First of all, I PURPOSELY let my washer get that nasty just so I could test cleaning methods.I do NOT normally let my washer get that nasty.
That disclaimer aside, it’s actually fairly easy to clean out a dirty/moldy front-load washer despite how stubborn that mold can be. On my first attempt, I just used regular cleaner. It didn’t matter how hard I scrubbed, the mold didn’t go anywhere. I swear, I could have taken a knife to it to scrape, and I would have had to remove the rubber to remove the mold. But….I found a method that works! I already knew bleach was going to be necessary. But “Clean and Scentsible” showed me the towel idea.
Thus, I present….how to a clean a front load washer with a minimum of effort.
Note this is not effortless….just doesn’t require a lot of effort. The key to getting that nasty mold out is soaking. And how do you soak a washer, you might ask? Isn’t it always wet? (First appreciate my before and after pics, then I’ll tell you how it works; I took them in different lighting, hence the different shades).
Supplies you’re going to need:
- 5 gallon bucket
- Large white bath towel
- Smaller white clothes for cleaning
- 1 large bottle bleach
- 3 C. vinegar
1. We’re going to start with the bleach. In the 5 gallon bucket dump the bleach and an equal amount of HOT water. (You will probably want to wear gloves). Use smaller white cloths and scrub up what easily comes up. (Don’t forget the door!). Put some effort into it, but don’t break your arm trying to force off what isn’t going to come off.
2. Then, soak the large white bath towel in the bucket. Pull it out, and wring it out slightly. Lengthwise- put half of the towel under the gasket seal, and drape the remaining half over the outside part. (The picture below is actually AFTER my washer was clean…I forgot to snap a picture mid-cleaning, but realized a visual was needed as I was trying to explain this!).
I must credit the towel idea to blogger “Clean and Scentssible.“ She does the whole process a bit differently, but please pop on over, say ‘hi,’ and tell her I sent you! I would not have thought of this. I had thought of soaking the area for 30 min to and hour, but had some up blank on how to do so (except for soaking paper towels and then taping them…wasn’t fond of, but it might have worked).
3. Let sit 30 minutes. Pull out and quick scrub again. The situation should be much improved. If need be, re-soak the bath towel, put it back in gasket (and over outside part) and let sit another 30 minutes. With as nasty as I let mine get, I did have to let it soak twice. Quick scrub again.
4. Here’s my personal trick and it worked great! Put all the towels you’ve used in the washer. Dump the remaining bleach and water from the bucket in the washer (the part where you put the clothes!). Run through a complete cycle on the hottest setting. All that bleach and hot water will clean up any last bits of “mold” as well as getting some impossible to reach places. As you can see, some slight discoloration on the gasket might be permanent. But trust me, it’s completely clean.
5. After the cycle is done, pull out the towels. Shake a little. Toss the towels back in, pour 3 cups vinegar in the washer, and run through another cycle on the hottest setting. Done!
While my advice is good for that rubber ring around a front-load washing machine, you might have more questions. Here is an EXCELLENT ARTICLE on everything about how to clean a washing machine: How to Clean Your Washing Machine. It goes into cleaning each part, what to use, and more!