If you’ve been doing laundry for a while now, you may have noticed that your clothing doesn’t always smell as fresh as it used to.
It might be dirty enough to need a second go-round in the washer, or maybe you’re searching for another reason why your laundry stinks.
Unfortunately, there are several reasons why clothes don’t smell fresh from the wash—from bacteria buildup in your washing machine drum to detergent residue clinging to clothes.
Here are ways you can disinfect and sanitize your washer and dryer.
Equipment and Materials
- Rubber gloves
- Scrub brush
- Cleaning cloths
- Old towels
- Bucket or other containers for mixing
- Chlorine bleach, phenolic disinfectant, pine oil, or quaternary disinfectant
Sanitizing a Washer Using Chlorine Bleach
The washer is a big part of keeping your clothes clean and fresh, but the appliance itself can quickly become a source of germs and bacteria over time. Fortunately, you can sanitize your washing machine using chlorine bleach to get rid of these contaminants.
Follow the steps below for proper sanitation:
1. Ensure the washer is empty before setting the water temperature to the hottest setting.
2. Add a cup of chlorine bleach into the empty washer drum. Also, refrain from adding any clothes.
3. Set your washer to a complete cycle using hot water if the setting is available in your model. Run it through the whole cycle.
4. After you’ve finished cleaning, take a minute to inspect your washer. If the rubber seals and gaskets are dirty or moldy, they could prevent a good seal on the washing machine door or lid.
5. Also, check the detergent and fabric softener dispensers for buildup. If there’s any residue, mix 1/4 cup chlorine bleach with 1 quart of water, dip a soft brush in the solution, and scrub these areas.
6. Wipe them clean with a wet cloth.
7. It’s a good idea to do a final rinse on the washer using the rinse/spin cycle to ensure all of the bleach is removed. After you clean the inside of your washing machine, wipe down the exterior, too.
8. Give the top, front, and sides a good cleaning to remove any residue that might build up over time. You can do this by mixing a chlorine bleach solution with hot water.
Sanitizing a Washer without Chlorine Bleach
If you’re allergic to chlorine bleach or want to avoid using it for other reasons, there are other disinfectants you can use in your washer.
You may use pine oil disinfectants and phenolic disinfectants on all washable fabrics.
However, you should note that oxygen-based bleaches don’t have disinfectant qualities. Make sure to follow precisely the instructions on product labels and do the same steps as with chlorine bleach above.
Sanitizing a Dryer
Don’t place contaminated fabrics in your dryer using the low heat or air-only cycle.
This can cause cross-contamination, or worse, fire can occur if certain chemicals, especially petroleum, are involved.
So it’s crucial to your well-being and safety to ensure thorough disinfection and sanitation of your dryer.
Here are the recommended steps for sanitizing a dryer:
- Start by removing any lint from the lint screen and disposing of it, while you’re wearing gloves. Otherwise, this may cause skin irritation and other health issues.
- Make a solution with 1/4 cup of chlorine and 1 quart of water to clean your dryer drum. You may also use pine oil or phenolic disinfectant if you don’t want to use chlorine bleach.
- Use a cloth or soft scrub brush for your cleaning solution, and wipe the surface of your dryer drum. This also goes for the rubber seals and gaskets along with the dryer door interior.
- You must rinse all surfaces using a clean cloth in plain water. Afterward, include a few old towels, set your dryer to high, and run it for 10 minutes.
- Wipe down the external surface of your dryer with your cleaning solution, and rinse thoroughly using a cloth soaked in clean water.
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