Nowadays, nearly everyone relies on washing machines to help them clean their clothes properly.
But unfortunately, regular use of your machine results in a build-up of limescale. This chalky substance may not be clearly visible, but it will be there, especially if you live in a hard water area.
Descaler is a cleaning product made to remove limescale build-up in appliances. It’s more commonly referred to when it comes to cleaning the bathroom or a kettle, but what about your washing machine?
Is a descaler necessary for the washing machine? Or will the limescale deposits make no difference? Read on to find out!
Is It Necessary to Use Descaler in the Washing Machine?
While descaling your washing machine isn’t necessary to continue using it, we highly recommend you regularly remove any limescale that forms in your appliance.
Cleaning out the limescale once a month is best for those living in hard water areas, but at the very least, you need to use a descaler in your washing machine three times a year.
Whether you can see limescale in your machine or not, it’s highly likely that there will be deposits in the drum and on the heating element.
This chalk-like substance forms when hard water is heated, and the mineral ions it contains (such as calcium carbonate) become soluble. If left untreated, these deposits can reduce your washer’s efficiency and cause damage to your laundry.
Because of this, descaling is an essential step in keeping your washer clean and prolonging its life span, thereby saving you money in the long run.
Removing the limescale deposits will also help to remove any foul odours that have built up in your machine.
Which Descaler Is Best for Washing Machines?
There are many different types of descaler out there, some of which are chemically designed to remove limescale and others which are naturally good cleaners.
Before using any descaler in your appliance, make sure to empty your washing machine.
Our top 5 options for removing the limescale deposits from your machine are:
- Commercial descaler: You need to use these products according to the label instructions. They can come in powder forms, such as these Hotpoint descaler sachets, or liquid form, like this HG descaler.
- White vinegar: This is a staple in many homes but can also be purchased fairly easily if required. To use, simply pour 500ml of white vinegar into the detergent drawer and run a 60-degree wash. Then, repeat the wash cycle but without the descaler.
- White vinegar and lemon juice: This combination effectively removes limescale, as both white vinegar and lemon juice are very acidic. Pour 250ml of each ingredient into your detergent drawer and run a 60-degree washing cycle. Run the cycle once more with no descaler after it has finished.
- White vinegar and bicarbonate of soda: Much like vinegar and lemon juice, vinegar and bicarbonate of soda make a powerful cleaning combination. Pour 500ml of white vinegar into the detergent drawer and add 100g of bicarb into the drum. Then set the machine on a 60-degree wash, and repeat minus the descaler once the cycle stops.
- Bicarbonate of soda: Bicarbonate of soda can also be used on its own if you don’t have any white vinegar to hand. Simply add 100g of the powder to the drum and run a 60-degree Celsius wash. As usual, set another wash cycle afterwards without adding any more descaler.
Many websites suggest also using dishwasher tablets to descale your washing machine, but we suggest you stick to one of the above cleaners instead.
Although using a dishwasher tablet may be effective in some cases, they can also cause problems with your machine, such as foam overflow, unwanted residue, and void warranties.
Hannah is a freelance content writer with a passion for cleaning. She worked her way around Australia by cleaning hostels in exchange for free accommodation and used her cleaning skills to bag her a job as a chalet host for a luxury ski company in France.