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How To Deep Clean a Washer and Dryer

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Cleaning a washer and dryer may not be at the top of everyone’s list, but regular maintenance can significantly extend the life of these essential appliances. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to deep clean your washer and dryer, maintain them, and avoid common mistakes during the cleaning process.


Deep cleaning a washer and dryer involves several steps. For the washer, empty and dry it, clean the detergent dispenser, filter, and agitator, use a cleaning solution, and wipe down the interior and exterior. For the dryer, disconnect it, clean the lint trap, lint trap housing, dryer drum, vent duct, and exterior vent, clean the area around the dryer, and then reconnect the vent hose and power. Regular maintenance such as leaving the washer door open between cycles and cleaning the lint screen after each use can prevent the need for frequent deep cleanings.

Signs Your Washer and Dryer Need Deep Cleaning

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s crucial to understand when your washer and dryer need deep cleaning. Some signs include:

  • Unpleasant odor from the washer
  • Black, slimy residue in the washer
  • Clothes not drying properly
  • Excessive lint and debris in the dryer
  • Musty smell in freshly dried clothes
  • Higher humidity in the laundry room when the dryer is running

Regular cleaning can prevent these issues and ensure your appliances run efficiently.

Essential Tools and Cleaning Products

To deep clean your washer and dryer, you’ll need:

  • Microfiber cloths
  • Rubber gloves
  • A small scrub brush
  • White vinegar
  • Hot water
  • A container for soaking
  • Washing machine cleaner tablets
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Toothbrush
  • Dryer cleaning brush and vacuum cleaner nozzle attachment

Deep Cleaning Your Washer

Here’s a step-by-step guide to deep clean your washer:

  1. Empty and Dry the Washer: Ensure the washer is empty and dry before starting the cleaning process.
  2. Clean the Detergent Dispenser: Remove the drawer, wash it with warm water and a soft brush, dry it, and put it back.
  3. Clean the Filter and Agitator: Refer to your washing machine’s manual for instructions.
  4. Use a Cleaning Solution: For top-loading washers, use baking soda and towels. For front-loading washers, use washing soda and borax.
  5. Wipe Down the Interior and Exterior: After the cleaning cycle, dry the interior and wipe down the outside of the washer.

Deep Cleaning Your Dryer

Follow these steps to deep clean your dryer:

  1. Disconnect the Dryer: Unplug the dryer from its power source.
  2. Clean the Lint Trap: Remove the lint trap screen, wash it in warm soapy water, rinse, and let it air dry.
  3. Clean the Lint Trap Housing and Dryer Drum: Use a vacuum cleaner and a lint brush to clean the housing area, then wipe the drum with a damp cloth.
  4. Clean the Vent Duct and Exterior Vent: Pull out the dryer, remove the vent, clean the vent ductwork and exterior vent.
  5. Clean the Area Around the Dryer: Vacuum any dirt and lint from behind and on the back of your dryer.
  6. Reconnect the Vent Hose and Power: Reconnect the vent hose and power, push your dryer back in place, and wipe the exterior with a dry cloth.

Maintenance Tips

After deep cleaning, maintain the cleanliness of your washer and dryer by:

  • Leaving the washer’s door open between cycles.
  • Wiping the machine’s seals more often.
  • Cleaning your washing machine regularly.
  • Cleaning the lint screen after each use.
  • Cleaning the dryer’s vent hose and pipe at least once a year.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid these common mistakes while deep cleaning your washer and dryer:

  • Not unplugging the dryer before cleaning.
  • Overloading the washing machine.
  • Ignoring the cleaning of moisture sensors in the dryer.
  • Not checking the dryer duct for damages.

By following these cleaning and maintenance tips, you can extend the life of your washer and dryer, improve their performance, and save money on repairs or replacements in the long run. Happy cleaning!

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I deep clean my washer and dryer?

It’s recommended to deep clean your washer and dryer every six months. However, if you notice any signs of dirt build-up or malfunction, you may need to clean them more frequently.

Can I use bleach to clean my washer?

Yes, bleach can be used to clean your washer, but only in small amounts. Make sure to run a rinse cycle afterward to remove any bleach residue.

Can I clean my dryer vent duct with a vacuum cleaner?

Yes, a vacuum cleaner is an effective tool for cleaning your dryer vent duct. However, it’s also recommended to use a dryer vent cleaning brush for a more thorough clean.

What should I do if my dryer vent duct is damaged?

If your dryer vent duct is damaged, it’s best to replace it. Damaged ducts can lead to reduced dryer efficiency and increased fire risk.

Can I use any type of cloth to clean my washer and dryer?

It’s recommended to use a microfiber cloth when cleaning your washer and dryer. This type of cloth is effective at trapping dust and dirt, and it won’t scratch the surfaces of your appliances.

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