How to clean your washing machine

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

My 4-month-old son, Joseph, eats constantly. Unfortunately, along with all the eating comes a lot of spit up, thanks to his reflux. Add to that some sporadic explosive diapers, and it should come as no surprise that, at our house, we do laundry on a daily basis.

As I was loading our wash recently, I noticed a brown film on the front door. This is my first front-loader, so it was the first time I realized how much more noticeable dirt and grime can be in this type of washer compared to top-loaders. Luckily, there are easy ways to get a front-loading washer clean again.

First, start by gathering your materials. You’ll need white vinegar in a spray bottle, 2 cups of white vinegar on the side, baking soda (about one-half cup) and a rag or paper towels.


Start with the rubber gasket. This is the part of the machine that helps to seal the airtight doors. Because they are so good at sealing, however, they trap moisture and serve as a great place for mold, mildew and hair to reside. Spray vinegar all around the gasket, and make sure to get underneath as much as possible. Then, sprinkle some baking soda onto a rag or paper towels, and wipe down. This may take several applications and wipes before you can get it clean.

Tackle the door next, following the same steps. Spray with vinegar, then apply baking soda with a rag or paper towels and wipe clean. You can also use a window cleaner to get it nice and clear.

For the basin, sprinkle about one-third cup of baking soda directly into the drum of the washer, and pour 2 cups of vinegar into the detergent dispenser. Then, run the longest, hottest cycle you can. If you want, you can substitute the baking soda and vinegar for a commercial product. My washer manufacturer recommends using Affresh. Follow product instructions if you choose to go this route.

Once you are done, take extra steps to keep it cleaner, longer. Wipe around the gasket periodically to keep it dry — and wipe the door while you are at it. Whenever possible, leave the door open so that it can air-dry between loads. If, like me, you have kids and pets, be extra vigilant when you do this. You do not want to risk one of them climbing in and getting stuck. Remove washed clothes promptly, and wipe out the machine regularly.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.