In the fast-paced world we live in, the washing machine can take some of the daily chores off our shoulders. However, the appliance can sometimes give off a foul odour. Or you might wonder how to remove stubborn stains from a garment.
Vinegar is a trustworthy ally in both these endeavours, but where do you put vinegar in a front load washer? Let’s break down all you need to know about keeping your washing machine and laundry pristine.
Where To Put Vinegar To Clean A Front Load Washer
To clean your front loading washer, you should pour vinegar into the machine’s liquid detergent compartment found in the top dispenser.
You can also put the vinegar directly in the drum, but it won’t get rid of soap residues in the dispenser.
Where Do You Put Vinegar In A Front Load Washer For Laundry?
When using vinegar for laundry, you can either add it to the top dispenser or in the drum.
In the dispenser, make sure to choose the fabric softener compartment—this is typically marked with a flower or the number three. In most washers, the compartment is found on the right-hand side, right next to the main detergent compartment which is in the middle.
There are two ways to use vinegar in the drum. You can either pour vinegar over the garments and run a prewash cycle, or stop the washer after the main cycle, add the vinegar, and run a short cycle.
You should never mix vinegar with laundry detergent, especially a detergent containing bleach. Some chemical reactions can create toxic fumes that could injure your respiratory tract and potentially be fatal.
Vinegar and laundry detergent could also neutralise one another, so using them together is useless.
Can Vinegar Damage My Washer?
Vinegar is generally considered safe for using in washing machines and can be a useful tool for maintaining your appliance’s performance. However, it’s essential to use vinegar correctly and in moderation to prevent any potential issues.
Vinegar could damage the following components:
- Rubber seals and gaskets: Front load washers, in particular, have rubber door seals and gaskets that can deteriorate over time when exposed to certain chemicals. While vinegar is generally safe, using it excessively or undiluted might accelerate wear and tear on these rubber components. To avoid potential damage, dilute vinegar with water when using it in your washer and don’t overuse it.
- Materials susceptible to corrosion: Most washing machine drums and parts are made from materials like stainless steel and plastic, which are resistant to the acidity of vinegar. However, if your washer has any components made of aluminium or other materials susceptible to corrosion, vinegar could potentially cause damage over time. It’s a good practice to consult your appliance’s user manual to check for any specific guidelines on using vinegar.
You should also pay attention to overuse. While vinegar can be an excellent cleaning agent, excessive use may not be necessary and could lead to potential issues.
Using vinegar in moderation and following recommended cleaning intervals, such as once a month or every few months, should suffice for most washing machines.
Also keep in mind the proper dilution. When using vinegar in your washer, it’s advisable to dilute it with water to minimise its acidity. A common ratio is a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water.
How To Use Vinegar For Cleaning A Washing Machine
Cleaning the washing machine with vinegar is a simple process, but you must follow certain rules to prevent damage.
Let’s see how to clean your washer.
Clean Your Washer’s Interior
You should always start by cleaning your washer’s interior. You’ll need:
- White distilled vinegar
- A microfiber cloth or sponge
- An old toothbrush or small brush
- A small bowl or container
To clean the washer’s interior:
- Make sure the washing machine drum is empty. Remove any laundry or items from the machine.
- Mix a solution of white distilled vinegar and water. A 1:1 ratio (equal parts vinegar and water) is a common starting point. The amount you’ll need depends on your machine’s size, but 1-2 cups of vinegar is usually sufficient.
- Start by wiping down the interior of the drum with a vinegar-soaked cloth or sponge. Pay attention to areas where soap scum and residue tend to accumulate, such as the door seal and the drum’s inner surfaces.
- For stubborn stains or mould and mildew build up, dip an old toothbrush or a small brush into the vinegar solution. Gently scrub the affected areas, applying a bit of pressure to help remove the build up.
- After wiping down and scrubbing as needed, let the vinegar solution sit in the drum for about 30 minutes. This gives it time to break down mineral deposits and lingering odours.
- While the vinegar solution is sitting in the drum, you can run a cleaning cycle on your washing machine if your machine has a self-cleaning or drum-cleaning option. Otherwise, you can start a regular hot water cycle without any laundry in the machine.
- While the machine is running its cleaning cycle, use the vinegar solution to wipe down the door, door seal, and detergent dispenser drawer. These areas can also accumulate residue and mould.
- After the cleaning cycle is complete, or if you’re not running a self-cleaning cycle, wipe down the drum one more time with the vinegar-soaked cloth or sponge.
- Finally, run an empty rinse cycle with hot water to ensure all the vinegar residue is flushed out of the machine.
Clean the Washer’s Pipes
Once the interior is clean, you can use vinegar to get rid of soap residues and scum deposited inside the internal pipes.
To do this:
- Pour a cup of undiluted vinegar into the detergent compartment in the washer’s dispenser drawer.
- Select a wash cycle with hot water, if possible. Hot water helps to dissolve soap scum and mineral deposits effectively. You can also add a few old towels or rags to the washer to enhance the cleaning action.
- Begin the wash cycle as you normally would. Let the machine run through the complete cycle. The vinegar will mix with the water, thoroughly cleaning the interior of the washer, including the drum, hoses, and other hidden parts.
- While the washer is cleaning itself, wipe down the exterior of the machine with a cloth dampened in the vinegar solution. This helps remove any dirt or residue on the outside of the washer.
- After the initial wash cycle with the vinegar, run an additional rinse cycle with plain water to ensure that any remaining vinegar residue is flushed out of the machine.
- Don’t forget to remove the detergent dispenser drawer and clean it separately. It can accumulate detergent and fabric softener residue over time. Soak it in the vinegar solution and scrub it clean, then rinse thoroughly before reinserting it.
In a front load washer, you can put vinegar either in the detergent dispenser drawer or directly in the drum. Typically, you must use the detergent compartment if you want to clean the washer, or the fabric softener compartment to remove stains or whiten fabrics.
You can also wipe the washer’s interior with vinegar, but in this case you should use vinegar diluted with water. Don’t forget that undiluted vinegar could damage some components, and that you should never mix it with other chemicals.