Washing machines are a boon in our fast paced times. Even though they get cleaned up every time we clean our clothes, a little extra maintenance can go a long way. It may look clean but could have become a breeding ground for microscopic allergens and bacteria. When we spend a lot of time and money in choosing the best appliance, why not put in a little extra effort to maintain it for a longer time?
We’ve put together 5 tips to make sure your washing machine and your laundry stays the cleanest that it can be:
1. Use the on-board heater
The latest models come with a sanitize cycle. They are of two types – with and without an on-board heater. If your machine comes with an on-board heater, it can get hot enough to sanitize itself without any external harsh chemicals. If there is no on-board heater, the cycle will require bleach or special sanitizer cleaners/ tablets that will need to be bought separately. Follow the instructions in the manual to sanitize your machine and never put laundry in the machine while it is sanitizing.
2. Simulate the sanitize cycle
If you have fully-automatic washing machine that doesn’t come with its own sanitize cycle, don’t worry! You can simulate this setting by turning on the maximum heat setting and the largest load setting in your machine (Check the user manual if you’re unsure). When it is full, add 4 cups of white vinegar and half a cup of baking soda. (You can also substitute the vinegar with 2 cups of lemon juice). Apart from cleansing the machine of dirt and grime – this will also get rid of the hard-water deposits. Once it has spun enough, pause it and let it sit for half an hour. When the washer is empty, wipe down the surface with a solution of hot hater and white vinegar.
3. Clean the dispensers
Most washing machines come with dispensers for detergents/bleach/fabric softeners. This area can act as a magnet for dirt and grime. Use a hot wash rag or an old toothbrush to clean these areas effectively. Make sure you repeat this activity once every 2 weeks.
4. Use the correct detergent
You should always use high-efficiency detergents for your high-efficiency (HE) washing machines. Regular detergents lead to a production of higher level of suds, which can over time build up a film on the drum. This causes the area to become a breeding ground for mold. Pay attention to the label on your detergent before purchasing it. If you are still not convinced – you should know that using the wrong detergent can even void the warranty of your product.
5. Proper usage
Whether you have a fully-automatic or semi-automatic washing machine, you can use these general tips to elongate the life of your machine. When you’re done with the cleaning of your laundry – remove the finished loads immediately. Letting the damp clothes sit in the machine can cause musty smells and mildew. You should also leave the door/outlet of the machine open when it is not in use to improve air circulation in the machine.
Make sure you indulge in regular cleaning and maintenance of your machine. If you’re still looking to buy a washing machine, make sure you invest in a branded one.