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Best Cleaning Methods for your Washer & Dryer by Amber C

Hello again!

We here at Custom Maids, hope you had an amazing and safe holiday!!

Around this time of year, we have a rejuvenated drive to deep clean our homes, and for some reason, the handyman in all of us just NEEDS to clean and fine-tune our appliances.

Here you will find some useful tips to get rid of last year's funk in your machines!

First, let's wander into the world of washers. Below we have a few sites that boast a myriad of tips and tricks.

One of the better ways to clean your washing machine is to pour one quart of white vinegar into the wash drum with one cup of baking soda. Then, before you set the cycle, use a stiff nylon brush to scrub inside the machine and a microfiber cloth to wash the rubber seal/gasket and glass window where mildew, air and gunk tend to reside.

Once that's done, select the heaviest cycle available with hot water and let the machine do what it does best. If the odors and dirt linger, repeat the process.

For a less scientific cleaning, once you finish scrubbing the seal and drum, use Affresh, Tide or another brand of washing machine cleaner you can find in the detergent aisle, and pour one pouch or one sachet into your machine before running an empty cycle. suggests that you should use a solution of 1 cup hot water, 2 cups vinegar, 1/4 cup borax and 20 drops of anti-fungal essential oils (Tea Tree Oil) to clean the gaskets and/or top of the drum of your washer. You should wear rubber gloves for this as the dilution of essential oils is very strong.

The website The Things We’ll Make agrees that essential oils are better for microbial-level cleaning than any bleach products, as bleach only kills germs on non-porous surfaces such as glass, tiles, bathtubs and countertops. This means that bleach will just whiten the mold in your washing machine.

Better Homes and Gardens recommends that you clean your washing machine filter once a month, to twice yearly. Your machines filter can be found in the following places;

  • In the centre agitator (under the cap)

  • In the drum's top lip

  • Behind a trap door on the front exterior of the machine

  • Near the water pump or at the end of the drainage hose

  • It's also worth noting that many newer machines, including high-efficiency (HE) models, don’t have a filter, but they do have a self-cleaning filter located in the machine's pump mechanism. These types of filters generally do not require owner maintenance

If you still cannot locate your washing machine filter, consult your user manual or contact the manufacturer with your model number.

Most washing machine filters can be removed for cleaning. Here's how to do it.

What You'll Need

  • Cleaning cloth

  • Dish soap or liquid laundry detergent

  • Soft-bristle brush

  • Flashlight (optional)

  • Shallow basin or old towel (optional)

Step 1: Wipe the Filter and Housing

Remove the filter from its housing and gently wipe away lint and debris using a damp cleaning cloth. Then, use the cloth to wipe lint and debris from the filter housing. You might want to use a flashlight to examine the filter housing for buildup. Additionally, depending on the placement of the filter, you might want to put down a shallow bowl or an old towel to catch any water that pours out when you open the filter housing.

Step 2: Soak the Filter

Fill a bucket or bowl that is large enough to submerge the filter with hot water and a small amount (about 1 tsp.) of dish soap or liquid laundry detergent. Allow the filter to soak in the solution for 10 minutes.

Step 3: Scrub the Filter

Using a soft-bristle brush, such as an old toothbrush or a dish brush, scrub the filter to remove buildup.

Step 4: Replace the Filter

Return it to the washer's filter housing, making sure it is securely in place. Unlike dryer filters, washing machine filters do not need to be dry when replacing them in the machine, as they will get wet again.

Step 5: Run a Short Wash Cycle

Run the washer's short cycle to check that the filter is securely in place. If you notice any leaks, remove the filter and reinsert it into its housing.

Out of all the methods listed above, I’ve used the manual method to make sure I get all the grime from my washing machine. Even when going to laundromats 😀, I carry antibacterial wipes with me everywhere (typical mom behavior 😂). I find this is the best method to guarantee that EVERYTHING reachable is scrubbed off. As for how often our appliances need to be cleaned, look no further than, which suggests a monthly deep clean of both washers and dryers.

Speaking of dryers, let's take a quick segway into the washer's counterpart. We all LOVE the fresh out-of-the-dryer feeling, so we want to ensure that such an important appliance stays squeaky clean as well.

Although we can’t use a large amount of water to clean our dryers as we would our washing machines, we can sanitize them properly with a spray bottle and a microfiber cloth. To ensure your clothing dries on time and evenly, you need to be sure you clean out the lint trap and check the exterior exhaust for any blockages. You should also vacuum the dryer duct, pull your dryer out from the wall, unplug, disconnect, and vacuum behind and under the dryer, and check the balance.


There are waaaaay too many links about this and it is an entire other blog topic. Follow this link for dryer maintenance from as it has links for condo dryer ducts and vents, house dryers, apartment dryers, where to find the vents and traps, what kinds there are available and how to keep them maintained.

Dryers make laundry duties so much more convenient. You can simply toss damp clothes or linens inside, press a button, and 30 minutes to an hour later, your laundry emerges dry and freshly fluffed. To ensure this process runs smoothly, however, some regular upkeep is required. Not only does cleaning your dryer on a regular basis help clothes dry faster, but it can also prevent serious damage to your home if a fire were to ever break out because your dryer were not maintained.

Proper maintenance involves more than just emptying the lint screen, so it's important to know how to clean a dryer, including the vent, drum, and exterior. Follow the steps below to clean your clothes dryer inside and out and keep laundry day on track.

If you've ever taken clothes out of the dryer and found they were still damp, you might be dealing with lint buildup. Your dryer will run much more efficiently if air can flow easily. Removing lint, which is highly combustible, also reduces the risk of fire. Take these steps to help keep your dryer lint-free.

What You Need

  • scrub brush

  • fabric softener sheet

  • vacuum cleaner / shop vac with crevice attachment (optional)

Step 1: Clear the Lint Screen

  • Clean the lint screen or filter every time you dry a load of clothes. Pull the lint screen straight out to remove it from the dryer. Remove as much lint as you can with a brush, then wipe the screen with a used fabric softener sheet to pick up any remaining pieces of lint.

Step 2: Remove Leftover Lint Inside the Trap

  • Clean the lint trap (also known as the lint-trap housing cavity) occasionally. This is the area in which the filter fits. Use a long flexible dryer lint brush and a gentle twisting motion to clean the cavity. Vacuum the brush clean, then repeat the process until you can't remove any more lint. Alternatively, try using the crevice attachment on your vacuum cleaner to clean out the lint.

Step 3: Clean the Vent Hose and Pipe

  • Once a year or so, clean the dryer's vent hose and pipe to keep the machine running efficiently. You can either hire a pro or do it yourself with the help of a dryer vent cleaning kit ($20, Amazon). To start, pull the dryer away from the wall and unplug it (or shut off the gas if you have a gas model.) Disconnect the duct from the dryer and the wall, and use the vent brush to loosen any lint or dust inside. You can connect the brush head to a drill for extra cleaning power and attach extenders for added length.

  • Vacuum up any lint on the floor and inside the holes in the dryer and wall using a crevice tool attachment. Repeat this process on the outdoor vent where the exhaust exits your house.

How to Clean Inside a Dryer

Despite how carefully you check everyone's pockets, something unexpected can still make it into the dryer. The most likely culprits are pens, crayons, chewing gum, candy, and lipstick. Or maybe you washed a dry-clean-only item whose dye still clings to the drum. Stains inside your dryer can transfer to other clothes and ruin them. Here's how to clean the most common stains inside a dryer.

How to Remove Crayon from a Dryer

What You Need:

  • plastic spatula

  • old credit card (optional)

  • soft cloth

  • WD-40

  • soap

Step 1: Check the Drum

  • Start by checking the drum for stuck-on pieces of crayon. Scrape them off with a plastic spatula or an old credit card. Wipe the drum with a soft cloth sprayed with a small amount of WD-40 until the stain is gone. (Never spray the WD-40 directly into the dryer.)

Step 2: Wash the Interior

  • Unplug the dryer and wash the interior with warm, soapy water. Pay special attention to any areas that were wiped with WD-40. Finish by wiping the dryer drum with clean dry cloths or running a load of dry cloths through a complete drying cycle.

How to Remove Ink from a Dryer

What You Need

  • white rag

  • isopropyl alcohol

  • cloths

  • old white towels

Step 1: Clean the Interior

  • Run the dryer for about 10 minutes to warm up the metal drum and make it easier to remove the ink. Unplug the dryer. Dampen an old white rag with rubbing or isopropyl alcohol, and use it to remove the ink stains from the warm dryer interior. Change rags as needed to prevent ink from being redistributed. Rinse with a damp, clean white cloth.

Step 2: Double- and Triple-Check

  • Before drying another load of clean clothes, check your work. Run an old white towel through a complete drying cycle. If it comes out completely white, you're done. If not, repeat the process.

How to Get Even the Most Stubborn Ink Stains Out of Clothing

How to Remove Dye from a Dryer

If the entire dryer drum is covered with splotches of dye, it's unlikely you can remove all of it by hand.

What You Need

  • old towels

  • household bleach

  • protective eyewear

  • rubber gloves

Step 1: Prepare Old Towels

  • Soak several old towels in a solution comprised of three gallons of hot water to one cup of household bleach. Wearing protective eyewear and rubber gloves, wring the towels nearly dry.

Step 2: Run and Repeat

  • Throw the towels in the drum, and run the dryer for 30 minutes at an air-fluff setting. Repeat the process if needed.

How to Remove Candy or Gum from a Dryer

What You Need

  • plastic spatula

  • old credit card (optional)

  • blow dryer

  • rag

  • all-purpose cleaner

  • clean, dry cloth

Step 1: Scrape and Soften Residue

  • Scrape off as much hardened candy and gum as you can with a plastic spatula or old credit card. Unplug the dryer. Use a blow-dryer to soften the remaining gum or candy with hot air. Then remove the softened particles by scraping them off with a plastic spatula or old credit card.

Step 2: Scrub and Wipe Clean

  • Scrub the stained area with a rag dampened with an all-purpose cleaner, then wipe with a clean, dry cloth.

How to Remove Lipstick from a Dryer

What You Need

  • soft, dry cloths

  • rubbing alcohol

Step 1: Remove Stains

  • Remove as much of the lipstick as possible with a soft, dry cloth. (This will be more successful if the dryer is still warm.) Unplug the dryer and let it cool down completely. Wipe the remaining lipstick stains with a soft cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol.

Step 2: Clean Thoroughly

  • Plug the dryer back in and dry a small load of old towels to remove any remaining lipstick stains and traces of rubbing alcohol.

Even if there are no stains to remove, you should clean the interior of your dryer about once a month to prevent odors and residue buildup. Start by unplugging the dryer. Use a cloth dipped in warm, soapy water to wipe down the drum and dry with another clean cloth. If you clean the interior of your dryer with anything other than soap and water, delay using it again for several hours. Leave the dryer door open and let any fumes or residue dissipate before heating it up again.

Another issue that tends to be overlooked is how much you can load into your dryer. We often throw one or two extra articles of clothing into the dryer while it is already running, but when wet, that can throw the balance off and actually cause our clothing to stay damp as the dryer needs more run time to distribute heat evenly.

In short, these machines do quite a lot for our households, and they deserve and need some TLC to keep running smoothly and to keep your money in your wallet where it belongs. 🙂

On our next adventure together, we will wade into the depths of dishwashing machines and how best to maintain them.

Stay tuned and stay safe!!!

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