Where does the dirt go in a washing machine?
Well, the dirt gets washed off your clothes and with the help of your laundry detergent, gets broken down into the water. Then, when the water is flushed out of the machine, the dirt is flushed out with it. Well, most of the dirt is flushed out.
But not all of it.
See, some of the dirt gets left behind in the crevices of our washing machines, and that’s when bacteria and mold start to grow in the machines, and bad odors come after that.
Taking the right steps to learn how to properly clean a washing machine, to ensure you’re getting everything that could cause bacteria and growth out of it, will help prolong the life of your machine AND ensure your clothes come out the way you want them to – clean.
If you’re still not convinced that you should be cleaning your washing machine, let’s go over some quick points.
WHY SHOULD YOU CLEAN YOUR WASHING MACHINE?
If you’re not sure whether you should clean your washing machine or not, here are some reasons why you should:
- Washing machines hold a lot of moisture in them, even while not in use, and can quickly become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.
- When a washing machine isn’t cleaned regularly it can start to let off unpleasant odors.
- These odors can then be transferred to your clothes (the clothes that are supposed to be getting cleaned).
- Dirt from your clothes can get left behind in the machine.
- Build up from your water and detergent can occur over time in the pipes, causing your machine to work harder and wear out faster.
Are you convinced yet that your washing machine is due for a good cleaning?
HOW TO CLEAN A WASHING MACHINE
When my husband and I moved into our current house I was taken aback by two things: the stovetop/oven and the washing machine.
The stovetop and oven had dirt, spills, cobwebs (yes – cobwebs), and other substances on and inside it – but that’s a story for another day.
The washing machine had dirt, dust bunnies, grime, slime, detergent, and some pocket change on, in, and around it, and that is when I realized the importance of regularly maintaining and cleaning a washing machine to keep it running as good as it should be.
Since the steps for cleaning a top load versus cleaning a front load washing machine differ slightly, this post will help you learn how to clean a top loading washing machine, while the next post in the series will teach you how to clean a front loading washing machine.
BLEACH AND YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM
How to clean a washing machine with bleach… or if you even should.
Many people will suggest using bleach to clean your washing machine, but it turns out that it is NOT the best way to clean your machine. In fact, bleach can set you on a fast-track to septic system problems.
Bleach’s main purpose is to kill bacteria, and while that is great for your washing machine, it’s not so great for your septic system. Your septic system relies on bacteria to break down the solids in the tank, and without the bacteria, you could experience septic failures and backups – which are both something you want to avoid.
Small amounts of bleach every once in a while shouldn’t be enough to kill all the bacteria and harm your septic tank, but just to play it safe, we’re going to look at how to clean your washing machine with baking soda and vinegar, in this example.
“WAIT! I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO USE BLEACH AND I’VE ALREADY SENT CUPS OF IT DOWN THE DRAIN. WHAT DO I DO NOW?!?”
If you’ve already bleached your washer or sent bleach down the drain, you can try to encourage bacteria to start growing again by flushing a quarter cup of dry baking yeast down the toilet to help rebuild and grow the bacteria your septic tank needs to keep running smoothly.