What is the best way to clean a washing machine. In some Laundromats, one particular machine can get used by 1000 or more people in a year. Do you think that if those machines weren’t well maintained that they could stand the pressure of working so long? If you put in one quarter of that effort to your home machine, you will greatly decrease your chances for costly repairs.
How does a washing machine operate
Except for the physical design, to most people, a washing machine is a washing machine.
There are major differences to the way clothes are washed. Let’s first explain the common ways that today’s modern washing machine operates.
- When the machine is turned on, the drain pump runs much like in the dishwasher. This gets rid of all the water underneath the tub. There should be NO water in the washing machine that you can see when you put your clothes in the machine. Water may linger underneath in the drain pump and hose area though.
- Depending on the cycle, water starts pouring into the machine and the machine may or may not start to move while doing so. Most front load washing machines will start to agitate and some top loaders will also do so.
- As this water is pouring in it is pulling in the soap that you placed in the dispenser as your clothes slowly soak or roll around in the soapy water.
- The water will stop pouring in and the clothes will agitate back and forth in the top load machine, and spin around in the front loading machine. After the clothes are washed the washing machine will drain out and more water will pour in, this one usually taking in the fabric softener. This is your rinse cycle and will pull any remaining soap out of your clothes to finish the cleaning.
- The main drain and spin cycles pulls out all water out of the machine so the clothes come out only damp when the wash is done. On some machines, the drain pump will run periodically during the high speed spin when the water is sucked out of the drum.
High Efficiency Top Loading Washing Machines
Some people think that HE washers are meant to wash your clothes faster and this is not the case. Instead of using an agitator the HE washing top loading machines now use what is called in impeller. High Efficiency washers use 50% less water than washers with agitators. Water saturation is no longer an important factor in cleaning your clothes with HE washing machines.
High Efficiency washers sense load size and put the right amount of water in accordingly, where Agitator washing machines will fill the machine with the amount of water that you allow. Usually this is the load size knob, for small, medium and large size loads. This load size is on a timer and all you are doing is timing the amount of water that pours into the machine. In both machines the clothes travel up, over the top towards the tub sides, down along the bottom, underneath towards the middle and back up again.
The Agitator tub is one piece where this is accomplished, however the HE top loading washer has a secondary area of the bottom of the tub that agitates in a different direction that the middle of the tub to ensure that the clothes are washed properly.
Front Loader vs Top Loading Washing Machines
The top loaders circulate the clothes throughout the bottom and sides of the machine, but the front loader machine actually rotates the clothes through the water that always sits on the bottom. Compared to the top loading washing machines, the drum has the ability to spin faster because of the way it is built. This leaves your clothes less damp when it come out and ready for the dryer.If you own a smaller laundry room, then the front loading washing machine is stackable, thus saving you width space if you have the height.
Also front loading washing machines come in smaller than standard sizes to really get them into those tighter spaces like underneath a staircase. Front loading washing machines have a rubber gasket or “boot”. This boot forms a water tight seal when you close the door, just in case you wondered why water never spills out of the machine in a front loader.
What is High Efficiency Detergent
Today’s washing machines are designed to use less water, and the change over from the old style washing machines to the new low water was pretty quick and caught a lot of people off guard when they went to buy a new one. High Efficiency detergent is made to be used with less water. The detergent is formulated to produce less suds.
Older millennials, their parents and their grandparents are used to seeing all those suds sloshing around in their machines and believing their clothes were being cleaned efficiently. Suds can capture dirt and actually hold it in the bubbles, so if not every bit of suds was rinsed out of the machine your clothes could retain some dirt and that’s how clothes got dingy over a short period of time.
High Efficiency detergent is a “low sudsing” soap that runs well with low water cycles. The soap bubbles dissolve instantly and therefore are easily rinsed away in the rinse cycle. Less suds equals less dirt and grime left behind. When these machines first started exploding into the market I saw people trying to overcompensate and double or triple the amount of HE soap they were putting in the machine.
They did not see the suds and this not only results in the clothes not being washed properly but in the washing machines having to run longer cycles if it sensed there were too many suds in it. When the machine has to work overtime to rinse out the dirty soap left behind, you greatly increase the chances you will see a repair tech. More wear and tear on the washing machine equals less washing machine life.
Some machines have a preventive error code to let you know it is oversudsing and has a “clean machine cycle to run water throughout the drum and out of the unit to try to get as much of the grime out. Over a long period of time this grime will turn into a disgusting mess inside your drain pump and hose, sometimes even damaging the drain pump.
Best Way To Clean A Washing Machine
Top loading washing machines are pretty easy to maintain as you can generally see every part of the dirty parts of the machine and can be cleaned by a good tub cleaner tablet and warm soap and water.
Let us talk about the front loading washing machine.
The rubber seal or “boot” that sits on the door as you close it captures much of the dirt coming off the clothes as it is being washed. There are three or four hidden holes in the boot where water drains down to the bottom of the tub. These holes can become clogged with debris from your clothes when you use too much soap. This boot can also leave a horrible smell, along with the rubber hoses underneath your tub.
Do you really want that smell lingering in your clothes? It is very possible that an improper rinsing using vinegar can just mix that smell in along with everything else. There are great washing machine cleaners out on the market that will do the job and help your clothes get cleaned more efficiently and also improve the usability and life of your washing machine. The tips in this article can save you about $300 – $500 in total repair and diagnostic costs over the life of your washing machine or from even having to buy a new one.