How To Clean Your Washing Machine, Tumble Dryer, And Dishwasher

Chances are you have a cleaning routine for your home. You might do all of your cleaning in one day, or you might have cleaning related tasks that you do on specific days of the week like changing the sheets on Monday or cleaning the floors on Thursday. When do you clean your washer, tumble dryer, and dishwasher though? 

These appliances don’t have to be completed weekly as many cleaning tasks do, but they do need to be performed regularly. Keeping these appliances clean is an important part of maintaining them so that they run efficiently and last for a good long while. Having to repair or replace them is quite costly and by keeping them clean you save money in the long term because they run more efficiently. 

How to Clean Your Washing Machine

Many people assume that the detergent that they use to wash their clothes is keeping their washing machine clean without them needing to do anything else, so don’t feel bad if you have never thought to clean your washing machine before! Detergent, mould, mildew, dirt, and mineral deposits can build up on the inside of your machine over time this may keep your clothes from getting as clean as they should and may even make the inside of your washing machine feel grimy. 

So now that you know why you need to clean your washing machine let’s talk about how to clean it. 

How Often Do You Need To Clean Your Washing Machine

Now that you know how to clean your washing machine you are probably wondering about how often you should do it. Top load washing machines should be cleaned at least twice per year, and more often if you live in an area with hard water, wash extremely soiled clothes, or live in a humid environment where mould is more likely to be a problem. 

Front-load washing machines use less water per load so they need to be cleaned more frequently, usually once every couple of months. The dispensers on your washing machine need to be wiped down and cleaned every few weeks as well. 

There are a couple of different ways to clean your washing machine depending on whether or not you are comfortable using bleach or would rather use more natural ingredients. If you are okay with using bleach to clean your washing machine you will need to add a quart of bleach to a hot water cycle. Let the machine run for a minute to agitate the bleach and coat the sides of the machine. Stop the cycle open the lid and let the bleach and water mixture sit for an hour. 

After the hour is up, run a hot water cycle from start to finish, which will drain out all of the bleach. Now it’s time for cycle number two, but this time you will need a quart of vinegar. Fill the machine with hot water again, add the vinegar, let the machine run for a minute to agitate, turn it off and let it sit for an hour. Once the hour is complete let the machine run a full wash cycle to let the vinegar drain from the machine. Take a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water and a clean cloth and use it to clean the dispenser, the gaskets, and the outside of the machine. 

If you prefer a more natural approach then you will need baking soda and vinegar. Add two cups of baking soda to a hot water cycle so that the baking soda can gently scrub away dirt and grime on the inside of the machine. Once that cycle has completed run another hot water cycle, but this time add a quart of vinegar to the load. Allow the cycle to complete as usual, and then use a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water to clean the outside of the machine, the dispensers, and the gaskets. 

How to Clean Your Tumble Dryer

Now that you know how to clean your washing machine you may be wondering how you can clean your tumble dryer. Keeping your tumble dryer clean is not just a matter of cleanliness, but of safety as well. If the dryer traps fill up with lint and that lint makes contact with the heating coils you can have a fire on your hands. 

To clean your tumble dryer begin by unplugging it and pulling it away from the wall so that you can see behind it. Remove the lint trap and clean it, not just by pulling the loose lint out, but by getting an old toothbrush or small wire brush and cleaning it until it looks new. 

Unscrew the back panel from the machine and then vacuum up all of the lint and dust that you find back there. Put the panel back on and sweep the floor thoroughly, before plugging the dryer back up and pushing it back where it belongs. Give the inside and outside of your tumble dryer a good wipe down with a clean cotton rag, and a spray bottle filled with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Tumble Dryer

How often you should clean your tumble dryer really depends on how often you use it, but a general guideline is once every three to four months. If you use your tumble dryer a lot or dry very large loads you may need to clean it more often. 

How to Clean Your Dishwasher

Your dishwasher is another appliance that you may think just cleans itself, after all, you put your dishes in there with detergent and the dishes come out clean. By cleaning the dishwasher and removing any bits of food or mineral deposits that may be around the drain your dishwasher will get your dishes cleaner and run more efficiently too. 

Cleaning your dishwasher is easy and you only need a few items and a little bit of time to do it. Before you start cleaning your dishwasher remove the bottom rack and check around the drain. You may find little bits of food, shards of broken glass, or broken off pieces of plastic, remove any debris that you find there. This debris can keep your dishwasher from draining properly. 

Inspect the holes in your spray arm. If they look grimy or you can’t see the holes take an old toothbrush and dip it in vinegar and scrub out the holes in the spray arm. Put the bottom rack back in your dishwasher. Pull out the top rack and place a dishwasher safe bowl filled with vinegar in it and run the dishwasher on the hottest setting. After the cycle is complete, throw a handful of baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher run it through a quick, hot wash cycle. Wipe down the outside, gaskets, and display panel with a clean cloth dampened with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. Find out more eco friendly kitchen cleaning tips here!

If you have been dealing with mould or mildew there is an additional step that you can take to clean your dishwasher. Pour a cup of bleach into the bottom of the dishwasher and then run a complete hot wash cycle. You should not use bleach to clean your dishwasher if it is stainless steel or has stainless steel parts. Bleach can permanently damage or discolour a stainless steel dishwasher. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher

You need to clean your dishwasher about once a month if you use it regularly. You should also clean your dishwasher anytime you notice that it has an odour, isn’t cleaning your dishes as well, or isn’t draining properly. 

You can also buy tablets specifically designed for cleaning your dishwasher and use those several times a year in addition to your monthly dishwasher cleaning. Find more cleaning tips here!

Now you know exactly what you need to do to keep your washing machine, tumble dryer, and dishwasher clean. Keeping these expensive appliances clean will make them last longer and have them running more efficiently. With these appliances running more efficiently you will have lower energy costs as well as cleaner clothes and dishes. These simple maintenance tasks can also help to save you from costly professional repairs. Next, learn how to clean your refrigerator.

How often do you clean your appliances, or did you even realize that you were supposed to? 

Sophie is a cook and food enthusiast who has owned and run a cafe in her remote community since 2017. She wants to show that, no matter how busy you are, there is a way to make cooking and family life simpler and more enjoyable.