It is an unforeseen and annoying state of affairs, but washers – the thing that washes and cleans all your clothes – get dirty, and you should also wash them.
A dirty washer is not something most people are conscious about, but you need to reshape your mindset around the appliance.
The good news is cleaning a top load washer is as annoying or therapeutic (your feelings are valid) as doing the washing itself, so the process should be familiar.
When Should You Clean Top Load Washers?
Knowing that you need to clean your top load washer is one thing; knowing when to clean it is another.
How Washers Get Dirty
As you wash your clothes, the dirt and stains that leave the clothes do not wash away with the water when it drains. They leave residue in the crevices that pile up on subsequent wash cycles. Ignoring the built-up residue in the washer will change its efficiency and cause other problems.
The Different Residue
Some residues that can build up in the washer are mold, grime, hard water minerals, detergent, fabric softener, etc.
Washers that Get Residue
Although top load washers don’t have as much residue as front load washers, they can still get them. High-efficiency washers are more prone to dirt build-up because the washer uses less water as a means of conservation, meaning there is even less water to rinse away the residue.
How Often Should You Clean Top Load Washers?
Frequent washer use requires more cleaning sessions and vice versa for less frequent washer use.
Do a cleaning session weekly, fortnightly, or monthly; it should be easy as most washers have a preformatted cleaning cycle. The cleaning cycle is sufficient to keep the washer clean temporarily.
However, severe deep cleaning is suitable for eliminating residue and gunk from every crevice in the washer, leaving it sparkling clean. Deep clean the washer twice or thrice a year to keep it clean, but in a safe way to avoid damage due to powerful cleaning agents.
What Happens if you Don’t Clean the Washer
Even if you don’t see the dirt, it is still there, and that thought alone is disgusting. Dirty washers can also create funky smells that will not leave by simply airing them out. These smells might transfer to the clothes.
The residue can transfer to the clothes during the wash cycle, making your clothes dirtier than they appear.
Infrequent cleaning can also cause clogging of the drain pipes and the detergent dispenser. The worst-case scenario about clogging is it can cause severe permanent damage or get you high repair costs.
How to Clean Top Load Washer
The procedure for cleaning a top load washer is straightforward. Select the recommended or preferred water temperature, cleaning agents, and cleaning tools.
Read the instruction manual to ascertain the proper way to clean the washer and the specific items allowed in the cleaning process.
Empty the washer before you start cleaning it. The emptying doesn’t just apply to the laundry load – although that is the most crucial – it also applies to the detergent and other additives in the dispenser. If possible, remove everything on top of the washer as well.
Soak the Top Load Washer
Soaking is a vital part of any cleaning process; it allows the cleaning agents time to lift and remove the dirt. The cleaning of top load washers also requires this step.
- Fill up the tub
Start filling the tub with the hottest water temperature the washer will allow. Hot water is the recommended temperature when deep cleaning the washer to remove all the grime and residue.
Fill the tub to the top where the water level sensor indicates.
- Pour in cleaning agents.
Choose your preferred cleaning agent carefully as there are many kinds. There are natural homemade cleaning agents and store-bought ones.
The cleaning agents do the main work of removing residue from the crevices of the washer, getting to the source of the odor, and deodorizing to leave the washer smelling fresh and looking clean.
Pour a good store-bought washer cleaner into the tub or use a more natural approach by mixing one cup of vinegar and ½ cup of baking soda and pouring it inside the tub.
Do not add bleach when using vinegar; the two items mix to produce toxic fumes. Adding bleach during this cleaning session is vital for a more thorough deep cleaning. Check the instruction manual to ensure and proceed with the recommended quantity. Use protective gloves when working with bleach.
Hydrogen Peroxide is a fantastic bleach alternative.
- Leave the Washer to Soak.
The cleaning mixture should soak in the washer for an hour. During this time, the cleaning agent will lift the residue from the washer, making it easy to wash away during the wash cycle.
Wash the Top Load Washer
- Clean the Detergent Dispenser
Most top-loaders have a removable detergent dispenser. Remove the dispenser and soak it in a bowl of hot water and your preferred cleaning agent.
After soaking for 20 minutes, use a soft brush to gently scrub the dispenser, especially the crevices where the residue hides.
However, if the detergent dispenser is not removable, pour the mixture of hot water and cleaning agent into the dispenser and let it soak for 20 minutes before scrubbing it with a soft brush.
- Clean the Top Load Lid and Filter
The bottom part of the lid cover houses plenty of residues. Dip a microfiber towel into a bowl of hot water and a cleaning agent, and thoroughly clean the bottom of the lid cover.
Remove the filter and scrub with an old brush, hot water, and the preferred cleaning agent.
- Clean the Outside of the Washer
Fill a bowl with hot water and the preferred cleaning agent. Dip a microfiber towel inside the mixture and use it to clean the outside of the washer.
- Run the Wash Cycle
When you finish cleaning the detergent dispenser and the lid, the hour for soaking the tub must be over.
Run the lengthiest wash cycle available on the washer. After the wash cycle ends, run an extra rinse or shorter wash cycle with one cup of vinegar.
- Wipe the Washer
Use a microfiber towel to wipe the length and breadth of the washer and the outer parts.
Leave the lid open, letting air in to freshen the washer.
Care Tips for Top Load Washers
After thoroughly cleaning your top load washer, it is vital to know how to maintain it; so it doesn’t become so dirty again.
- Do Not Overload the Washer
Overloading the washer doesn’t give it much room to properly function, leading to a build-up of residue on the clothes and in the washer.
- Leave the Lid Door Open
Leave the lid door open after every wash cycle so it can properly dry. Leaving the lid door open regularly also allows air to circulate, preventing the formation of mildew and sanitizing the washer.
- Regular Cleaning
Clean the detergent dispenser, bottom of the lid, and the rubber attached to the washer weekly or fortnightly to maintain their cleanliness.
This frequent cleaning reduces the need for deep cleaning, although you should deep clean twice or thrice every year even if you don’t see physical signs of a dirty washer.
- Don’t Leave Laundry in the Washer.
Remove your freshly washed laundry load immediately after the wash cycle ends so the washer can start drying.
Leaving the laundry load in the washer for too long can cause color bleeding, which can cause damage.
- Use the Recommended Amount of Detergent
Don’t pour excess laundry detergent during the wash cycle, especially with high-efficiency washers. The water will not remove all the detergent, and residue will remain, making it dirty.