The Great Appliance Clean-Up: How to Clean Your Washer and Dryer

Last week we started our Great Appliance Clean-Up with How to Clean Your Dishwasher. In honor of my non-working washer, this week we will be discussing how to clean your washer and dryer.

But first things first. Lets talk about why my washer is not working. My sister was over a few months ago and we ran to the store to get detergent. She says "that one is HE" so I grabbed it. I should have read the label. I noticed, after using the detergent, that I was getting a SUDS warning. I wasn't sure what was going on, so I ignored it. After about the 4th or 5th load of getting SUDS I realized we had the wrong bottle of detergent. Less than a month later, my drain pump went out. Turns out the suds that the non-HE soap makes damages the drain pump motor. Sigh... so, please, please, please make sure you always get the right detergent for your machine - or spend $100 replacing a drain pump (and that is the DIY cost).

How to Clean Your Washer and Dryer: Overview

Like the dishwasher, the washer and dryer are one of the most used appliances in our homes. They take those nasty workout clothes and food-covered kid's clothes and turn them back into the sparkling gems we bought at the store. After time, though, they begin to stink (washer) or take longer to dry our clothes. With a bit of cleaning, you can have them back in working order in no time. 

How long does it take to clean your washer: Depending on how dirty your washer and dryer are, it can take several hours. The most basic clean-up requires a minimum of 1 hour.

How often should you clean your washer: Basic maintenance should be done every other month for optimal performance. More in-depth cleanings should be done every six months. 

How to Clean Your Washer and Dryer: Top load washers

How to clean top load washers

Since I don't have a top load washer, I relied on the internet for this one. There were a ton of tutorials, but the best I found was courtesy of One Good Thing By Jillee. Click here and check out her awesome article! To summarize, she suggests filling the washer with hot water and then adding a quart of chlorine bleach, agitating it for a minute then letting it sit for an hour. Once the hour is up, she recommends running it on the longest wash and spin cycle before repeating the entire process again but using vinegar. Follow up with scrubbing out the tub and you are good to go. Seriously, you should check her stuff out because I said "wow" when I saw how clean she got her washer!

How to Clean Your Washer and Dryer: Front load washers

How to clean front load washers

For this one, I'm giving you a few options based upon how nasty/smelly your washer is. 

For basic cleaning, fill the bleach container in your detergent drawer and run the hottest cycle available. Many HE washers have a Clean Cycle. If so, use this cycle. I recommend doing this once a week/every other week depending on much you use your washer. 

Add baking soda/water mix 

Add baking soda/water mix 

For a more in-depth cleaning, start the hottest cycle available. Once the tub fills with water, add two cups of bleach and allow the cycle to complete. When finished, open the door to allow the washer to air out.

clean the inside seal

clean the inside seal

For those nasty, stinky washers, do the above. Once completed, mix 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1/4 cup water together and pour into the detergent compartment in the detergent drawer. Next, add 2 cups of white distilled vinegar to the washer drum. Run the hottest cycle and allow the baking soda and vinegar to do it's magic. Once finished, scrub the inside of the drum with a non-abrasive sponge (the blue ones) and clean the inside seal of the washer. The seal is where the majority of the nastiness from the front load washers come from. 

Keeping your front load washer clean

Now that you've removed the gunk from your front load washer, it's time to keep it clean. Luckily, this is not hard to do. After each laundry batch (whether it's one load or 10), wipe the inside of the seal, removing any water or debris. Next, leave the door open for a few minutes to allow the washer to air out. Finally, clean around the detergent drawer to wipe up any spillage that may have occurred. That's it. Easy peasy.

How to Clean Your Washer and Dryer: The Dryer

While cleaning your top load or front load washer, you can begin cleaning your dryer. 

First things first, clean the filter

We all know that you should clean your lint filter after every load but most of us don't. Clearly those of us who don't haven't seen this video. 


Luckily, this is the easiest thing you will clean. Simply pull out the lint trap and remove any lint. If you haven't cleaned your lint trap in awhile, grab a rag and wipe down the lint trap. If you haven't cleaned your lint trap in FOREVER, then grab a vacuum hose and suck out any remaining lint inside the lint trap compartment. Wipe the entire compartment down with a damp rag and replace the trap. That's it! 

How to Clean Your Washer and Dryer: Conclusion

Cleaning your top load or front load washer and dryer is one of the easier tasks you will have. This easy maintenance will not only keep your washer and dryer functioning properly, but will keep your clothes smelling their best.

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