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5 Tips for Keeping Your Washing Machine Clean

If you notice that your clothes aren’t coming out of the washing cycle as clean as they used to, or maybe you’re smelling a funny odor coming from inside your washing machine, it’s probably time to give it a good cleaning.
Like any other appliance, washing machines need to be regularly cleaned to keep them running at their best. So let’s look at 5 tips to keep your washing machine cleaning like new.

Perform a deep clean
The first step in cleaning is usually performing a deep clean. Deep cleaning your washing machine involves running an empty cycle on hot wash with a machine cleanser. If you’re someone who likes to DIY, you can make your own washing machine cleanser by mixing ¾ cups of bleach with 1 tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent. Run the cleanser through a soak cycle on your machine, then run a rinse cycle to clear out the bleach.
Keep the door open
The next step in keeping your machine clean is to start the practice of keeping your washing machine door open. This is a tip that many people aren’t aware of, but keeping the door open after every load allows any moisture left inside the drum to evaporate. Just doing this alone can get rid of any mildewy odors that may have started forming, and will also help to prevent mold.
Wipe it down
If you ever use the top of your washing machine as a work surface, lay a towel down underneath the garment you’re treating. This will make sure that any stain removal chemicals you’re using won’t seep through onto the porcelain, and that the surface of your washer won’t get scratched by scissor marks.
Protect you work surface
The first step in cleaning is usually performing a deep clean. Deep cleaning your washing machine involves running an empty cycle on hot wash with a machine cleanser. If you’re someone who likes to DIY, you can make your own washing machine cleanser by mixing ¾ cups of bleach with 1 tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent. Run the cleanser through a soak cycle on your machine, then run a rinse cycle to clear out the bleach.
Clean the dispensers
Lastly, make sure to clean all the detergent and fabric softener dispensers on your washing machine. Each model will recommend a different way to clean the dispensers. Generally speaking, avoid using detergent to clean them and take a look at your manual for specific cleaning instructions.
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Eco-Friendly DIY Home Cleaners

If you’ve ever studied the “caution” label on the back of any household cleaner, you’ll notice a number of bolded warnings that the product should not be touched, inhaled, or swallowed. That’s unnerving, considering many of these cleaners are designed for use on kitchen appliances.
Try making your own Eco-friendly and chemical-free cleaning solutions that will keep your appliances spotless and your family healthy.

1. To clean smudges, smears, and spots from fingertips off of your stainless steel appliances, mix a few drops of liquid dish washing detergent with warm water and wipe with a clean, soft cloth.
2. Although a simple box of baking soda can keep the odors down in your refrigerator, you can also clean the shelves with a mix of equal parts vinegar and water.
3. Did you let a pot boil over on the stove? To clean stuck-on grime from your stove top, simply sponge a little hot water over the grime and let it soak for a few minutes. Even the stickiest messes will scrub away with a little elbow grease and a good soaking.
4. Instead of using “oven bombs” and cleaning sprays that require that you keep the area well ventilated and refrain from ingesting the fumes, try fume-less, harmless baking soda.
a. Simply sprinkle baking soda over the bottom of the oven when cool.
b. Spray over the baking soda with water in a spray bottle until the baking soda is just moist.
c. Repeat this step every couple of hours to keep the soda damp.
d. After a few hours, scrape the soda mixture off the oven bottom and the grime and residue will come with it.
e. Rinse well.
5. To zap grease in the microwave, mix a cup of water with a quarter-cup of white vinegar. Boil the solution in the microwave for a couple of minutes and let stand for about ten minutes. Then simply wipe the interior of the microwave off with a clean cloth.
Sources:
The Daily Green
About.com/Housekeeping
Hug a Tree with Me
House Logic
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Dryer Maintenance and Safety
washing machine

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Fire Administration National Fire Data Center, about 2,900 clothes dryer fires are reported each year causing an estimated 5 deaths and $35 million in property damages.
Keep reading for our list of dryer maintenance and safety tips to ensure your dryer is operating at its best—and keeping you and your family safe.

1. Make a habit of cleaning the lint screen on a regular basis (even after each load of clothes). If your clothing seems to be taking longer to dry than usual, check the lint screen for blockages. If you often use fabric softeners, it is a good idea to scrub out the lint screen once in while with a bristle brush to minimize buildup from softeners.
2. Clean around the area that the lint filter fits into: you can use a vacuum cleaner to reach into the duct. Also clean any lint or debris from around the dryer and on the floor.
3. Your dryer vent should be made of solid aluminum—not foil accordion-style ducting material as this can sag and trap lint in its corners, and certainly not a vinyl hose because this type of hose is flammable. It is important to check the length of the ducts roughly once a year to ensure that there are no blockages. Ducts that are shorter in length are safer because there are less opportunities for blockages to occur.
4. Inspect the outside vent regularly: sometimes birds or insects take advantage of this perfect protected location and build their nests in it.
5. Avoid drying rubbers, plastics, foams, and materials that have come in contact with flammable liquids (even if thoroughly washed).
6. Never leave your dryer running when you cannot attend to it.
Sources:
USFA
Lint Alert
Repair Clinic
Consumer Reports