Your washer and dryer work hard in your home – keeping linens, clothing, towels, and other necessities clean. Because they do work so hard for you, it is important that you keep them clean, so they will remain in the best possible condition for a very long time.
Your washing machine can harbor a number of germs, as well as mold and mildew if not properly cared for and cleaned regularly. Think about it, on those days when you do laundry and get so busy you forget to remove the laundry. Your washer suddenly becomes a safe harbor for growing mildew and mold. On top of that, you use your washing machine to clean items that are soiled with any number of items including bodily fluids, topical medication, lotions, cooking oils, foods, and more.
To prevent the growth of germs, bacteria, mold, and mildew, you need to clean and sanitize your machine monthly or more often if your or someone in your home is ill. To accomplish the task, simply run your washer for a complete cycle with the hot water setting which should reach 140 to 150°F. Some newer washers even offer a sanitizing cycle which ensures water temperatures reach well above 140°F. If you have an older machine and you aren’t sure your water will be hot enough to accomplish the job, add laundry disinfectant or chlorine bleach to safely disinfect and sanitize. On front loading washers, you will need to add the bleach/disinfectant into the dispenser. In top loading machines, you will allow the washer to fill, add the bleach/disinfectant, let it agitate for short period and then turn it off and let it soak for one hour. Once the soaking is complete, turn the washer back on to finish the cycle.
This method will keep your washer free of germs, mold, mildew, and even the oil and grease that can build up inside your machine. And for added boost to fight mold and mildew, when you aren’t using the washing machine, leave the door open to allow the inside to dry completely.
If you live an area with hard water, you know lime scale and other mineral deposits can damage your washer along with your plumbing. To remove these deposits and keep your machine operating smoothly, simply run your empty machine through the wash cycle with hot water and a cup of lemon juice, white vinegar, baking soda, or a commercially available solution designed to remove these deposits. In front loaders, mix the selected solution with water and add it to washer; for top loading machines simply fill with water and add the chosen solution.
Once you have the washer drum cleaned up, you should remove and clean parts like lint screens and soap dispensers, along with the inside of the door and the outer surfaces of your machine.
The best way to remember to clean your dryer is to do it every time you clean your washer. And while it doesn’t always need the same sanitizing and disinfecting as the washer, keeping the dryer clean means removing detergents and similar chemicals. To clean your dryer, use a solution of water and chlorine bleach or a commercial laundry sanitizing solution. Wearing your cleaning gloves, wipe using the solution with a clean cloth or sponge to clean the drum, the door, and the gaskets. Wipe again with water alone to remove any chemical residue remaining.
Always remember to clean your dryer’s lint screen after every load washed, and twice a year clean all the lint ventilation tubes.
Remember, your washer and dryer work hard for you and its up to you to keep them clean so they can do their job for years to come.