We use the heck out of our washing machines, and probably don’t give much thought to washing the machines themselves – they are clean because they clean our clothes, right? Eh…not so much. In fact, after a bout of the stomach bug, it’s probably a good idea that you thoroughly clean your washing machine. Although it washes clothes, the temperature doesn’t get hot enough to destroy some bacteria, and it’s regularly washing underwear, towels, and maybe even tougher things (cloth diapers, etc.) In fact, it can even be host to mold, so it’s a good idea to regularly inspect your machine and give it a good washing with bleach.
How To Sanitize Your Washing Machine
- clean all surface areas with a bleach solution
- wipe down the insides
- inspect the compartments for fabric softener and liquid detergent
- Wash a cycle of bleach
Put on some old clothes so that if some bleach splashes, it won’t matter. Use a spray bottle to dilute 1 part bleach to ten parts water and spray the outside surfaces with the solution, scrubbing at any stains.
Do the same with the inside, being careful to check rubber areas for moldy buildup.
Inspect the compartments where you pour fabric softener and liquid detergent – sometimes they get very dirty with congealed old softener. Clean these out.
Finally, pour a cup of bleach into the washer and wash a complete cycle on hot. You can throw in the rags you used to wipe down surfaces as well. You may want to run an extra rinse cycle to clear any remaining bleach.
This doesn’t need to be done weekly, but if you’re washing cloth diapers, or have a stomach virus hit your house, it’s probably a good idea to sanitize your washing machine. If you hate the idea of wasting water, wait until you have old rags, towels or strictly whites to wash. Bleach is hard on clothes, so keep that in mind.
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