A Guide to Cleaning Your Washing Machine & Eliminating Smells

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A Guide to Cleaning Your Washing Machine & Eliminating Smells

From built-up soap scum to offensive smells, over time your washing machine can accumulate dirt and bacteria. In this article, we’ll explore how to thoroughly clean your washing machine to ensure you get the most out of your washes. 

So keep reading as we show you how to end up with a fresh-smelling load of laundry every time and beat your washing machine woes for good…

Why regular cleaning of your washing machine is mandatory?

Washing machines are one of the most frequently used household appliances. However, as they focus on cleaning and disinfecting your clothes, it can be easy to forget that your washing machine needs regular cleaning too. 

Not only does regular cleaning help to banish mould and damp odour, but it can also help to prevent your washing machine from breaking down or becoming inefficient. So, how do you know when it’s time to clean the machine, and how often should you do it? Signs your washing machine needs cleaning include:

  • A damp smell coming from the drum
  • Build up scum around the machine and draws
  • Excess fluff or dirt in the machine
  • Clothes coming out smelling damp or with marks
  • Any visible areas of limescale 

Aim to clean your washing machine whenever you notice these signs, band it’s also worth cleaning the drum every few months to keep bacteria at bay. Otherwise, for the rest of the machine, add it to your cleaning schedule for a weekly check and disinfection. 

Cleaning the drum using a hot cycle

Most of the time, you won’t be able to see the dirt and bacteria that build up in the drum itself, it may even appear sparkling clean upon inspection. However, don’t be fooled – the drum is full of tiny holes and crevices that can harbour bacteria, scum and dirt. 

An easy way to combat this is to run a bi-monthly wash whilst the machine is empty. Set it for a hot, 60-degree cycle and add your detergent directly into the drum. Let the cycle do its magic, and the inside of your machine will smell fresh whilst helping to prevent dirt and bacteria build-up over time. 

Cleaning the detergent draws

Many of us overlook the detergent draws when it comes to cleaning the washing machine, after all, what does it matter if extra cleaning fluid or powder builds up? Well, these small, damp drawers are a haven for bacteria and mould. As your detergent goes directly into the drawers, it can pull through all of this build-up into your fresh batch of laundry. 

Luckily, the drawers are one of the easiest parts of the machine to clean. Remove the drawers and clean them with a mild household spray alongside warm water whilst wearing gloves. It’s also worth cleaning the space that holds the drawer to ensure the entire area is free from dirt.

Emptying the filter

If you’ve got kids, you’ll understand the importance of the filter on a washing machine. Whether its coins, lint, tissue or even small plastic figurines, the filter of your machine protects itself from all manner of forgotten pocket belongings. 

Just like the filter in a dishwasher, it also needs regular attention to keep things flowing, prevent bacteria build-up and even mechanical issues. Emptying the filter can get a little messy, so put some old towels down on the floor and keep a container at the ready.

The location of the debris filter varies from machine to machine, so check your user manual if you’re unsure. In general, however, it can usually be found along the lower edge of the machine. Unplug the filter and let any water drain into your container, and you’ll see dirt, debris and scum released along with the fluid. 

Don’t forget the seals

Whilst the outside of your machine’s door seals may appear clean, they have multiple creases and crevices in which bacteria can build up over time. They’re also a common culprit of that unpleasant, damp smell that can hit you when you open the machine door.

The best way to combat this and prevent mould from developing is to wipe it down with a damp cloth after each machine use or on a daily basis. You’ll also see debris build up here too, such as pocket lint and dust, which is especially important to remove as it can cause mechanical issues and reduce the lifetime of your machine. 

Your fresh washing brushes against these seals each time you remove a load from the machine, so to ensure your clothes stay fresh and free from marks, make seal cleaning a part of your regular schedule.

Air the machine 

A washing machine creates the perfect environment for bacteria, mould and dampness, due to the humidity and temperature. One of the easiest ways to prevent nasties from building up is to leave the machine door open in between washes to allow for air circulation. 

Now you know how to thoroughly clean your washing machine, extending its lifespan and guaranteeing a fresh-smelling load with each wash. 

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