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How to Clean a Front-Load Washing Machine

how to clean your front loader

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You’d think that an appliance made for cleaning would clean itself, right? Sadly, this is definitely not the case. If, like the best of us, you’ve neglected to clean your washing machine, you might have noticed a damp scent lingering on your clothes, even if you whip them out of the machine right after the cycle is done. This can be really frustrating (we know the feeling oh so well), especially because you’re using a washing machine to, well, wash your clothes. Knowing how to clean a front-load washing machine and giving it a good scrub down is easier said than done, but once you’ve tackled it the first time, you’ll realise that a deep clean only takes a matter of minutes. 

Cleaning from the inside out

Cleaning a front-load washing machine’s outer housing is probably already part of your routine. Muddy smudges from footie uniforms or the dog’s rainy walks leave their traces everywhere, but this is also true of the inside of your machine. Before you grab a washing machine cleaner, you’ll have to put in some elbow grease and give the inside of the machine a good scrub.

The rubber seal of your machine is important to keep the water in during a cycle, even when it’s time for the soapy suds to drain away. What a lot of people don’t realise is that this rubber seal is very flexible, allowing lots of dirt and small items to get wedged in the nooks and crannies. Tissues, baby socks, yes, even that novelty tiny teddy bear from the fairground. In and around this rubber seal, you may end up finding items that got lost along the way. After you’ve fished these out, make sure you’ve given the seal itself a good clean, scraping out any build-up between and behind the sealing—sounds a bit icky, but, trust us, your laundry will be so much fresher for it!

The inside of your washer can sometimes get a little grubby too. Take your preferred washing machine cleaner and scrub the drum a little to remove any build-up here. Lots of guides on how to clean your front-load washing machine will give you store-bought solutions for this task, but it is really up to you whether you want to buy a brand product or make your own—our tip would be to spend a dollar or two on a professional cleaner to get the job done well and avoid damaging your machine.

Where you may have already noticed your machine getting a bit grimy is in your detergent tray. The irony of cleaning products making something dirty would be funny—if only it didn’t mean more work! Luckily, the detergent tray can be cleaned in a few simple steps. Warm water can be used to flush the detergent tray, or for tougher muck you can use some diluted washing machine cleaner. Some brands are designed to be poured into the detergent tray, cleaning this spot before reaching the pipes of the machine itself. Give the inside of each tray a wipe with a paper towel, and, if the dirt won’t budge, soak the tray for a bit.

You’re almost finished! The easiest step comes last; set up a wash cycle on the hottest setting to clean the machine. Follow the instructions on your washing machine cleaning product, and away you go!

Maintenance keeps mildew stains at bay

Cleaning your front-load washer isn’t the most glamorous chore (although, now that we think about it, are any chores ever really glam?). However, doing this deep clean for the first time is the best foundation to keeping your laundry fresh and clean. Once you’ve done this, you can just give your machine a quick wipe and clean once a month, and maybe run it on a quick, empty hot wash (no detergent!) from time to time. Keeping your detergent tray and washer door open also stops dampness from building up, and lets your machine dry out. Buy a lock if you’re worried about little ones clambering in—this can prop the door open, as well as keep it shut.