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How to Clean a High Efficiency Washer

High efficiency washing machines are becoming more and more popular in today’s homes, especially as appliance stores concentrate on offering them to the public, replacing older, outdated models. Marked with an “he” insignia, these eco-friendly washers can prove to be worth the cost over time, as they do the same amount of work without using the excess energy families would expect washing machines to use.

Benefits of Owning a High Efficiency Washer

  • Uses less energy and less electricity; at least 30% less due to Energy Star requirements
  • Uses less water; average of 50% less water than non-high efficiency machines
  • The larger machines can hold more clothes, resulting in less washer loads
  • Requires less detergent, fabric softener, and bleach
  • Gentler spin cycles for less damage to clothes and fabrics
  • Less drying time
  • Can be set to your specifications
  • Affordable due to competitive pricing and increasingly wider availability
  • Great space-savers, since front loaders can fit under cabinets and counters, or can hold a dryer stacked on top

The ease of cleaning a high efficiency washer can also be a benefit for home owners that possess such a model. The front loading design can be less stressful on the back and the arms, since top loaders may require nearly climbing into the drum, and leaning over the side. There are more components that need cleaning in high efficiency machines besides the drum, however, they can be done so easily with the proper time and the right supplies.

Washer cleaning

Which Parts of a High Efficiency Washer Need Cleaning

  • Drum
  • Door
  • Rubber Molding
  • Detergent Dispenser
  • Exterior

Cleaning the High Efficiency Washer Drum

The drum may be the most important part of your washer when trying to keep clothes smelling fresh and clean, and making sure the machine is working at its best. Most experts recommend using simple white vinegar to help remove any musty smells that may live inside the washer drum.

Just pour the vinegar inside the machine (up to a half gallon at a time), then add liquid detergent and run a hot water laundry cycle. After the cycle is complete, wipe down the rubber gaskets in the front as well as the door. Even though you may not like the vinegar smell, it will wear off after a little time – and is still much better than any moldy odor! Best of all, if you have to buy a bottle of white vinegar, it’s normally inexpensive at most grocery stores.

Cleaning the High Efficiency Washer Door

A front loading HE machine usually has a hinged door with a glass window that closes snugly and locks while the washer is operating. The glass can be cleaned easily with either glass cleaner or antibacterial wipes to remove hair or dirt that may build up.

Make sure to clean both the inside of the glass, which can get dirty from detergent residue, and the outside, which may become dusty if not cleaned on a regular schedule. You can also use spray cleaner to wipe down the door frame and hinges, helping to keep any dirt that might cause the hinge to get blocked.

Cleaning the High Efficiency Washer Rubber Gasket

The rubber gasket that acts as the barrier between the washer door and the drum is pivotal in that it helps hold the water inside, causing a tight seal when the door is closed. It’s another important step in how to clean a high efficiency washer, since detergent and softener residue can build up in the creases of the gasket, as well as dirt from clothes, hair, and other debris.

To clean the gasket, wipe the outside of it gently with an antibacterial wipe, paper towel, or soft rag. Also make sure you get inside the creases to clear out any dirt that may impede the water flow or possibly affect the seal. And don’t forget to look for any loose change that may been stuck in the creases of the gasket after the washing cycle is finished, as well as small washcloths and stray socks. Just think, all these years that the dryers get blamed for missing socks, when it could have been the washer gasket!

Cleaning the High Efficiency Washer Detergent Dispenser

Every HE washer has a detergent dispenser where you place the liquids such as detergent, fabric softener, and bleach. Usually made of plastic, the dispenser should be removable, which will make it very easy to clean. Simply wash it in the sink after carefully removing it from the washer, according to the directions in the appliance. To remove any built-up residue, especially from fabric softener, try a cotton swab to reach the crevices on the sides of the dispenser. Wipe down the inside of the machine also where the dispenser goes. Paper towels or a small rag should work just fine.

High efficiency detergents already require less liquid per wash than regular laundry detergent, but fabric softeners may not. One good tip to help prevent extra fabric softener building up in the machine dispenser is to add only a quarter of the required softener then adding water to help keep the dosage thinner.


Cleaning the Exterior of Your High Efficiency Washer

Cleaning the outside of your washer should be fairly easy, but also should not be overlooked. Most high efficiency machines have a normal surface that can simply be wiped down with antibacterial spray cleaner and paper towels, or a damp rag. There are many stainless steel models on the market now that are increasingly popular, which require a little more care.

When cleaning washers with stainless steel surfaces can be done with a liquid glass cleaner and a soft rag. But it’s best to wipe with the grain to avoid scratching the exterior of the washer, and to properly clean off all fingerprints and smudges.

Quick Tips for Keeping your Washer Clean & Fresh

  • Leave the door slightly open to prevent humidity from building up inside the drum and causing mold
  • Don’t leave wet clothes inside the machine overnight
  • Also rotate the drum just in case any clothes are sticking to the drum after the final spin cycle
  • Cut down on the use of liquid fabric softener, using dryer sheets instead
  • Use less detergent than needed to help stop buildup of residue
  • Make sure to use HE rated detergents designed for front loading washers
  • When in doubt, consult a professional repairman if there are any major problems you aren’t equipped to tackle yourself – it’s what’s best for you and your washer!

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