Whenever you search for a solution for a problem you are experiencing with your washing machine, or just looking something up in the manufacturer’s guide, you will see reference to a washing machine maintenance wash. But what is it?
What Is a Maintenance Cycle on a Washing Machine?
A maintenance cycle is a deep-cleaning wash that will get rid of any bacteria, grime, sludge, and mould that has built up in the inside of the washing machine.
In essence, a washing machine maintenance cycle is all about cleaning the insides of the machine thoroughly to ensure that your laundry is always clean and hygienic at the end of the cycle.
If you avoid running a maintenance wash, the inside of the machine will end up covered in gunk, debris, and old detergent. This, coupled with the moisture inside the machine, creates the perfect breading ground for bacteria and mould.
When left unchecked, this mould will end up causing a nasty, musty smell that can transfer to your laundry. You may also end up with black spots on washing.
How to Run a Maintenance Cycle
Running a maintenance cycle is simple. In fact, some modern washing machines even come with a dedicated maintenance cycle to make the process even easier.
If your washing machine doesn’t have a dedicated service cycle, have no fear! You can still easily deep clean the inside of your washing machine without needing to completely take it apart.
The first step is to make sure the washing machine is completely empty. You should then add a washing machine cleaning solution or natural alternative of your choice. Once your cleaner is in place, you just need to run a cycle on the hottest setting you can.
Once the cycle has finished, open the door, wipe around the seal, and scoop up any dirt. If the washing machine still smells or there is a lot of loose debris, you should run the cycle a second time.
Once you are satisfied that the washing machine is shiny and clean, leave the door and detergent drawer open to let everything dry.
How Often Should I Run a Maintenance Cycle?
However, you shouldn’t wait until you develop a problem! If you do, you might find that you must run the cycle a couple of times to thoroughly clear the sludge and get rid of the smell.
Instead of waiting until your washing machine smells funny, you should regularly run a maintenance cycle to keep your washing machine in tip-top condition.
Most washing machine manufacturers will have their own guidance on how frequently you should run a maintenance (or service) wash, however as a rule, you want to do it a minimum of every other month, but ideally once a month.
If your household washes a lot of heavily soiled clothing (think muddy kids clothing or carpenter’s clothing full of sawdust), it might be worth running a service wash more frequently as grime and dirt will build up in your machine even quicker.
Filters, Drawers and Doors
The maintenance cycle itself will clean the inside of the washing machine, and get rid of all the gunk in the hard-to-reach places. However, it will not be able to thoroughly clean the inside of the detergent drawer, filters, and the door’s seal.
Instead of leaving these areas alone, you should take the time to thoroughly clean them at the same time as running your maintenance cycle.
To clean the detergent drawer, you need to simply take the drawer out and wash it thoroughly in a sink full of warm, soapy water. You should also clean the inside of the cavity where the drawer sits before putting it back.
The filters can just be taken out and washed in warm, soapy water too. At the same time, you should check the filters for any debris that could cause a problem, such as hair pins, coins, and sludge. If allowed to build up, this could cause a blockage that would stop the pump working.
You also need to clean the inside of the seal around the washing machine’s drawer. During a cycle, the seal can catch all manner of things, from debris and gunk, to mould, old detergent, and more. Wipe the seal over well using either soapy water or detergent, and make sure that you get in the folds too.
Lover of coffee, painting, and all things cute and fluffy. I’m always on the lookout for easier, more gentle ways to tackle awful household chores.