This is kind of a random post, but I found a life-changing YouTube video totally on accident and I wanted to make sure that I shared it. While I am mainly into home design, art, and non-mom blog things, I very into things being clean, so this isn’t too off-brand.
We were fortunate enough that the seller of our home said “yes” to our request to include the washing machine and dryer with the purchase of the house. It worked out really well for us, since this was our first owned home and we would have had to buy any needed appliances. Our new washing machine is slightly older, but is a nice, high-effiency, front-loading model.
Whenever I move, one of the first things I do in the new home is to run bleach through both the washing machine and the dishwasher. I did that when we moved here, but the washing machine still didn’t seem clean – in fact, it had a musty, moldy smell. I began doing all kinds of things to try to clean it up; I scrubbed the rubber seal with bleach and left bleach gel sitting on black spots, I pulled out the soap drawer and cleaned the inside of the compartment with bleach, and I continued to run bleach through cycle after cycle. I was actually on YouTube researching how to take washing machines apart to clean them when I came across this video. What I learned is pretty gross, but has made an important difference for me.
Liquid detergent is the reason your front load washer is smelly. Yes, the product that you buy to clean your clothes is actually making your washing machine dirty, and over time that is going to make your clothes dirty too. This is because there are animal fats in liquid laundry detergent. The byproduct of these fats is the slimy black residue that builds up in the cracks and crevices of your washing machine. It builds up in the drum, too; it’s just harder to notice until your whites start to become dingy.
I was throughly disgusted to learn about this, but luckily, there is a solution. To clean the greasy animal fat byproduct out of your washer, all you need is powdered dishwasher detergent. Fill the drum or soap tray up with a hefty amount of powdered dishwasher detergent and then run the (empty) washing machine on a wash setting with the hottest water temperature. (Don’t use the “clean washer” setting, because that will rinse the soap out too quickly and you need it to swish around for a while.) Repeat this 1-6 times… Just keep checking the parts that were dirty before and stop running cycles when everything is clean. It took me 3 cycles with the dishwashing powder followed by 1 cycle with just bleach to feel like my washer was truly clean. Any actual stains will need a little bleach and elbow grease, but the washer will be noticeably cleaner.
To keep this from happening again, you have to switch from liquid laundry detergent to powdered. I honestly wasn’t even sure if my local Target had powdered detergent, but they do! And from my experience, its cleaning power seems to be quite a bit stronger than liquid detergent. This could also be because my washer is now so clean! Either way, the new setup is working well!
Powdered detergent will leave some residue as well, but it will be a fine talcum powder substance instead of a sticky, greasy, dirty black film. I definitely prefer the former.
My results have been great. I can tell a big difference in the cleanliness of my washer, and it seems to be staying clean as well since I had been using the powdered detergent. My clothes also seem to smell cleaner, probably because I got rid of the washing machine mustiness! I also think that the powdered detergent is quite a bit stronger than liquid.
I still plan on running the dishwasher powder through the machine every month or so, and I always am sure to leave the door of the washer open after a cycle to let the drum and rubber seal air dry. These two habits should prevent further mold and buildup. Also, it is important to note that liquid fabric softeners contain the same animal fats as liquid detergent, and should be avoided to keep your washer clean in the future. I am a little sad about that, so I’m on the hunt for an alternative.
Feel free to ask me any questions! Below is the original video where I learned most of the above facts.