Spring Cleaning For the Laundry Room

Your washer gets things clean and your dryer handles things that are already clean. So, they probably don’t come to mind when you think of things that require cleaning. But even these cleaning machines occasionally need a clean up of their own. Deep cleaning your laundry room appliances doesn’t need to be done often, but should be done at least annually.

Grey laundry room with modern stainless steel washing machine and dryer brown cabinets and tile floor.

How to Clean a Washing Machine

Given its job, you would think that a washing machine stays clean, but the exterior doesn’t benefit from all the soap and water on the inside. The interior can accumulate built up lint, detergent, and fabric softener.

To clean your washing machine:

  • Make a mixture of warm water and a little dishwashing liquid.
  • Start by using a cloth dipped in this mixture to wipe down the exterior. Follow with a wipe down with plain water and then wipe dry. While you are cleaning up the exterior, check the hoses in the back. Make sure none of them are bent, kinked or deteriorating. A broken hose can lead to a flooded laundry room so a quick check is time well spent.
  • To clean the interior. Start by wiping down the inside with a damp cloth. If there is lint built up the cloth should pick it up. Then add ¾ cup bleach and 1 tablespoon powdered detergent and fill with warm water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes then drain it. Rinse it out with plain water by wiping down with a wet cloth. This will let you reach areas that don’t get wet during a normal laundry cycle.

If your machine has a bleach, detergent, or fabric softener dispenser these can be removed and cleaned. Check the manual that came with your washing machine for instructions specific to the model you have. Lost the manual? Don’t worry. Most appliance manufacturers have copies of their manuals online.

How to Clean a Dryer

Assuming everything you put into your dryer is already clean, the drum and inside of the door should rarely need cleaning. The lint trap and exhaust tube require more frequent attention.

To clean your dryer:

  • Make a mixture of warm water and a little dishwashing liquid (if you already did this for the washing machine you are one step ahead). Start by using a cloth dipped in this mixture to wipe down the exterior. Follow by wiping down with plain water and then wipe dry. Do the same for the drum and the inside of the door.
  • Next clean the lint screen the same way you would after any use of the dryer. Make sure the dryer is unplugged for the next steps. Move the dryer away from the wall far enough so that you can easily access the vent. Disconnect the exhaust duct from the machine. Using a household vacuum, vacuum out the vent by sticking the nozzle into the hole where the duct usually connects.
  • The exhaust duct needs to be free from kinks, tears and obstructions. Kinks can lead to lint build up which is a fire hazard. Holes or tears will allow lint to enter the air in your house. Obstructions will make your drying time longer by restricting airflow. Repair or replace any ductwork that has holes, tears or kinks. Remove obstructions by vacuuming out the duct. If the duct looks good and is clean, attach it to the dryer. Move the dryer back into place, plug it in and enjoy your sparkling clean dryer!