We use our washing machines and dishwashers so often that we take their automatic cleaning powers for granted. We believe that since these machines are made to wipe away grime, that they can't possibly get dirty. You might begin to notice that your appliance isn't getting things as clean as it used to. That means you're seeing the first signs of a machine that needs some maintenance. Here are some tips to clean two machines that need a little TLC now and then to perform at their best.
How to Clean a Front-Loading Washing Machine
Front-loading machines have a rubber gasket in the front where dirt, water, minerals, and bacteria accumulate. Use a cloth sprayed with white vinegar to wipe down this inner membrane before you begin the process of cleaning the machine. It is often this area that needs to be wiped down weekly to remove this stiky residue and prevent lingering smells.
Once the gasket is clean, you'll want to clean the washer drum. Add two cups of white vinegar to the detergent dispenser, put the temperature setting to high, and put the capacity to its highest setting. After running through a complete cycle, add 1/2 cup baking soda to the washer drum, and repeat the again on high heat and capacity. When the second cycle is finished, wipe down the inside of the drum with a cloth.
How to Clean a Top-Loading Washing Machine
When cleaning a washing machine, you want to make sure to use the highest and hottest setting. Before the tub begins to fill, add four cups of white vinegar. After the cycle starts, pause the machine and let it stand for one hour. This will allow the vinegar/water mixture to break up sediment, oils and dirt from the washer drum.
Use this pause to dip a cloth into your vinegar water and wipe down the rest of the machine. Make sure to clean the detergent and bleach dispensers. After one hour has passed, restart and finish the cycle.
Follow this up with another high heat and high capacity cycle. This time, use one cup baking soda. No need to stop the cycle, just let it run the entire time. Wipe down the inside of machine once the cycle finishes.
For both types of machines, it helps to leave the front/top door open between cycles to prevent mold and mildew buildup.
How to Clean a Dishwasher
Begin by clearing any food particles that may be stuck to the drain, which is in the center of the machine's floor. Also look for food or plastic that may have caught on the heating coils and remove with a wet cloth.
Next, take a toothbrush dipped in white vinegar and scrub the area located beneath your silverware rack. This is a common place for old food, dirt, and leftover soap to congregate. If your silverware rack is attached to the door, remove it and scrub with soap and water in your sink.
Pour one cup of vinegar into a glass measuring cup, and place in the top rack of the empty machine. Run through a hot water cycle, which will break up dirt, stains, and mildew. No need to pause this one as you did with the washing machine; let this cycle go until it's finished.
Finally, sprinkle one cup of baking soda across the bottom of the dishwasher and run another hot water cycle.
By taking time to clean the machines that keep our lives tidy, you'll be ensuring a long life for these appliances. Additionally, you'll maximize the machine's cleaning power.