Why You Should Flush Your Washing Machine

clean washing machine


The washing machine has one purpose in life: to wash. Surprisingly, although the washing machine constantly fills itself with soapy water, it gets dirty too. That’s why the rule is simple: when you flush washing machine, cleaner clothes come out of washing machine – and washing machine lives longer.

Your Washing Machine Is Dirty

We’re not trying to pick a fight by writing such bold words. But unless you regularly flush your washer, the appliance is bound to accumulate residues from detergent and hard water.

That doesn’t sound too bad, but it gets worse. The films formed by those residues work like bacteria traps, retaining many of the microorganisms you specifically wash your clothes to get rid of. Bacteria flourish in hot and damp environments, which means they thrive inside washers where they gum up mechanical components and produce foul odors. (Washers kept within damp and humid environments, such as sheds, garages and the American South, are even better breeding grounds for bacteria.)

At their worst, bacteria will make you sick. Germs like E. coli and salmonella are potentially deadly – especially to those who have compromised immune systems – and deserve immediate eradication.

This all begs the question:

How Often Should You Flush Your Washing Machine?

Flush your washer once a month. If you clean your washer less frequently than that, you’ll have a harder time removing caked on residues when you finally do get around to it. You should also stick to a monthly washer cleaning schedule because bacteria put rabbits to shame in the reproduction department. Under optimal conditions, a single E. coli bacterium is able to make one million copies of itself in just seven hours!

You may decide to flush your washer more often if you notice brownish or blackish streaks around its opening’s rim. Those streaks are bacteria, which we have already made our case against.

How to Flush Your Washing Machine

First pick the product you will clean your washer with. Bleach immediately comes to mind, as it kills 99.99 percent of bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately bleach also smells offensive, is highly toxic, and is not suitable for houses with septic tanks.

You should use simple white vinegar instead. It only kills about 80 percent of household germs, but that is still antiseptic enough to make short work of washer residue. Vinegar also eliminates foul odors. If you would like vinegar to gnaw away residue even more effectively, simply mix it with baking soda.

With your cleaning chemical determined, it’s time to flush your washing machine in six easy steps.

  1. Clean the door seals and gasket. Begin by soaking rags or towels with cleaning agent and thoroughly swabbing every part of the washer’s seals and gasket. Leave these areas damp for about an hour so the cleaning chemical has time to loosen residue and disinfect. Wipe the seals and gasket dry afterward.
  2. Set a large, long and hot wash cycle. Set your washer to its largest load size, longest cycle, and hottest water temperature settings – but don’t start it just yet.
  3. Add chemicals. If you have chosen to use vinegar and baking soda, the correct method of application depends on your washing machine.
    1. For a front-loading washer, add 4 cups of white vinegar to the detergent dispenser and a half cup of baking soda to the fabric softener dispenser. Then run the cycle.
    2. For a top-loading washer, begin running the cycle before adding anything to the spin basket. After about 5 minutes, add 4 cups of vinegar. Wait 1 minute, and then pause the cycle for 1 hour. When the washer finally begins its rinse cycle, add a half cup of baking soda.
  4. Wipe down the interior of the washer.
  5. Run another cycle. You may add a few tablespoons of vinegar to the second cycle for added effect. Once the second cycle has finished, keep the door open so the basket can fully dry.
  6. Clean the rest of the washer. Wipe down the interior of the lid, the rim of the tub, and the agitator if your washer is a top-loader. Clean out the detergent dispensers, which themselves are vulnerable to bacterial colonization. Finally, disinfect the entire exterior of the washer, using a toothbrush to scour out any difficult crevices.

How to Keep Your Washer Cleaner

Aside from monthly flushing, there are a few things you can do to help keep your washer’s bacteria levels at a minimum. Don’t leave wet clothes sitting in the basket. Leave the door open after a wash until the interior fully dries. Don’t overload your washer, as doing so may allow more residue to accumulate in its pipes.

Sadly, no amount of cleaning can make a washer last forever. If you need washing machine repair or replacement in the greater Sioux Falls, SD area, then we welcome you to contact PrairieSons today! We’re your local go-to solution for plumbing, water heaters, boilers, toilets, sinks, and anything else in your house that uses water.