How to: Clean Your Washing Machine and Dryer

As I have previously mentioned, I genuinely enjoy doing the laundry and getting my very own washer and dryer was one of the best days of my life. My parents taught me how to clean a house from top to bottom at an early age; they taught me how to sort the laundry, how to remove stubborn stains and how to use the laundry machines. Unfortunately, they neglected to teach me one important thing: how to clean the laundry machines themselves. To rectify this oversight, I scoured the internet and all of my housekeeping tip books, donned my rubber gloves and learned how to keep those glorious machines clean, fresh and running smoothly.

Washer and Dryer
My Dream Laundry Machines


First, we clean the exterior surfaces of both machines. To do this you will need a clean cloth, a spray bottle filled with an all-purpose spray and a vacuum cleaner. You simply wipe down every side and surface of the machines with the cloth and all-purpose spray. A soft cloth that you would normally use for dusting works well. Then you use the vacuum cleaner to clean behind and underneath the machines, paying special attention to the power cord and outlet where it is plugged in. Removing lint, dust and cobwebs from these areas can help reduce the risk of an electrical fire later on down the road.

Next we clean the interior of the washing machine. For regularly scheduled cleaning, you will need a cup of white vinegar for general cleaning, or a cup of bleach for removal of stains, or a cup of lemon juice for rust. Add one of these options and run the largest load cycle, using hot water. If more than one of these problems exists, run a second load using another one of the cleaning agents. It is never a good idea to mix cleaning chemicals. If your machine has removable parts like a fabric softener or bleach dispenser, remove them and soak in a bucket of warm water to loosen the built up grime. Then, wipe clean with a cloth and all-purpose spray, place on a towel to dry and return them to your machine once dry. If you simply notice that your washing machine has a residue or an odour after washing a particularly dirty load of laundry, work clothes for example, you can wipe the machine out with  a damp cloth instead of running a cleaning cycle every time you do a load of extra-dirty laundry. Don’t forget to remove the “lint nuggets” that build up regularly as these can stick to your clean clothes or clog the draining apparatus.

Now for the dryer, which is where I find most problems to appear and cleaning concerns to lie. The most common cleaning issues being melted crayon, ink stains and forgotten candy or gum that has now applied itself to the drum of your dryer. For general, routine cleaning of your dryer, wash the drum with a clean cloth and hot soapy water, rinse with a second clean cloth and clean water then dry with a third cloth. If you find that your dryer has what appears to be melted crayon or wax stuck to the inside of the drum, first scrap off what you can with a ridged piece of plastic like a credit card or spatula, then using WD-40, sprayed directly on a rag, spraying it into the dryer can cause a fire hazard later if the WD-40 should happen to be sprayed though any of the ventilation holes, and wipe down the area you scraped the crayon wax from. Next follow the standard cleaning procedure (wash, rinse, dry) paying special attention to the areas wiped with WD-40. Make sure to leave the dryer door open after you are done cleaning so that it can dry more thoroughly and any fumes created by the WD-40 can dissipate before the next time you use your dryer. Failing to do so can, again, result in a fire hazard. If your problem is with ink stains, first try removing them with a clean cloth and all-purpose spray, if that does not work, use rubbing alcohol. Then follow the standard cleaning procedure, paying special attention to the areas where rubbing alcohol was used. Again, leave the dryer door open when you are finished. If you have deduced that the troubling smear on your dryer drum is composed of candy or gum, use a blow dryer on hot air setting, held six inches from candy or gum to loosen it. Then scrap it off with a credit card or spatula and wipe clean with a cloth and all-purpose spray. Follow up with the standard cleaning procedure.

Gum in the dryer
Gum in My Poor Dryer


Now that your washing machine and dryer are squeaky clean, they can turn out cleaner clothes with greater efficiency.