Non-toxic cleaning methods for different types of washing machines
Have you been noticing that your clothes smell a little funny or there is a bad smell coming from your laundry room? Or maybe there are some green spots around the door of your washing machine? Well it might be time to clean your washing machine! If you search up conventional ways of cleaning your washing machine, many times those methods call for bleach and other harsh chemicals that can cause harm to our environment and our health. Instead of using harsh chemicals to clean your washing machine, try out a few of the methods we recommend that use safe and natural cleaners!
Three ways to clean your washing machine
1. Vinegar and baking soda
Vinegar is a strong acid that works really well to dissolve mineral deposits, dirt, grease, grime, and can even kill bacteria. And baking soda is a great deodorizer and works as a gentile abrasive to help get rid of hard water grime.
- Turn your washing machine to the hottest and longest cycle. Then add four cups of distilled white vinegar and let the cycle run for about a minute.
- After a minute or until the vinegar is mixed with the water, stop the cycle and let the water sit for about an hour.
- While you wait, it's time to tackle the rest of the washing machine. Take a cloth and some vinegar and wipe down the lid and the outside of the washer.
- It's also a good time to clean the seal if your top loader has one. Take some straight vinegar and pour it directly into the seal and scrub until all the mold or mildew comes out. For some extra disinfection and a great smell, you can mix 10 drops of an essential oil, like lemon or eucalyptus, with the vinegar to clean the seal.
- Once that first cycle is completely over, restart the cycle and pour a cup of baking soda into the drum. Once the second cycle is complete leave the lid open to completely dry the drum (1).
- Start by cleaning the seal using straight white vinegar. Feel free to add drops of essential oils like lemon or eucalyptus oil for a great smell and some added disinfection.
- Scrub all of the mold, soap scum, and possibly hair out of that seal. Make sure you pull it all the way back so you can clean every inch!
- Start your hottest cycle and then pour 2 cups of vinegar into the detergent dispenser.
- Once that cycle is finished start another cycle by putting ½ cup of baking soda in the drum and running the same hot water cycle.
- Finally wash the outside of the washing machine with vinegar and a cloth and use vinegar to scrub and clean out the detergent tray (1).
- Leave the door open to let the drum fully dry out.
If you are concerned that vinegar can damage the seal of your washing machine, you can either dilute the vinegar or completely rinse off the seal with a wet cloth to avoid any potential corrosion. If you are still not sure about using vinegar, check out one of the other methods we recommend!
2. Non chlorinated bleach
Non-chlorinated bleach is a much safer alternative to the traditional bleach. It doesn't contain chlorine which can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs (5). This type of bleach is still a great disinfectant so this might be a great solution if your washer has a lot of mold or mildew buildup. We love the brand seventh generation non-chlorine bleach!
- Select the hottest and longest cycle and pour ¾ cup of non-chlorinated bleach into the drum and run the cycle for one minute. Open the lid to let the water/bleach sit in the drum for about an hour. Then complete the cycle.
- Clean the outside of the machine using a mixture of water and bleach or a non-toxic all purpose cleaner and use a cloth to wipe down the outside.
- If your top loader has a seal, pour a small amount of the non-chlorinated bleach and scrub all of the gunk out and make sure to wipe it out until it's dry (2).
- Leave the lid open to let the drum fully dry out.
- To clean the door seal, pour some bleach straight on the seal and scrub all of the mold and stains off. Pull the seal all the way back to get all of the gunk out!
- Using a mixture of water and bleach or an non-toxic all purpose cleaner, use a cloth to wipe down the outside and also scrub out the detergent tray to get rid of all of the residue and mold.
- Next select the hottest and longest cycle and pour ¾ cup of non-chlorinated bleach into the detergent tray and run the cycle (2).
- Leave the door open to let the drum fully dry out.
3. Washing soda
Washing soda is a popular cleaning additive that is great for removing stains, dissolving grease, softening water, and getting rid of unpleasant smells. It's definitely worth picking some of this up! We love the brand Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda!
For both washer types:
- Dissolve some washing soda in some hot water and scrub the seal if you have one. If you have a really dirty seal, try using one of the other methods after you scrub and rinse off the washing soda, which helps to loosen some of the grime..
- Select the hottest and longest cycle and pour 2 cups of washing soda into the drum and run the cycle.
- Make sure to clean the rest of the washing machine by dissolving some washing soda in water and wiping it down with a cloth (3).
Tips for keeping a clean washing machine
- Keep the lids/doors open always so the moisture can dry.
- After the seal is cleaned, you can help prevent mold growth by wiping the seal down with a non-toxic all purpose cleaner weekly. This will prevent mold and grime from building up!
- To clean a fabric softener dispenser, pour boiling water on it and scrub until all of the built up residue is gone. For a non-toxic fabric softener option, check out some of the brands we recommend!
- Switching to powdered laundry detergent has been known to reduce the smell coming for your laundry machine. Bonus, powdered laundry detergent does not contain preservatives like liquid laundry detergent. Check out some of the brands we recommend!