course). At this point, the baking soda and vinegar will break up any grime and soap scum – it will also kill any mold.
3. Give it a scrub. If the cycle didn’t remove all of the mildew or soap scum, just wet a kitchen sponge with vinegar and water then give the stubborn spots a scrub. The machine should be sparkling!
Now that your washing machine is odor-free and clean as new, it’s important to keep it smelling fresh.
Instead of going through the above process every few months, try and maintain your fresh-smelling washing machine as best as possible.
1. Throw away any old detergents – and no liquid fabric softeners! It’s can’t be stressed any more that front-loading washing machines require energy-efficient soaps. Check your shelves, and toss any that don’t meet the machine’s standards. Oh, and liquid fabric softeners are always a no-no.
2. Keep moisture out. The soap scum is gone, so let’s keep it that way. As soon as your laundry cycle is done, remove your damp clothes right away. Afterward, be sure to leave the door open for a while so the drum can dry completely.
3. Watch the seal. The rubber gasket that forms the seal around the door is a primetime spot for bacteria growth. Wipe it down with vinegar and water on a sponge every few cycles.
With these few easy steps, your washing machine (and clothes!) will be smelling nice and fresh.
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Source: USA Today