You Might be Skipping An Important Laundry Step If Your Freshly-Washed Clothes Still Smell

published May 10, 2020
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With any home appliance comes maintenance. If you want things to work effectively (and last longer), it’s important to do your part in preventing wear. Your washing machine is no exception.

While there’s a time and a place for an inside and out deep clean of your washer and dryer, washing machine cleaners are a convenient (and relatively cost-effective) alternative. Not only do they keep your machine running smoothly, but they can also prevent your clothes from smelling dirty even after you just washed them.

From how these cleaners work to the best product options out there, here’s everything you need to know about cleaning the very thing that keeps your clothes clean.

Why do I need to clean my washing machine?

Maintaining your washer is one part of keeping it clean, but keeping your washing machine spic and span also helps the appliance do its job well. Chris Albers, marketing director at Carbona, recommends cleaning yours at least once a month to keep foul-smelling laundry grime and detergent residue at bay. “If not, the leftover soap can get trapped inside the machine, creating a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and mildew to grow rapidly in the humid environment,” he says.

On top of clogging your washer’s inner mechanisms and reducing its effectiveness, these germs can also transfer smells onto your clothes, which totally defeats the purpose of washing in the first place.

The best way to make sure your machine is functioning at its best? Investing in (and using!) a washing machine cleaner. 

How does washing machine cleaner work?

The goal of all washing machine cleaners is to keep your washer and clothes fresh. But how, exactly, a washing machine cleaner works depends on its ingredients. 

With ingredients like boric acid (an antiseptic that staves off germs in your washer) and sodium carbonate (known as washing soda, which will remove the residue), traditional cleaners like Affresh cleaning tablets and Oxiclean washing machine cleaner penetrate and dissolve odor-causing residue in your washer.

If you’re looking for a slightly more natural alternative, Carbona washing machine cleaner attracts and binds smelly residue (along with dirt and limescale) with activated charcoal. On a molecular level, activated charcoal is super porous with a large interior surface area, so it works a lot like an ultra-absorbent sponge for the inside of your cleaner. 

How do I clean my washing machine? 

As you might expect, washing machine cleaners make cleaning the inside of your washer simple. 

Specific instructions vary based on the product you use, but generally, you’ll remove all the items from your washer, put a tablet into the washer tub, run a wash cycle, and then wipe down any residue that might be left behind. And there you have it, a fresh washing machine.