Is your washing machine starting to smell a bit musty and you’re starting to see mould or mildew form around the rubber door seal, it could be time to give it a clean. If you don’t, it’ll only get worse as time goes on. This is especially true if you wash the majority of your clothes at 40°C or less, as these temperatures aren’t enough to kill off bacteria in the drum.
Cleaning your washing machine isn’t something many people look forward to admittedly. It can be a bit gross and smelly, if we’re being honest. That’s why we’ve put together the following guide to get you through with a minimum of fuss and hassle – though you can always retire your machine and trust your laundry to Laundrapp, if you prefer.
1 – Try a Service Wash
The easiest way to kill most bacteria is with a blast of very hot water. Most modern washing machines actually include a special drum-cleaning cycle for exactly this purpose, but if you’ve got an older machine then you can’t get around this by running an empty washing machine on the hottest setting. Most manufacturers advise you should do this at least once a month.
2 – Clean it by Hand
Here comes the unpleasant bit. The main places where bacteria grow inside a washing machine are around the filter and rubber door seal, where they can build up visibly if not treated. Leave it too long and the mould will even permeate the rubber such that you need to replace the whole seal – but a bit of scrubbing will usually do the trick. Don’t forget the clean the drawer too.
3 – Use Bleach Instead
Don’t want to use your elbow grease? One of the simplest and most effective ways to clean a machine is to pour two cups of bleach into the drawer and give it another hot wash. You’ll need to clean the detergent drawer before you do this, just to make sure the nasty chemicals don’t react badly with each other.
Once you’ve finished cleaning the washing machine it’s time to think about keeping it clean so you don’t need to go through the whole rigmarole again too soon. The easiest way to do that is simply to leave the washing machine door open when you’re not using it – that will allow air to circulate freely and stop the hot, wet conditions that moulds thrive in.
Then again, there are other options waiting if you’d prefer…