You wouldn't think you'd need to clean your washing machine, but you would be WRONG.
Yes, that is my washing machine. I never really thought about washing a washing machine until I started dating my now-husband. We'd been dating a few months when I thought, "Hey, what a nice gesture it would be to wash his mountain of laundry for him." I had no idea how nice a gesture it was, because y'all, he gets dirty. I mean, I knew he did. He works in construction, hunts, rides (well, rode) bulls, and fights fires. Obviously the man isn't afraid of dirt.
But when I take his clothes out of the hamper, there is a solid layer of red dirt left behind. And that's just what falls off his clothes in the hamper! Imagine how much stuff is in the washing machine.
Ok, I guess you don't have to imagine, huh? But the point of that story was to tell you that I now have to wash my washing machine on a regular basis. Like, every couple of months. The last time I did it was back on MLK Day when I was off work, but I can't always wait for a federal holiday to clean. So here's the scoop on how I turn that mess into a sparkling clean machine again.
My process was inspired by the blog One Good Thing by Jillee. Her post was great, but my washing machine needed more TLC than was outlined there. So I've come up with my own system. Because just running bleach and vinegar through the machine did not cut it.
See? So here's how I did it:
First, make sure you have a quart of bleach and a quart of white vinegar on hand, as well as an old toothbrush and a Magic Eraser. Ready? Ok, fill the washer with HOT water, then pour in a quart of bleach. Let sit for one minute, then agitate one minute, then let sit one hour before running a long cycle.
This time I used the hour the bleach was sitting to run a white rag over the edge of the machine. That's when I noticed how disgusting things really were in there. I dug out the old toothbrush and started trying to find the white underneath the dirt.
After the bleach cycle, repeat the hot cycle with a quart of vinegar.
I used this hour to go back over the machine with both the toothbrush and rag, but this time I actually thought to clean the area around the fabric softener dispenser. There was some serious coating on that sucker from when I used to use fabric softener, but the hot water and vinegar cleaned it up pretty well!
Now that you've gone through those steps, see what isn't quite clean yet. I noticed there was still some gunk hanging around on the sides. How could this washing machine really be so gross?! I had no idea, but just wiping a magic eraser around the machine got everything sparkling clean!
And now I know that my washing machine is finally clean. Of course, it won't stay that way long! I do try to keep it clean by periodically wiping down the barrel and various elements of the machine while it's filling up. It at least slows down the buildup, but I have to do this cleaning process every three months or so.
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