Tips for getting Clean using your Front Loading Washer
You love the sleek look of your washer and you've happily enjoyed its quiet running for weeks now. Ahhhh. But wait, there are a few things that are not coming out as clean and maybe, dare I say, funky? Like my husband's workout shirt and my kids' socks - whewie!
Let's fix all that with some simple steps.
1. Workout shirts are now touted as holding up to a sweaty workout and not weighing you down like a wet cotton shirt. But then you go to wash it in your water-saving washing machine and it doesn't come out clean, and then seems to get worse after each workout and wash.
And this is why: the shirt is not even getting wet in the low-water wash. The polyester or other synthetic fibers that make the shirt workout-worthy actually repel water. You can easily fix this in two ways. First soak all funky clothes, the ones that have been washed but are on the verge of mildew or are already mildewed, in the sink with warm water and vinegar. Notice how hard it is to get the items to be WET! The fibers repel the water and so you have to work to get them wet. Now it starts to make sense why the machine is having trouble. Look at how the water just beads up on the synthetic fibers! It only got wet when I squeezed it with a full sink of water.
Next, wash all such items on your highest water setting on your washing machine. I know, you are trying to save water, but if you end up tossing nasty clothes or rewashing trying to get the funk out, changing one cycle ends up saving water. Mine has a "comforter" setting which is the one that adds the most water to the cycle. This allows all the items to actually get wet and then washed in the front loader. Add vinegar to your wash occasionally or as needed to get rid of any funky smells just not in the same wash as bleach, they react. The vinegar washes out, the clean clothes will smell fresh, not like vinegar.
2. Clean your washing machine. Stores sell washing machine cleaners but honestly I cannot stand the smell they leave so I simply wash on hot with bleach and maybe some cleaning cloths that are a bonus to be extra clean.
3. Leave the door open every night. This is a problem at my house, I forget. The washing machine door is next to the garage door and someone shuts it, that one time I remember. But try. When I have washed the last load of the day, I take a cloth and dry the door and the rubber gasket. Then, any water that still drips from the gasket evaporates quickly and both the gasket and the inside of the washer dry out. Dry=Clean(er). The funky smells don't get a chance to grow in a dry washing machine.
Did you forget to leave the door open for so long that your rubber gasket is nasty looking and maybe should be replaced? And it makes you want to close the door even more!? You can fix that too. Soak a cloth with a 50-50 mix of bleach and water, wear gloves as bleach will eat through your skin! Take the cloth and tuck it into the rubber gasket in the front of the washer and let it soak. Tuck as many as you need to cover the mildewed/black/whatever and try to shut the door to clean the door as well. After half an hour or so, scrub out the gasket and it is starting to look fresh! Soak cloths again and tuck them in and repeat until your rubber seal is looking nice. Be sure to get the top where the water comes in. After a couple of hand cleanings, run the washer with bleach, dry everything after the cycle and leave the door open. You will be amazed at the difference. Keep leaving the door open, drying out the rubber gasket and it will get cleaner. You may need to repeat the process if yours has gotten really bad but in my experience, it is clean enough now that I don't need to think about replacing a $300 washing machine part!
4. I use a washing powder that I mix up about once a month, and I have blogged about it here. This detergent is just right, leaving clothes clean and fresh without a lot of chemicals, smells or money. I do add vinegar to loads about half the time and I wash cotton sheets on hot about once a month with a splash of bleach.
Simple is better most of the time, these tips are very simple and you can incorporate them today!