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Washing machines work hard at getting all manner of stains out of your clothes, as well as keeping your towels and linens hygienic. It seems odd that a machine that is designed to clean things also needs cleaning itself, but it does need doing regularly to get rid of residual muck. If you don’t clean your washing machine on a regular basis it can develop a lingering smell, won’t clean your clothes properly and problem areas such as the detergent drawer and inner seal can become mouldy or clogged. To keep your washing machine clean and running smoothly, the team at ACE has some easy and affordable tips.
- Clean your detergent drawer
Over time excess laundry detergent can build up in the drawer, blocking channels in your washing machine and stopping your clothes from being thoroughly cleaned. Every so often it’s a good idea to remove the drawer and give it a wash of its own.
The drawer should lift out fairly easily but if you’re having trouble, check your washing machine instruction manual. Once you’ve done this, either put it through the dishwasher on the top shelf or soak the drawer in warm water, using a nail brush or old toothbrush to scrub away any dried detergent or fabric softener. Dry thoroughly and replace – but don’t forget to make sure the door cavity is clean too.
- Clean the filter
The washing machine filter picks up pocket debris and needs emptying regularly to allow the water to flow properly. This is especially important if you have a washer-dryer as the build-up of tissues, hair and fluff can be a fire-risk. The filter should be at the front of the washing machine behind a small hatch. Again, if you’re not sure where it is the washing machine instruction manual should tell you, or lots of manufacturers provide them online if you know the model name or number.
If it’s been a while, have an empty washing-up bowl and something absorbent on hand. A blocked filter can have a build-up of water behind it, so let any excess drain off before carefully unscrewing or releasing the filter cover. More water may run out along with any trapped debris. Once it’s cleared, wipe all components and replace.
- Clean the drum
Your washing machine might look sparkling but if you haven’t recently cleaned it, the drum probably won’t be. Wipe round the drum to get rid of any soap residue, as well as around and inside the rubber seal where lint, hair and forgotten pocket items like hairbands and paper clips can collect.
After you’ve done this, run an empty load on the hottest cycle possible to disinfect the machine, and for an extra-clean finish add two tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda to the detergent drawer and half a cup of white vinegar to the drum – this will break down any residue in the pipes. Try to repeat this once a month.
- Ongoing maintenance
Whilst a full washing machine MOT can be quite labour intensive, there are little things you can do every time you use the machine to keep smells and germs at bay. If your items are heavily soiled, pick or rinse away the excess before putting them in the machine.
After a wash, wipe the inside of the detergent drawer and get rid of any water that has collected inside the rubber seal. Leave the machine door ajar between washes to allow it to dry out properly, reducing musty smells and mould build-up. Don’t overload the machine, letting it spin and flush through properly, and give it time to dry between loads.