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How to Clean Different Types of Washing Machines

Whether you have a large family or just you and your spouse, chances are you spend a good chunk of time doing laundry every week. This frequently used and loved appliance makes cleaning your clothes so much easier and enables you to get it all done promptly. However, your washing machine could probably use some TLC of its own. Cleaning your washing machine isn’t difficult or as time-consuming as it might seem. You just have to know what kind of washer you own to properly clean it and remove odors and bacteria.

The cleaning team at Merry Maids® has some tips that’ll help you make your washing machine more efficient and extend its life so that you come out with cleaner clothes for years to come.

Things to Remember Before Cleaning Your Wash Machine

  • Turn off and unplug your washing machine before removing any parts.
  • Disconnect water hoses to avoid water getting into the drum while cleaning.
  • Avoid frequently using harsh chemicals such as bleach to clean your washer.
  • Make deep disinfecting your washing machine an annual cleaning routine.

Top-Load Agitator Washing Machine

Like many people, a top-load agitator was probably the first type of washing machine you used or purchased. This washer type has been around for over 60 years because the price points are usually lower, and it gets the job done! The popularity of top-load washing machines with agitators hasn’t diminished, even with the introduction of higher-efficiency—and higher-priced—washers on the market.

How to Clean a Top-Loading Agitator Washing Machine

Believe it or not, dirt and bacteria can get into the nooks and crannies of your washing machine, resulting in odors and potential deterioration. Cleaning the barrel of a washing machine with an agitator is easier than it seems, even though it may look a bit complicated. All you have to do is understand some of the parts you’re cleaning and use gentle cleaning solutions so that you don’t damage your components.

Tools You’ll Need

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Long-handle utility brush
  • Old toothbrush
  • Microfiber cloth or sponge
  • Bucket

Cleaning Instructions

  1. Identify the type of agitator you have. You may have one that’s bolted to an agitator shaft or one that can be easily removed by applying a bit of pressure.
  2. Once you know the type of agitator you have, you can remove the fabric softener dispenser—where most dirt and grime get trapped.
  3. Fill your bucket with hot and soak your fabric softener dispenser in a mixture of water and baking soda or white vinegar—or a combination of both—to break up all the softener and detergent residue.
  4. Dip your long-handle brush into the bucket and scrub away any buildup in the agitator barrel. Rinse thoroughly and place on aside to dry for a couple of hours.
  5. Now that your agitator and fabric softener dispenser are clean, you can move on to washing the main tub. Using your baking soda-white vinegar mixture, take a sponge or microfiber cloth to clean the sides.
  6. Use a toothbrush to clean some of the smaller, narrower areas of the washer.

Top-Load Impeller Washing Machine

A top-load impeller washing machine is one of the newest trends for families looking for high-efficiency washers that shy away from an agitator washing machine’s traditional look and feel. Many people choose this type of washing machine for its sleek design, innovative technology, and the fact that it’s easy to clean (and, in some cases, even self-cleaning). However, some cleaning intervention may be needed if unidentified odors are emitting from your top-load impeller washer. So, how do you clean this type of top loading washing machine? We’re happy you asked!

How to Clean a Top-Loading Impeller Washing Machine

Your top-load impeller washer won’t have the fabric dispenser in the middle of the tub like an agitator washing machine. However, it’s important to clean under the impeller/pulsator for hidden dirt and grime. Fortunately, removing and replacing the impeller is extremely easy, making the cleaning a bit more straightforward and less involved.

Tools You’ll Need

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Microfiber cloth or sponge
  • Bucket
  • Old toothbrush
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Long hinged socket wrench
  • Loctite® adhesive

Cleaning Instructions

  1. For a deep cleaning under your impeller blade, remove the impeller by using your flat-head screwdriver to pop off the cap, exposing a bolt.
  2. Use your socket wrench to remove the bolt and dislodge the impeller blade. Clean your blade with your microfiber cloth and toothbrush to get all the smaller compartments. When removing the impeller, you must use Loctite® adhesive to replace the bolt, or it could become loose over time and detach.
  3. Replace the impeller carefully using your adhesive and turn on your washer again.
  4. Set your top-load washer to the hottest and highest setting possible and pour in your white vinegar to deodorize and disinfect without using harsh chemicals.

Pro tip: Make sure to do this before your lid locks. Many washers have a locking mechanism that kicks in during washing so the cycle can’t be disturbed.

  1. Let the machine run for a minute and open the lid to keep the washer from running again. Your vinegar should soak in the tub for at least an hour.
  2. After an hour, add baking soda, close the lid and let the cycle complete normally.
  3. Once the water drains, wipe the inside of the drum to remove any residue left behind from the baking soda.
  4. Use your old toothbrush to remove exterior dirt around seals and buttons.

Front-Load Washing Machine

Front-loading washing machines have been around for years, but many homeowners are now opting to use them to maximize space by stacking the washer and dryer in smaller laundry rooms or closets. With the look and feel of a modern top-load pulsator washer, you get energy efficiency and visual interest you didn’t know you were missing in your home.

How to Clean a Front-Load Washing Machine

Without removing any components inside the drum, cleaning a front-load washer is the easiest of the bunch. Although, water can easily get left behind and pool at the bottom of the washer, creating the perfect environment for germs and bacteria to thrive. This is why it’s important to take a little time out every few months to give your washing machine a detailed cleaning.

Tools You’ll Need

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Bucket
  • Microfiber cloth or sponge
  • Old toothbrush

Cleaning Instructions

  1. Fill a bucket with hot water and add your baking soda and white vinegar.
  2. Use your microfiber cloth to clean the inside of the washing machine drum. Take your time with this to make sure you wipe down every inch of the tub.
  3. Remove the detergent tray and clean it using your old toothbrush and baking soda mixture. Repeat this process with any other removable parts.
  4. Scrub the inside of the door and use your toothbrush on the gasket and seals.
  5. Use your cloth or sponge to wipe down the outside of the washer, paying close attention to knobs and buttons that could have hidden residue.
  6. Give the entire washing machine one more once-over, wiping the inside of the tub and the door with your microfiber cloth.
  7. Keep the door propped open to let it air dry or take a dry rag and hand dry.

We hope these tips helped so that you’ll never have to wonder how to clean your washing machine again. Instead, you’ll have ample time to spend with family and friends.

Our team at Merry Maids® is eager to assist you with more than just cleaning tips. We want to take the cleaning off your hands completely! Call (888) 490-4227 or find your location today and request an estimate.