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Help! My Washing Machine Smells
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File this one under housekeeping tasks you had zero clue you needed to do: Taking time during your cleaning schedule to wash your washing machine. Yep. Apparently, all those sudsy cycles can cause mold and mildew, which in turn causes your “clean” clothes to, ew, smell. Here, an easy fix for both top- and front-loading machines. (Don’t worry, once every six months should do the trick.)

What you need: White vinegar, baking soda, a microfiber cloth and an old toothbrush

For a top-loading machine: Adjust the settings to the hottest water temp and longest cycle, then hit Start. (FYI, no clothing should be included in this load.) As the washer starts to fill up with water, add four cups of white vinegar and one cup of baking soda, let it mix a bit, then pause the cycle (or lift the lid) to let the combo sit. During that time, use an old toothbrush dipped in hot white vinegar to clean dirty crevices—for example, any detergent compartments. After the solution has soaked for an hour, resume the cycle.

For a front-loading machine: Before you begin, use a microfiber cloth dipped in white vinegar to wipe out the rubber gasket on the front of your washer. (You’d be amazed how much water and scum can accumulate in the crevices there.) Next, adjust the settings to the hottest, longest cycle. Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup water in the detergent tray and run a load. (We repeat: no clothes.) When the cycle finishes, pop out the detergent tray and run it under hot water until it’s clean. Then, pop it back in your machine, add one cup of white vinegar to the tray and run one final wash.

Whoa, what smells so fresh? It’s your shiny, ultra-clean washing machine.

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