It’s the season of spring cleaning again, when closets, bedrooms, attics and the whole house get organized and scrubbed clean, but what about your large appliances like your washing machine? They wash your clothes at least every week, but just like those tubs and sinks, washing machines need regular cleaning, too, despite being regularly exposed to the soap and water that comes with washing your laundry.

Over time, detergent residue, dirt, soap scum and mold build up in the machine, resulting in odors. Cleaning your washing machine will help it last longer and guarantee a clean and quality wash for your clothes, every load. Of course, check the owner’s manual before cleaning your washing machine.

To sanitize the machine, you’ll need baking soda, vinegar, and a sponge. For top load washing machine, use 4 cups vinegar and 1 cup baking soda. For a front load machine, use 2 cups vinegar and ½ cup baking soda or the recommended washing machine cleaner tablets, such as Affresh tablets.

For a top load, set the machine at its hottest and largest setting. When it is filled up with water, add the vinegar and baking soda, and then let it run the whole cycle.

 For a front load, add the baking soda in the drum and the vinegar in the dispenser. Set the machine at its hottest and largest setting and let it got the whole cycle.

When it finishes the cycle, wipe out the drum and the inside of the machine, picking up any leftover residue. Don’t forget to also clean the exterior of the machine using a damp cloth.

However, the best way to prevent mildew growth and smell in a front load washer is to opt for models that utilize stainless steel for the outer tub. Inexpensive models use plastic for this key component and, as we all know, plastic surfaces give mold and mildew a prime area to grow. Look for front load units that have stainless steel inner and outer tubs and an anti-microbial rubber for the door seal.

Being all squeaky clean, your washing machine is now ready to continue cleaning and washing your clothes with its best quality work.