Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cleaning an HE Washer with Household Products

It was time to clean our HE washer and I was out of cleaning tablets. They are expensive ($12 for three tablets), it was early one Saturday morning and I didn't want to get out in the cold to go get more tablets. I turned to Pinterest! I searched up how to clean an HE washer and there were a few different ways. This is what I chose to do.
The vinegar and baking soda method was most used in the "how-tos" that I found on Pinterest and I had both items on hand so it seemed like it was worth a try and of course way cheaper!
NOTE:  Our washer is a smarty pants, it tells me when it wants to be cleaned. We switched to homemade laundry soap back in September.  You can read about that HERE.  The machine doesn't ask to be cleaned near as often as when I used liquid soap full time.  I love the homemade soap, but I missed the smell of the softener in the liquid soap.  I decided to get another bottle and use it for a while just to experiment.  I've cleaned the machine twice in the time it took to use the bottle of  liquid soap...not good!

UPDATE: Try my Homemade Fabric Softener here.
To clean your HE front load washer you will need 2 cups distilled white vinegar and 1 cup baking soda, any brand will do, this is just what I had handy.  This method literally costs pennies to clean the washer! That beats the heck out of  $4 a cleaning the tablets would cost us! Woohoo!
I added 1/2 cup of baking soda to the drum and another 1/2 cup in the soap dispenser drawer.
Next I added 1 cup of vinegar in the drum and 1 cup to the dispensing drawer as well. See the bubbling reaction there when I added the vinegar?  That didn't happen in the dispensing drawer because there are 2 separate compartments. Whew! I then closed up the door and drawer and set it to the cleaning cycle, our machine takes a little more than an hour to go through the whole process.
These next 3 pictures are the before and after shots I took to document my experiment.  The only thing I could tell was different from the tablets and the home mixture was the scent that the tablets left behind.  It was not there, but a fresh, clean smell was there instead! YAY!
I'm sold that vinegar and baking soda works just as well as the very expensive tablets.  I have to go to Lowes to get the tablets, they aren't sold in any of the grocery stores in my little town and I can get vinegar and baking soda at the grocery store or dollar store with no problem any time.
When I clean the washing machine I always wipe down both machines on the outside too just to make them all pretty and shiny for my nice new laundry room.  Speaking of that, I haven't shown you the final new look of our laundry room have I?  Hmmm, I better get on that soon!

Ok, it's up below to see it!

Our Laundry Room Reveal 

You may also like to read about:

DIY Laundry Detergent
Laundry Room Art
Clothespin Christmas Tree
3 Tiered Clothespin Chandelier

It doesn't have to be done all at once.  It is a slow process in the works! C-ya next time!

I'm Linking to:
These lovely and FUN parties!
Between Naps on the Porch
The Dedicated House  - (I was featured)

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  1. Thanks for sharing this tip. I have used vinegar and baking soda to unclog drains but didn't know to use it to clean my washer. I'll definitely do that rather than the expensive tablets! Pinned it!

  2. Good to know that there is another option out there. FYI, a chemist who developed one of the "tablets" told me that the key ingredient in the tablet in peroxide but I have not tried it yet!

  3. I love this!! I hate how gunky and smelly my front loader can get! I don't have a "cleaning cycle" but I wonder if it would work if I just do this with a regular {hot} load sans clothes?! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. SO SMART! Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  5. I didn't even know they made tablets to clean front loaders much less that you can use your own homemade solution! Thanks for sharing, I really needed to read this. Dropping by from The Clever Chick
    Roxana @

  6. Thanks for being the guinea pig and trying this! Will try it next time ;o)

  7. Wow, cleaning it makes such a difference. I'm excited to stop by from a blog hop and am a new follower. Feel free to do the same!

  8. Monday is laundry day around here and I just noticed a slight musty smell coming from the washer. So glad I found your post. (I stopped by from The Clever Chick Hop!)

  9. Thanks for this, I have a top loader HE washer....I will be using this...
    I wonder if this could be used in the Dishwasher?....hmmmm, might have to try it
    Mine says to use a special brand cleaner and I bet this would work

  10. I followed your instructions to a "T". WORKED! I had lots of gross bits in my machine after the first run. Wiped it out, did it one more time, and wiped it again. Thanks!

  11. Brilliant! Thank you for sharing this! I don't have a clean cycle, so can I just use a long cycle?

  12. Oh I will have to give this a try . I hate the price of the cleaner and I don't find it always cleans the scum off the rubber seal very well ! Thanks for sharing this . Found you via Chicken Chick's blog ! Have a good day !

  13. I am going to try this this weekend. I've used just vinegar in the dispenser before, but I've never added baking soda. My machine has lots of black mildew stains on the gasket that won't come off, not even with bleach! I wish they could figure out a way to make this part of the machine easier to clean and care for. Thanks for the tips!

  14. If you check out One good thing by Jillee you can get the recipe for making your cleaner smell fab. She also has a great fabric softener that smells gorgeous

    1. Hi Lucy! I'll check that out, thanks so much for the tip! :)

  15. Thanks for the tip cleaning products are expensive and your idea is eco friendly too love your new laundry room

    1. Hi Ellen! Yes they are expensive so why not try to save some $$$ huh! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a kind comment! :)


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