Wash Your Washer

Staying home more often than usual means you’re probably using your appliances nonstop. And that means you need to clean them more often.

Don’t overlook the appliances that aren’t in the kitchen.

It seems like your clothes washer would be a self-cleaning machine because it’s used for cleaning. But the more you use it, the more it needs a good scrubbing to get rid of built-up detergent and ward off mold.

Here are a few pre-spring cleaning tips for the laundry room:

Top-loading washers: Built-up detergent and fabric softeners can clog the machine if you don’t remove it regularly. To do that, remove the dispensers for those liquids and scrub them with soap, water and a non-scratch sponge. Then, fill the washer with hot water and add a cup of bleach. Let it sit for an hour before running a full wash cycle—with an empty tub. Then, fill it again, and this time add a cup of white vinegar and run a full wash cycle again. Finally, run a wash cycle with nothing but hot water.

For your first load of laundry after you clean the tub, wash whites only in case any residual bleach is still in the washer.

Front-loading washers: Get rid of mold and grime that get trapped in the door seal. Use a toothbrush and a solution of eight or nine cups of water and one cup of bleach to scrub the seal. Then, clean the tub the same way you would sanitize a top-loader, above.

Don’t forget about your dishwasher, too. Many people do not realize that newer dishwashers have filters that should be cleaned manually. Be sure to remove and clean the filter monthly of food particles and grease buildup that cause bad smells in your dishwasher. Clean debris away from the filter, then twist filter to remove (or consult your manufacturer’s guide). Scrub the filter with a soft brush or cloth under hot water until clean; then replace filter.

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