How to Clean a Top Load Washer
Here is a chore that almost no one takes seriously. I’m about to show you photos that will change your mind about that. There are things lurking in your washing machine that you may not know about. Read on to learn how to clean a top load washer. Front loaders are an entirely different animal that need a post all their own. I am still looking for a volunteer to allow me in to clean and photograph theirs. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, I have allowed my poor machine to go 6 months without a good cleaning just for this post. I awoke today almost gleeful to get this job done. You see, I love my washer. I used to have a front loader that I loathed. It always smelled dirty and my clothes were not coming all that clean. I waited eagerly for it to break so that we could go back to a good-old top loader. The day finally came and to my chagrin, machines aren’t made like they used to be. I wanted one that filled all the way up and had a good agitator. Those are hard to find. Most are water efficient (aka…don’t fill enough to clean anything, IMHO). But! We did find one. I HIGHLY recommend the Speed Queen commercial washer (no, not coin operated). She is a hard worker. Does a beautiful job. Start to finish, double load, extra long wash, still done in under 30 minutes. Spins till things are 70% dry so that my dryer doesn’t have to work so hard. MUAH! Love her. So.. here we go.
under the rim when you PULL it to the side. It has some play to it for when it spins.
OH! But that’s not all. That’s what we can see easily. Ever smell a disgusting sewer smell coming from your machine and wonder where it’s coming from?
Remove the dispenser cup. Gross eh? Now some of those cups act like they don’t come off. Maybe some don’t, but I haven’t met one yet that I couldn’t unclip. This is why you want to be sure you try to do that. That’s moldy softener and detergent build up. There are little holes in that tube so that water can enter and pick up the dispensed softener. Only problem is that it doesn’t always get out of there. It cakes up. You have to go in and get it out of there. Ideally once every month or two.
OK, so what do we do about all this? Simple fix.
First, (1a) either clean that dispenser cup in place (if you absolutely can’t remove it) by filling with very hot, almost boiling water and a few drops of laundry detergent. Stir it up and let it sit for 20 minutes. Then get your wire brush in there and scrape all the much off. Clean the outside with foam bathroom cleaner.
OR(1b) the preferred method: Take that cup outta there. Throw it in the sink with extremely hot water and some Dawn dish soap to soak for 20 minutes. Then get your wire brush and clean it inside and out. Rinse and dry. Viola. That part’s done.
Next (2) I use Dow Scrubby Bubbles foaming bathroom cleaner because it cuts through soap build up. I spray everything.
and wipe. Spray and wipe under every rim and in every nook and cranny. I use the end of a utensil wrapped in the wash cloth to get into tight spaces.
Now that disgusting moldy thing. (3) you have to attack that baby from multiple angles. First, get the top layer of crud off with some scrubby bubbles. Scrub what you can with a brush. I also have a rubber spatula that I have just for this purpose. Sometimes I also wedge a washcloth down there. Eventually I always use the wire brush. Get everything you can off of there. You won’t get it all yet. Just do the best you can.
Then set your machine to HOT water and fill the tub with a tiny bit of laundry detergent. It will fill that tube almost to the top. As it fills, scrub.
Keep scrubbing. Then allow the rinse cycle to run. Stop it JUST BEFORE THE SPIN CYCLE.
You will note that there is still a bit of scum in there. That is likely big clumps that couldn’t get out of the little holes to wash away. You make still have to scrape a bit off, but it should fall off easily.
Once at the bottom, use a spoon or any other implement to scoop that out of there. Then allow the washer to finish it’s cycle.
Before you put that softener cup back on, take a look inside. Note the Fill Line. It is in there. Look for it. THAT is where you are supposed to fill the softener/water mixture to. Not higher. Otherwise, your machine is caking up needlessly, and your clothes are building up a residue that is making them get dirtier faster.
You don’t want to do that.
OK, put that baby back where it belongs. Then wipe out the inside of your washer. Little bits of lint and softener pieces will still be in there because they were too large to wash away. Wipe those all out of there.
Wipe down the exterior.
Lastly, change any filters you may have installed (we always install one. It costs under $50 and saves a small fortune on hard water, sand, or if you have city water, rust stains when they decide to flush the pipes but not tell you.) You should also check your hoses and replace those with stainless steel braided hoses. (If you’ve ever had a hose rupture, you know why.)
Now enjoy your clean machine! Plan to do all that every couple of months.