I Had No Idea I Was Supposed To 'Wash' The Washing Machine

by Clint Edwards
Originally Published: 
Scary Mommy and Serdar Acar/EyeEm/Getty

We own a top loading washing machine. I don’t know the brand or the color, but what I do know is that I personally wash several loads a week in that sucker. And I’ve done so for the past seven or so years, ever since it was delivered by a sweaty and slightly disgruntled deliveryman. But to be perfectly honest, I don’t think all that much about my washing machine.

And I know some of you reading this will be like “typical… a man writing an article about washing machines who doesn’t really think much about washing machines.” But let’s get one thing straight, I do the laundry in our house. I have a horrible love affair with laundry, washing, and drying, and folding, and ending with the part I hate most, putting it away. I think a lot about laundry actually, I just don’t think all that much about the washing machine outside of hoping that it lasts a few more years because, frankly, I don’t have the money to buy another one.

Thus, when I read an article in Southern Living about deep cleaning your washing machine, I realized that maybe, just maybe, I have been neglecting that charming little white box I spend so much time hunched over each week.

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I’m going to hope this is a safe place, because here comes a confession… I don’t think I’ve ever deep cleaned my washing machine. At least not to the level that is described in the above-mentioned Southern Living article. I have run vinegar through it. I have wiped off the outside of it because it got dusty. I have run a cycle on hot with white vinegar because it smelled a little “off.” But I have never, not once, taking anything apart, looked inside, and scrubbed.

Maybe, just maybe, I have been neglecting that charming little white box I spend so much time hunched over each week.

I don’t even know what that looks like or how to accomplish it, and frankly I’ve had this sucker for several years. It’s been moved to three different residences, and I’m seriously wondering what might be living inside it. And as I write, I’m starting to understand why this “cleaning your washing machine” article in Southern Living was written anonymously. The author mentioned that they hadn’t ever deep cleaned their washing machine either, which makes me feel strength in numbers. But they also described mold, pet hair, and having to hold their breath during the process.

YIKES. I have no idea what I’m in for.

For those of you wondering what it takes to deep clean your washing machine, here’s an informative video.

Keep in mind that it isn’t as complicated at it sounds. Essentially, you need to clean the detergent and softener drawer. This is often removable, so you can scrub out the layers and layers of old detergent in the sink. Or take it outside and hit it with the garden hose, like I often do with our car seats. Clean the gasket with an old rag and some vinegar. Make sure you do this in a ventilated area. I know getting proper ventilation can be tricky in some laundry rooms. Personally, I can’t seem to ever get enough air while doing laundry, but honestly, I don’t know how much that has to do with our laundry room, as opposed to the simple fact that I’m pushing 40 and out of shape and laundry stresses me out.

You will also need to clean the interior of the door and the exterior of the machine. Lastly, if your washer has a filter, you should clean that. In fact, you are supposed to clean that filter every two months, but let’s not talk about that. I still respect you.

Naturally, cleaning your washing machine should make it last longer, which is ultimately a good thing. I assume there are some people out there who get really excited about buying new appliances, but I, for one, am not about it. I have a hard enough time just paying for kids’ sports. But more importantly, your washing machine is cleaning all sorts of nasty out of your clothing. If you have children or pets, as I do, the nastiness that your washer is exposed to goes up exponentially. My preteen might as well be wearing napkin pants, if you get my drift.

Now, I know some people are going to talk about how they clean their washing machine every day and anyone who doesn’t is nasty and should be put on an isolated island with other people who don’t clean their washing machines. And to those people, I say: good for you.

But for the rest of us, I want you to all realize that if you’ve never deep cleaned your washing machine, I’m not here to judge you. I don’t have a leg to stand on. This is only a recommendation.

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