Saturday, March 23, 2013

How to clean your microwave and your top loading washing machine (with pictures!)

Today, I tackled 2 Pinterest-inspired cleaning projects that I've hoped to tackle for a while now!  I just needed a day at home to do it!  In addition to a LOT of other projects today, I cleaned and sanitized my top-loading washing machine and the inside of my microwave with some tips I learned on Pinterest.  I wanted to share the details and pictures.

First, the microwave.  It's a little simpler and only requires 3 pictures to explain the process.

Here's the before picture.  Grody!

On Pinterest, I had read a post about heating a cup of vinegar to loosen up the dried on food inside.  It sounded like a great way to do this little project.  You could just swipe out the yucky stuff afterward.  But when quite a few people commented that it had somehow destroyed the inner workings of their microwave, I decided against that!  Some other commenters recommended just heating a cup of WATER and basically steaming the inside of the microwave.  So, a cup of water it is!  And it worked!

One cup of water, heated for 2 minutes produces steam and boils the water.  When I took it out of the microwave, I moved the glass spinning plate thingie to the sink and poured about 1/2 of the water over it to sit and soak while I scrubbed the microwave.  It didn't take a whole lot of elbow grease.  Everything wiped right off!  And then I went back and wiped the glass plate thingie clean, too.  Again, very little elbow grease required---it just wiped off!

Back into the microwave with the glass thing and voila...clean microwave!  Easy peasy!!

I actually did the microwave project while in the midst of the next project because there are several times when you have to sit and wait, so it provided plenty of time to do the microwave.

Here's how to clean your top loading washing machine.  I also found this link on Pinterest and pinned it.  But just like so many other cleaning projects, that's about as far as it went.  A few weeks ago, a friend posted on Facebook that she did it and it worked!  So I was inspired to give it a shot.  The trick, for me, was to find a time when my washer/dryer was not in use and I had all the supplies!  It took a little time to get it all in order, but I finally pulled it off today.

First you have to gather these supplies:  1 qt of bleach, 1 qt of vinegar, a scrubber sponge and a towel/rag.  Oh, and one big dirty washing machine!

It's really pretty simple.  Fill the machine with HOT water and add in the bleach.  Let it agitate for 1 minute, then open the lid and let it soak for about an hour.  (I was a little impatient, so mine only sat for 45 minutes before I was ready to get onto the next step!)  At the end of the hour, close the lid and let it run through the wash, rinse, spin cycles.

Immediately fill it again with HOT water and add in the vinegar.  Let it agitate for 1 minute, then open the lid and let it soak for an hour.  (again, I only let it do this for about 45 minutes!)  During the soaking time, dip your scrubber sponge in the hot vinegar/water and detail the machine inside and out.  This was a little tricky because if you close the lid to reach the knobs and top of the lid, the machine tries to start running.  Don't let it run!  You'll have to hold it up a little bit so that it doesn't make contact with the mechanism that starts the machine.  While you're detailing, don't forget the agitator itself, bleach or fabric softener dispensers, the knobs, hinges, the inside of the lid and the top surface.  I also put a rag over my finger and swiped around the top of the drum where water gets slung during the wash cycle.  I was shocked to see how much crud was floating in the water as I cleaned, then re-dipped the sponge for fresh water over and over.  Gag!!

In the end, I am glad I did it!!  The website where I saw the instructions said you should clean and sanitize the inside of your machine at least twice a year.  I can see how it would be beneficial to do so.  Mine definitely needed it!

And now for the pictures! 

First, the outside/top of the machine.  Before--

And after--notice how shiny it is!!

Inside the lid/opened before--

And after--

The agitator before...ewww!  Soap scum & gunk!

And after--much better!!'s a nasty one.  Are you ready?
Looking down into the top of the agitator, there is a thing where you're supposed to put fabric softener.  I've NEVER used it because I use vinegar in a Downy ball.  I guess it just collects the funky stuff that is tossed around inside the machine while in use.


Lid hinge before

And after

Looking into the drum while it was soaking in the vinegar/water mixture.  Do you see the crud floating?  And the shade of the water?  Not exactly clear & sparkling, huh?

Check out the yucky stuff behind the lid.  Eww!

And after!

Check out the knobs sparkly clean!  Note the 2nd picture.  There is no duct tape residue from (cough, cough...) 2006.  You can see it in the "before" pics above.  I know, it's shameful how long that gunk was on my machine!  When we built on our master bath and laundry room, we had to put the machine in storage for a month or so and duct taped the cords to the top just to keep them from hanging on the floor.  That tape stuff has been on my machine ever since!

One final look down inside the clean drum!

I think both projects were a big success!!
One thing I'd note, however:  when you clean your washing machine, wear gloves.  Those scrubber sponges, combined with the very hot water, combined with the bleach & vinegar just about ate the tips off my fingers today!

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