Spring Cleaning

A Little Bit of Cleaning Today Will Save You From Big Money Repairs and Ruined Laundry

updated May 3, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

With Spring Cleaning for Your Mood, we’re helping you get your housekeeping done no matter what state of mind you’re in. For 20 weekdays in April, we’ll focus on cleaning a new area of your space, with three different ways to get it done—so it’s easy to stay on track even when you’re busy, tired, or away from home. Sign up with your email now and enjoy a better space by the end of the month.

That whole “apple a day” adage gets tired because it’s true. Same with “stitch in time” and the whole “ounce of prevention” thing— if you put in a little effort now, you can save yourself from bigger woes down the line. Cleaning your laundry area is a little bit like that.

They’re cleaning machines, but they need cleaning themselves, too. If you let film build up on gaskets and leave lint to clog up the exhaust, your laundry appliances aren’t going to be able to do their jobs very well—ultimately you could be looking at expensive repair bills, potentially ruining your clothes, or worse. The U.S. Fire Administration says that 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year—the leading cause of those fires being uncleaned dryers. All of it can be better prevented with just a little elbow grease.

(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

Day 8 Assignment: The Laundry Room

If you don’t have laundry at home, you get a break today (because you deserve one, you lug-it-to-the-laundromat champion).

So what are you in the mood for today?

A Satisfying Deep Dive: Deep clean the laundry room and machines.

Your laundry “room” might be more of a laundry closet or wall or area. That’s fine! Just do some or all of these tasks to get the space spring cleaned:

  • Soak and scrub removable parts of your washer, like the bleach and fabric softener wells.
  • Use a detail brush or an old toothbrush to clean nooks inside/under the washer lid, including the gasket or seal, especially on front-loading machines.
  • Clean the inside of the washer. You can run an empty load on a hot, full, long setting with a bit of vinegar added to the water (once it fills), or follow the instructions on a commercial washing machine cleaner product.
  • Remove, soak, and scrub your dryer’s lint trap.
  • Unplug the dryer and clear the exhaust system of lint: Vacuum the back of the dryer, and remove the vent pipe to clear any lint or dust that may be trapped inside the tube, or just inside the dryer.
  • Inspect the inside of your dryer for loose threads or other debris, and clean any buildup with all-purpose cleaner and a rag.
  • Inspect any other gaskets, hoses, or exhaust vents for signs of wear, buildup, or mildew.
  • Clean and disinfect knobs, dials, and buttons.
  • Vacuum the area behind and underneath the laundry machines.

A Quick Win: Run a cleaning cycle and vacuum the dryer.

If you just have a moment, do just one thing for your washer, and one thing for your dryer.

  • Run your washing machine on a hot, full, long cycle with a bit of vinegar added to the water.
  • Use a vacuum and focus on clearing your dryer’s exhaust system of lint—check the back of the machine and the vent tube for any debris trapped around or inside.

A Mindful Reset: Leave yourself a “good laundry habits” reminder.

Taking care of your laundry machines isn’t a one-day-only kind of task. As you’re doing laundry throughout the year, you can train yourself and the people you live with to practice smart habits with every load. With your mindful minute today, create and post a quick sign somewhere in the laundry room to remind you to clean the dryer lint trap and leave washer doors open after every load.

Visit the Spring Cleaning for Your Mood page to check out all the assignments so far. Download the PDF calendar so you always know what’s coming. And sign up with your email so you’re always on track: