The appliances we rely on require a solid scrub every few months. But before you reach for the bleach, consider these eco-friendly ways to clean your washer and dryer.
Muddy towels courtesy of your four-legged family member, soiled sheets when one of the kids has an accident, mystery stains. We ask a lot of our washers and dryers; we rely on them to keep our clothes, bedding, and towels crisp and clean so we can enjoy them year after year.
But with regular use comes a buildup of detergent residue, chemicals, minerals, and bacteria inside our washers and the collection of excess dust, microplastics, and lint in our dryers. Left uncleaned, and you’ll inevitably end up dealing with a whole host of negative consequences: machines that don’t run efficiently, a higher electric bill, unhealthy indoor air quality, and safety hazards (27 percent of house fires are caused by an accumulation of lint).
Whether you have a front- or top-load washer and dryer, you should clean them every three to six months, depending on how often you use them. The good news is doing so is simple and straightforward — and you don’t need to use harsh chemicals like bleach. Here are our eco-friendly tips for giving your laundry appliances a toxin-free refresh.
Read more: How To Do Your Laundry More Sustainably
Top- and Front-Load Washing Machines
- Remove all clothing from the washer.
- Set your washing machine to the hottest temperature setting.
- Add one gallon of vinegar to the washer.
- Fill and run through an entire washing cycle.
- Repeat as necessary until buildup is eliminated and your washer is sparkling.
Cleaning a Top-Load Washing Machine Gasket
- Fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and vinegar.
- Add at least 10 drops of dish soap to the solution.
- Add 10 drops of an organic essential oil like lemon, lavender, or eucalyptus to the solution.
- Give it a good shake.
- Pull back the rubber gasket and give it a good spray, paying special attention to areas where there are more bacteria and mold buildup.
- Let sit for about five minutes.
- Use a bamboo scrubber to clean and scrub loose additional buildup in the gasket.
- Use a damp or dry rag to wipe clean.
- Leave the door open to allow the gasket to dry.
- Repeat for the detergent drawer.
Use the same solution and a rag to spray and wipe down the outside of your washer after you’ve cleaned the inside.
Read more: How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets And Bedding?
How to Clean Your Dryer
- Unplug the dryer.
- Add water and an eco-friendly soap to a small bucket.
- Use a rag or cloth, dip it in the soapy water, ring it out to remove excess water, and gently wipe down the drum and inside of the door.
- Use a separate cloth to immediately dry the drum and door.
- Keep the door open until fully dry inside.
- Repeat for the outside of the dryer.
Cleaning The Dryer Vent
- Pull out the dryer vent and remove excess lint.
- Use a flexible dryer lint brush to clean the vent cavity using a twisting motion.
- Remove the lint brush and vacuum it clean.
- Repeat until no more lint appears on the lint brush.
How to Keep Your Washer and Dryer Cleaner For Longer
- Use natural, non-toxic laundry detergent like Blueland laundry tablets and Meliora fragrance- and dye-free laundry powder.
- Ditch the dryer sheets and use organic, ethically sourced wool balls — ours are made with 100 percent GOTS certified organic wool.
- Avoid fabric softeners that typically contain toxic synthetic chemicals and fragrances that are harmful to you and the environment and encourage the buildup of residue. Instead, create a vinegar and eucalyptus essential oil laundry rinse using 16 oz. of distilled white vinegar and one teaspoon essential oil. Add ¼ to a ½ cup during your washer’s final rinse or to the fabric softener drawer.
- Don’t overfill your washer and dryer.
Organic Wool Dryer Balls
Read more: Do You Know What’s Hiding In Your Laundry Detergent?
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