Tips for Cleaning and Removing Funk from a Washing Machine

Does the inside of your washing machine smell like dirty feet or something worse? If so, have no fear. Based on my experience, the problem can be rectified fairly easily. Here’s how:

Focus on the Inserts

If your washing machine has them, start by removing and cleaning the fabric softener and bleach inserts. I have found that sometimes they can harbor unpleasant gunk and odors. In my experience, the best way to clean them is to use hot water, a dish brush and an anti-bacterial dish detergent.

Vacuum the Interior

Next, bust out your vacuum cleaner and its attachments. Then use it to carefully vacuum out the inside of your washing machine’s tub. I have found that doing so will help to remove any loose dirt that may be lurking around inside the machine. When I vacuum out my washing machine, I typically use the soft bristle attachment. That way, I am less apt to accidentally scratch the tub’s surface.

Remove the Tub

Once that’s done, grab a copy of the owner’s manual that came with your washing machine. If you can’t find it, you can always try looking it up online. In my experience, many manufacturers’ post copies of their appliance manuals on the internet. At least I know that Kenmore and Maytag post their manuals online.

Afterward, following the manufacturer’s instructions, remove the washing machine’s tub. Then give the inside of the machine a good cleaning. I like using a mild, anti-bacterial dish detergent and water in such applications. Sometimes I’ll also use an old toothbrush and cotton swabs to clean the hard to reach spots. When you are done cleaning the tub, reinstall it.

Deodorize the Unit

Now that the inside of the machine has been cleaned, you may want to consider deodorizing it. I have found that one of the best ways to do that is to dump a cup of baking soda into the machine. Then run the machine through its rinse cycle until no traces of the baking soda remain. Of course if the baking soda doesn’t work, you could always invest in a special odor elimination product. There are several different companies that manufacture such products. Some of the brands available are Tide Washing Machine Cleaner and Affresh.

Personally, I prefer using the baking soda because it tends to be cheap and effective. For example, a 1 pound box of baking soda from a major retailer typically costs me $3 and will deodorize my washing machine three times. On the other hand, a 7.9 ounce container of Tide Washing Machine Cleaner generally retails for $6 and yields the same results. Thus, I save $3 by buying the baking soda.

Source: Personal Experience

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