Your washing machine works hard for your family, so show it a little love and clean it! Regular cleaning will help keep your washer happy and your clothes cleaner. Learn how to clean your washing machine using essential oils and natural ingredients.
Why you need to clean your washing machine
Laundry is a big enough task already, so it’s probably not on your radar to actually clean your washer. Dirty clothes are filled with sweat, dander, dust, and bacteria, not to mention stains. Over time, dirt and detergent can build up inside your washer and get redeposited on your clothes.
We recently got a front-loading washing machine, and I wish I could say that I was smitten. I love how it looks, but I find myself having to clean my washer more frequently than with my old top loader. You would think that an appliance whose sole purpose is to clean would be clean itself. I don’t ever feel like our clothes are clean enough.
Front-load washing machines are energy efficient and are great at conserving water, but they are more likely to develop mold than a top-loader. The rubber gasket that surrounds and seals the washer opening can be difficult to fully clean and sanitize. The photo below is of my actual washing machine. It is way overdue for a cleaning!
I notice that when my washer is due for a cleaning, the wet clothes smell a bit funky. I use this natural laundry detergent to clean our clothes, so there is minimal chemical build-up. Luckily I have a trick to get rid of the musty laundry smell, but it’s still unpleasant.
I started cleaning my washing machine using essential oils, and my clothes finally smell clean again!
Washing Machine Cleaner Recipe
- 2 cups baking soda
- 1 cup of water
- 10 drops Purification essential oil
- 10 drops Lemon essential oil
- no-scratch sponge like this one
- small tile brush
How to Clean a Washing Machine with Essential Oils
Step 1: Make a paste with baking soda, water, and essential oils. I used Purification and Lemon, but you could substitute Thieves or Tea Tree. Purification helps eliminate odors, while lemon sanitizes and removes stains.
Step 2: Apply the paste to the rubber seal with a sponge or cloth and gently remove any visible stains. Pay close attention to the seal and hard-to-reach places where any build-up may occur (this small brush works really well! It has a plastic tip that is great for cleaning tight spaces and crevices). Wipe down the interior of the drum with the baking soda mixture. Do not rinse.
Step 3: Once the interior of the washer and the seal are clean, run a normal load on the hottest setting. A tub or sanitizing setting is preferred. If you have a top loader, stop the washer before the rinse cycle and let the water sit for 30-60 minutes.
Step 4: When the load has finished, remove the detergent tray and clean with warm, soapy water. Use a microfiber cloth to remove any lint or debris from the detergent container.
Step 5: Replace the tray and add 1 cup of vinegar to the detergent container. Run another load on a hot rinse setting.
Step 6: When the final load finishes, wipe down the interior and exterior of the washer door. Remove the lint trap and clean and replace it. You are ready to use your clean washer!
Tips for Keeping your Washing Machine Clean
- Leave the door to the washer open following each load to allow it to dry out. If you have a fan in your laundry room, let it run for 15 minutes to reduce moisture in the air.
- Pre-treat any stains with a stain spray and rinse away any dirt or debris before placing an item in the washer.
- If using store-bought detergent, be sure it is free of any fragrances. If you have a HE (high-efficiency) washer, use only approved HE detergent.
- Don’t overload the washer. In a front-loader, it will distribute more water, meaning more moisture is left behind.
- Wipe out your washing machine every few loads and do a deep clean every month or so for the best results.
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