We are often under the misconception that a washing machine is one of the cleanest appliances in our home. It has dirty clothes going in and clean clothes coming out, which obviously means that it must be magically staying clean at all times, right?
Wrong, and we’re here to clear that! Regular usage of washing machines often leads to the build-up of limescale and grime on different parts of the machine which could result in reduced effectiveness and life of the washing machine. Limescale deposits could develop as a result of hard water being used in the machine to wash the clothes. Grime could collect by use of low quality detergent or excessive use of detergent.
The Solution: Descaling Washing Machines at Regular Intervals
We’ve learnt that in order to keep our front load or top load washing machine functioning at its best, we need to especially descale its drum at regular intervals. The process of descaling helps remove the white, chalky limescale deposited in appliances by repeated use of hard water.
Hard-water deposits in the drum, if left untreated, can lead to the development of a musty smell, and lend your clothes a mouldy, damp odour. Eventually, it may also lead to the reduced lifespan of the washing machine and poor performance of the washer.
Initially, we tried some home remedies like baking soda and vinegar to clean the washing machine drum, but noticed that they weren’t very effective. In fact, vinegar, in particular, left behind a very strong and sour smell, which made the cleaning process quite unpleasant. Also, very often, baking soda and vinegar have to be used in conjunction with each other and that makes descaling quite a tedious exercise. We also tried simply scrubbing at the deposits, but since they are hard deposits, we had to scrub too much, which eventually led to scratches on the drum.
As compared to home remedies like white vinegar, we learned that products such as washing machine descalers are designed especially to provide more efficient and long-lasting results.
Descalers are essentially chemical agents that are utilized for removing calcium deposits and limescale from metal surfaces that function with hard water. Some of them even have the ability to break down the calcium molecules in the drum and soften the hard water being pumped into the machine.
How to Descale & Clean a Washing Machine Drum
The buildup of limescale in the drum over a period of time can not only cause damage to laundry and garments during wash cycles, but might also make the machine less energy efficient. The main reason why limescale builds up in the washing machine drum more than the other parts is because it comes into contact with hard water the most during the wash cycle.
Think of descaling the drum as a simple, DIY project that can be done by you, at a fraction of the cost of getting it properly serviced by professionals (which of course, is needed as well at regular intervals!)
Step 1: We start the process by removing the rubber band that seals the door and wiping it clean with a damp cloth. The same can be done on the door of the machine itself and the drum as well; ensuring all the visible dust and dirt is removed.
Step 2: The next step to clean the washing machine drum is to specifically use a descaling product. We found Surf Excel Washing Machine Drum Descalers to be extremely convenient as they come in an easy-to-use tablet format and can be used for both front load and top load models. They easily dissolve in the machine drum.
All we had to do was toss 2 of these tablets in the empty washing machine drum and set the longest running cycle on the machine. At the end of the cycle, we were impressed to see how the descalers had worked their magic in cleaning the drums, while leaving behind a refreshing lemon fragrance.
We read on the pack that not only do the tablets remove limescale and grime from the washing machine drum, they also remove bacteria for a more hygienic wash. It is a super convenient and hassle-free way of cleaning our washing machine drum on a regular basis as we don’t have to spend time and effort scrubbing the insides of the drum to remove the deposits, as is the case with home remedies.
Step 3: We then wipe the outside body of the machine using a soft cloth soaked in lukewarm water to get the external grime off, followed by a wipe down with a dry cloth.
Step 4: Once the cleaning cycle of the washing machine is over, we recommend cleaning the inside of the drum while it is still warm with a normal sponge or a clean, soft cloth and then leaving the door open for a while to enable effective drying.
We cannot underscore the importance of cleaning our washing machine drum regularly – while deep cleaning by proper service professionals can be done once in a few months, the process of descaling is relatively simple and can be done by us to maintain the smooth functioning of our machine.
By regularly cleaning our machine, we can prevent the build-up of mould, odours and bacteria and also ensure perfectly hygienic, fresh laundry with each wash!
How Often Should You Descale Your Washing Machine
We have realised that our normal way of maintaining our front load or top load washing machine by getting it serviced frequently is often a costly and inconvenient affair, in comparison with descaling it ourselves. Experts recommend descaling the washing machine at least thrice a year. You could do it a couple of more times if you live in a hard water area.
Cleaning Other Parts of the Washing Machine
Door Seal – Can be cleaned manually with the help of a warm, damp cloth.
Detergent Compartment – Is generally detachable and can be removed and washed thoroughly.
Water Inlet – Hard water may cause blockages here, which may result in slower input of water into the machine. Proper cleaning is a must. You can remove the water inlet screens and soak them in a mild solution of water and detergent. The dirt, dust and debris accumulated in the water inlet can be removed with the help of an old toothbrush.
Descaling your washing machine will help increase its functional life. We recommend carefully following the instructions mentioned on the descaling product before using it.
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