How to Clean the Machines that Clean for You – Washing Machines and Dishwashers

  • Cleaning the machines that clean for you - washing machines

There a few household appliances that seem to fly under the radar when it comes to cleaning, mainly because, well, they typically do the cleaning for you.

For example, you may be under-cleaning your home’s dishwasher and washing machine! It’s true; those magical appliances that turn your dishes and clothes from dirty to dirtless need the occasional wash themselves.

Now, we know what you might be thinking: “Aren’t they clean because of all the dish soap and laundry detergent I use when I throw in a load of laundry or clean my dirty dishes?”

Unfortunately, the answer is: “not really.”

There are surfaces on the interior and on the outsides of these machines that are often overlooked during routine use. This can lead to mildew growth, a surplus of germs, and a lingering odor. Here’s what you can do about it…

Your Dishwasher

There are things in our lives we take for granted, one of these being a dishwasher (as anyone who lives in an apartment or house without one would be quick to tell you!).

A typical dishwasher, though it depends on the brand, will last about 10 years. By cleaning your dishwasher semi-regularly and showing it a little love, you can help to extend its lifespan, keeping it functioning better, for longer.

1.) Getting Started

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of cleaning your dishwasher, make sure to run a full cycle, sans-dishes, to help rid your machine of any unnecessary food scraps that may have lodged up.

After the initial wash, you’ll want to remove all plate racks and utensil trays to begin cleaning. Also be sure to remove your dishwasher’s filter, as this will most likely contain a mess of food scraps to get rid of.

2.) Don’t Forget the Arms

The spinning arms of your dishwasher may be one culprit behind food buildup. There are holes that run along them, which act as an open invitation to any leftover food on a plate. Take a toothpick or any small tool to dig out any caked-in food particles. Make sure to avoid scratching the finish.

3.) The Bottom Of The Door

In many dishwashers, the water won’t reach the point where the door and floor of the dishwasher connect. This can be an area where unwanted food and other debris and residue from your dishes collects. Make sure to remove this debris and don’t be afraid to use a toothbrush for any difficult spots.

4.) The Drain

Another area that could often use some TLC is the drain. Mix together baking soda and water to form a paste. Get your toothbrush handy and scrub out any food particles you may see with the baking soda paste.  

5.) The Filter

Most modern dishwashers have a filter, which helps to trap food and other particles during a wash cycle. However, if you let this filter go and go without cleaning it, your dishwasher will be unable to clean your dishes properly and may even have a hard time draining water throughout the cycle.

To make sure your dishwasher can clean to the best of its ability, remember to clean your filter every three to six months. (However, this depends on the brand of your dishwasher and filter, as some manufacturers suggest a cleaning every three-four weeks.)

Use a baking soda paste or have warm, soapy water ready to begin cleaning your filter. Take the filter out from the bottom of the appliance by unscrewing it. Then, transfer it to your sink, and disassemble its parts. Using a toothbrush, gently scrub to remove any food particles. You can also choose to soak it in a distilled white vinegar and water solution to give it a deeper clean. After a final rinse with warm water, your filter should be good to go!

6.) Check the Seal

You’ll find your machine’s seal around the inner corners of the appliance. To clean, dampen a microfiber cloth with white vinegar and a few squeezes of lemon juice. This will disinfect these areas and help to eliminate any unwanted odor.

7.) What to do About Water Deposits

If you notice any hard water deposits or scum left on your plates and glassware, you’ll need to run an empty cycle with distilled white vinegar.

Add two cups of vinegar to the bottom of your dishwasher and turn the setting to low (maybe “low wash” or “energy saver”). You’ll want to stop the machine mid-wash to allow for the vinegar to collect to the bottom. Let the liquid stand for about 20 minutes, then unpause the cycle to finish the job.

The Final Dish

You don’t have to do all of these steps every month. But if you make sure to try a shortened version of this list monthly, there will be less to scrub and disinfect when it is time for a big clean.

Your Washing Machine

Though your washing machine might see a load or two a week (or more…. we definitely don’t judge), all those leftover stains and pieces of dirt that seem to magically disappear once you take out your clothes have to go somewhere.

That somewhere? It’s in the hard to reach spots of your washing machine. Here’s one way to give this hard worker a little TLC (you may find other methods that you like, as well).

1.) Gather The Basics

Before you start your clean, you’ll want to gather a few household materials that will help to clean your washing machine:

2.) Set It Up

To get started, set your machine as if to handle a large load, using the hottest water setting and the longest runtime. Though you may be used to using cold water for clothes and linens around the house, the hot water will help to eliminate any possible germs and lift up any built-up dirt or debris.

3.) Add In Vinegar

Next on the list is to add one quart of vinegar, once the machine is running. Using regular white vinegar will help to disinfect the washer.

Let your machine run for a minute or two to allow for the vinegar and water to mix and disperse.

4.) Baking Soda

After the white vinegar and water have been introduced, add one cup of baking soda to the washing machine. Close the lid to allow for the mixture to stir quickly, then open the lid for the remaining hour if your washing machine allows it, and let the appliance finish its cycle.

5.) Scrub It Down

Before or after you run your washing machine with this cleansing vinegar mixture, use your hand tools to focus in on some trouble spots.

You can use a toothbrush to clean around the top of the agitator (the middle column of the washing machine) and crevices underneath the lid. The exterior may be in need of a wipe down too. For this, using a paper towel or cloth with your favorite all-purpose cleaner will do the trick.

6.) The Removable Parts

There are usually removable wells in a washing machine, including ones for fabric softeners and bleach. Feel free to remove, soak, and scrub these parts, before drying thoroughly and returning them to their designated spots.

Pro Tip!

Leaving the lid open on your washing machine between uses will prolong the freshness. This helps your machine avoid mildew growth (which thrives in dark, damp areas) and prevents stale odors.

Clean at Last

With these tips in mind, cleaning the machines that clean for you won’t feel like such a pain. Before you know it, you’ll be back to letting them do all the messy work!

Looking for help cleaning the major appliances around your home? In need of routine housekeeping, a deep clean, or service before or after a special event? Sweeping Dimensions Cleaning Service is here to help!

Here at SDCS, we always make a sweeping effort to make life less stressful! With a professionally trained and uniformed staff, all of our cleanings are fully customizable to meet your unique needs. We bring all of the cleaning supplies and equipment needed to clean your home, with a focus on green, environmentally sound cleaning products.

We’re so confident that you’ll love our service, that we offer the Sweeping Dimensions guarantee! If our cleaning services should ever fail to meet your expectations, you can call us within 24 hours of your cleaning and we will send out a supervised crew to correct anything that needs attention.

Ready to get started? Get in touch today for your free estimate!

2018-07-10T12:23:26+00:00 July 10th, 2018|Residential Cleaning|