Yes, You Need to Clean Your Washing Machine

If you're a fan of fresher, cleaner laundry, it's worth a few minutes every month. Follow these four easy steps for a mean, clean washing machine.

Be honest: When was the last time you cleaned your washing machine? It may sound odd to clean a machine that's built to clean things, but washing machines can be really gross. One study found that bacteria like salmonella and E. coli from diapers and underwear is often present in washing machines—and can leech onto what you think are your freshly washed clothes.

The good news is that cleaning your machine—and keeping it that way—is a few spritzes away thanks to a growing number of washing machine cleaners on the market. For fresher, cleaner clothes, here's how to clean your washing machine in four easy steps.

How Often to Clean Your Washing Machine

Make a habit of spraying the interior of your washing machine with a commercial washing machine cleaner after every wash to stave off hard-water minerals, detergent scum, bacteria, and telltale black or gray spots.

For best performance, follow up with a deep clean every month.

What You Need:

  • Washing machine cleaner
  • Toothbrush

How to Clean Your Washing Machine With a Specialty Cleanser

Step 1: Spritz the Interior

Spray the inside of your machine with washing machine cleaner, and then let the formula sit for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Detail the Parts

While you're waiting, use a toothbrush to scrub the fabric and bleach dispensers or remove those drawers and hand-wash them.

If your machine is a front-loader, remove hair and debris from the rubber gasket inside the door, and spray and wipe inside the flaps until clean.

If your machine has a filter behind the hatch, remove the filter and rinse off any debris or dirt.

Step 3: Run a Cycle and Wipe

Run an empty cycle on hot and, while that's going, wipe the outside clean.

Step 4: Open the Hatch

After each cleaning, leave the hatch open to thoroughly dry. In fact, whenever your machine is not in use, it's best to leave the hatch open to prevent mold and mildew, which thrive in moisture-rich, stagnant air.

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