How to Clean and Sanitize Your Washing Machine and Dryer

March 22, 2021

Washer/Dryer Sanitizing 101

Are you one of the many Colorado Springs homeowners who take their trusted appliances for granted? Don’t feel bad. Like the proverbial squeaky wheel that gets no attention, many of us forget that our appliances need a little TLC until they are not working properly. But, knowing how to properly clean our appliances is vital to keeping these essential home amenities running efficiently. Here’s why you should thoroughly clean and sanitize your washing machine and dryer, and how to get the job done.

Why Sanitize Your Washing Machine and Dryer

There are three good reasons to periodically clean and sanitize your washing machine and dryer. Yes, it keeps the appliances looking good as new. But aesthetics aren’t the only reason to add this task to your to-do list. First, a thorough cleaning helps your appliances run more efficiently, which can prolong their useful life and even save you money on repair and utility bills.

Second, clean washers and dryers will also give you better performance, meaning your clothes will come out cleaner, smelling better, and will be less wrinkled.

Finally, you might prevent some safety hazards just by keeping your washing machine and dryer clean and sanitized.

You might like: What Are the Benefits of Repairing Old Appliances vs. Replacing?

How to Sanitize a Washing Machine

How you sanitize your washing machine will vary depending on whether it is a top-loading or front-loading machine.

Top-Loading Washing Machine

Cleaning and sanitizing your top-loading washing machine involves first removing the detergent dispenser. Wash the dispenser with soapy water to get rid of fabric softener residue and detergent build-up, and return it to the washing machine. Next, fill your empty washing machine with one cup of bleach and hot water. Let it sit for an hour and then run a single cleaning cycle.

Once the cycle is complete, refill the washer with one to two cups of white vinegar and hot water, let it sit for an hour, and run another cleaning cycle. Then, run a final cleaning cycle with just hot water.

Front-Loading Washers

A common cleaning issue with front-loading washers is that mold can form around the door seal. This mold results in a musty odor within the appliance.

You can sanitize a front-loading washer by mixing nine parts water and one part bleach to clean the door seal with a small brush, such as a toothbrush.

Once finished, use the same solution and methods mentioned for top-loading machines to clean the interior of the machine and the detergent dispenser. (Some front-loading washing machines have an option for cleaning on the control panel. If the washing machine does not have this option, choose the largest load size and hottest water options and proceed as directed above.)

How to Clean Your Clothes Dryer

Cleaning a dryer can be slightly more involved than cleaning a washing machine. But, routine cleaning is a vital exercise because lint can become flammable. Thus, you should put the following maintenance process on your home maintenance schedule once or twice per year. Here are the steps to clean your dryer:

  • Unplug the dryer and disconnect any gas supply to the appliance.
  • Remove the discharge hose from the back of the dryer. Then, shake it out to remove any debris.
  • If you feel comfortable using basic tools, unscrew the dryer’s back panel and remove it. Then, vacuum out any lint and debris. Replace the panel.
  • Empty the lint trap, and, if possible, unscrew and remove it from the dryer. Vacuum or clean out any excess debris in that space. Then re-attach the lint trap.
  • Thoroughly wipe down the drum with an all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth.
  • Re-attach the discharge hose, plug your dryer back in, and reconnect the gas supply if applicable.

Reliable Appliance Repair Services in Colorado Springs

If you clean and sanitize your washing machine and dryer and the performance of the appliances does not improve, don’t rush to replace them, rather consider repairing them instead. At Reliable Appliance Repair, we’ve been helping customers throughout the Colorado Springs area with friendly and high-quality appliance repair services for over two decades. Contact us today for an appointment or an appliance repair quote.