2015 · domestic engineering

Domestic Engineering; #2 How to clean your washing machine NATURALLY.


Answer me honestly, how often do you clean your washing machine? And yes, it does need to be cleaned!
I normally deep clean my machine once every month or so and wipe down the visible surfaces of it about once a week/fortnight – pretty much whenever I am washing my cleaning cloths, I wipe the machine & my laundry benches over first. 
For the sake of this blog post I let my machine get dirty – real dirty, I let it go about a month longer than normal between cleans.
A lot of washing machine cleaning tutorials online include bleach, I have used bleach to clean this machine before at our previous home, but the house we own now has a “grey water system” and apparently if you use bleach (or too much of it) the system loses its mind. So this method of cleaning is a natural way, a way that is safe for a grey water system.
This method is also for a top loader, I never have owned a front loader so I am not sure on how to clean those – sorry!

Before we start, a few reasons why it’s important to regularly clean your machine…

  • Firstly a clean machine is a machine that smells good. This is a machine that holds water, obviously over time mould & mildew can build up inside it, therefore creating a smell and that smell can come off on your clean clothes.
  • Hard water can cause a buildup of limescale & pretty much just gunk in the pipes & parts of the machine, causing it not to work as good. 
  • Sometimes dirt & soap can splash up onto higher parts of the machine, leaving gunk & grime on the agitator (if you have one) & wash barrel above the water line. 
  • If your machine like mine, is in a garage or outdoor area it is more prone to dust & dirt.
  • Like anything in life, the better you take care of them the better they work & last. Washing machines are no different. 
So as I mentioned in this new house my laundry is in my garage, not ideally where I would like my laundry, but it’s better than our first home where it was situated in a little outdoor room. (Our first home was a post war home, very cute & old) 
Anyway, being in the garage means my laundry is much more susceptible to dust & dirt. Which is why I very regularly wipe my machine over, just so it looks cleaner & it gets rid of the dust which blows in when the garage door is open.  

Now I am kind of mortified to show these photos, it’s been killing me not to clean this machine over the past few weeks, but I needed it to get dirty so I could demonstrate how to clean & show before & after photos. I was even going to let it go a little longer than this, but I had a huge load of whites to wash & there was no way in the world I was going to do a load of white clothes in my machine while it was in that state! 

Before….  That is disgusting & pretty much the worst it’s EVER looked. This photos make me so embarrassed! 

To clean your washing machine naturally you will need;

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda (bi-carb soda) 
  • Eucalyptus Oil (optional) 
  • A stiff bristle brush
  • A cloth
That’s it.
The vinegar is a brilliant product to clean with. Vinegar disinfects, helps to kill mildew & mould, the acidity of the vinegar helps to break down the soap residue in the wash barrel, it can also help dissolve the lime scale built up in the pipes. The baking soda helps to clean soap scum & freshens the machine. The eucalyptus oil is a powerful disinfectant that can move grease, dirt & grime, it also can remove & prevent mould & will also leave a lovely freshly cleaned smell. 
I love using eucalyptus oil for cleaning! 
  1. Remove the lint collectors, clean them out and place them in the bottom of the machine. (All machines will have these in different places, mine are on the sides of the drum)
  2. This is absolutely disgusting, I didn’t think it was that bad I nearly died when I pulled it out. Those few extra weeks of not being cleaned clearly was a few weeks too much! 
  3. Set your washing machine to fill up to the highest level with hot water. 3C6F40B9-5D72-4F7B-9620-17BC40F61CBA_zpspq3jgntq
  4. For my machine I set it on a heavy duty load, filled it at EXTRA HIGH & on the HOT temperature.
  5. Once full, add in 4-5 cups of white vinegar. 
  6. Close the lid & let the machine run for about a minute to swirl the vinegar around.
  7. Add in 1/2 – 1 cup of baking soda.
  8. Close lid and let machine agitate again to swirl the baking soda & vinegar together.
  9. Add in a small capful or 20 drops of eucalyptus oil to the water mix.
  10. Close lid again for just a few seconds and let the machine swirl everything together so it is all evenly dispersed.
  11. You can see the gunk & grime already coming away from the barrel. GROSS!!! 
  12. Stop the washing machine now, if yours can be paused for a 1/2 hour – hour that is great, mine doesn’t like to be left paused so I just switch mine off. 
  13. Let the water sit for 1/2 – 1 hour. 
  14. During this time dip a cloth in the water and wipe down the entire machine, remembering all the corners & removable bits.
  15. Make sure you remember to flush out bits like this part. A few cups of the water/vinegar mix flushed through these parts cleans them well.
  16. Clean the lip under the lid where powder can build up, I find a stiff bristled brush is helpful at this stage for dislodging and moving it. Then I pour a few cup fulls of the water mixture down into it to flush it out. Much better!! Looking cleaner already!
  17. While waiting you can also clean the rest of your laundry, wipe down the benches, clean the sink (vinegar & baking soda are a great sink cleaning combo, especially for drains), remove any rubbish and just tidy up. 
  18. Wipe over your dryer & remove lint from the lint collector. 
  19. Once an hour is up, let the wash cycle continue so the water drains away. I just set mine to spin cycle.
  20. On my machine I just selected the standard cycle, then only set the spin speed – LOW, so that the dirty water would drain out. 
  21. Once the water is all drained out, restart the machine for another full cycle that includes hot water & let it run through completely. This will help push out all the gunk & grime that has been dislodged and just give it a good flush out. For my machine I reset it to the original heavy duty, extra high water level & hot/cold temperature setting I had to start with. 
  22. After this cycle has finished wipe down the barrel of the machine to remove any dirt/scum that maybe left behind.
  23. You have finished & your washing machine is now naturally clean. 
Super clean!!
A nice clean laundry to go along with my nice clean machine!!
Repeat this process every few months or when you feel your machine needs a clean.
Here are some tips for keeping your machine clean in-between cleans;
  • I always leave the lid of my machine open so it can dry out and prevents mould & mildew.
  • Clean the lint collectors in your machine regularly as well as your dryer. 
  • Wipe down the outer surfaces of your machine every time you wash your cleaning cloths, this only takes a minute and can make your laundry look cleaner. 
I hope you found this post informative & helpful. If you have any requests for future posts or any questions please contact me either on my social media accounts listed below or leave me a comment! 

Have a lovely weekend! 

Snapchat; Bindy_30


cleaning · domestic engineering · housewife · housework

Domestic Engineering; #1 Your questions answered!

If you follow me on my ‘Modernwifelife31’ instagram (if you aren’t – um why aren’t you?) you will see I upload regularly about cleaning, keeping my house presentable & cooking. It’s kind of “my thing” – not everyone likes doing that stuff, but I do.
I really like it & I enjoy encouraging other women to be house proud & wanting to be “domestic” in a world where sometimes being “domestic” isn’t so widely accepted, in fact I have found that it is more commonly looked down upon – which I find ridiculous. 
When I post those images I often then get comments but more regularly messages from other women, friends, Mums or even just random people I don’t know that well asking me for cleaning advice – wether it be just how to clean something or how I stay so committed to a cleaning routine. 
I answer every message individually but I figure I should also write this in a blog post so that way it is just out there…
Basically, you asked so I answered… 
The biggest question I get asked is; “how do I do it all”…
Trust me I don’t – ever. And I am sorry if I paint that picture. I just really don’t  focus on posting not positive stuff online. Our life is just as chaotic, wonderful & not perfect as everyone else’s, but I tend to only focus on the joy. Everyone’s life is a mix of good & bad, anyone implying otherwise is pretty much lying. 
I have weeks that I fall behind, jobs pile up & I get really annoyed at myself for not getting things done. But I commit to a day or 2 of solid “getting shit done” and well, I get shit done. And then I vow not to let it pile up again – but it will. Because life happens, we get busy, we get sick & we get distracted. If things don’t get done, well it isn’t the end of the world really – it’s life & sometimes other things are more important than housework.

The next most commonly asked question is; “What is my cleaning routine”…
I don’t have one. I truly don’t. I have jobs I do every single day & I try to commit to 1/2 an hour at the very least a day to cleaning but schedules don’t work for me. I try to do them, but they just don’t fit into how I clean. Each week is different, I prefer to just see how the day unfolds and get as much done as I can.
Every single day I do at least 1 load of laundry, make the beds, I unpack dishwasher in the morning & pack it at night, I vacuum at least once a day as well as a quick vacuum around where LuLu eats her meals & snacks after each time she eats, I pick up around the house, take the rubbish out & wipe down the benches. 
They are my basic daily jobs – I aim to do them every single day – they are really standard. And please don’t think I drag my huge Dyson out to vacuum all those times, I have a handheld/cordless/stick Dyson thing that I use for those times. I use it more often than my bigger one, because it’s so convenient – I love it. 
During the week I aim to wash our bedding once, clean the bathrooms a few times, do a vacuum with the corded Dyson & steam mop at least once & clean/dust all the surfaces. I also try to mow the lawn once a fortnight or so, depending on the grass growing rate! All these tasks may not all always get done, but more often than not it all goes to plan.

“How do I find time to clean with a baby/toddler”;
I have been getting this one for awhile. When LuLu was new, I couldn’t juggle everything, so on Trent’s days off I would spend 1 or 2 days cleaning like a mad woman. Now she’s older, she is happy to either play on her own or just follow me around. She’s learnt to stay off the freshly mopped floors until they are dry & sometimes she likes to help me do jobs. It may mean the job takes double the time, but I love that she wants to help. It’s very sweet. So if you are a Mumma with a new baby, don’t even stress about cleaning – when you find the time & energy & desire to do it – do it. But don’t make it the number one priority – babies are only so little for such a short amount of time. Sometimes when she was little, I would strap her in the “bug carrier” (Maduca baby carrier) and clean with her.
I have always found that if I get my jobs done straight away in the morning it is a lot easier. LuLu is more happy to entertain herself with her toys or colouring while I clean, I aim to get everything finished 2 hours or so before lunch so we can play before lunch, eat & then I get her ready for a nap and then I can either clean with chemicals if I need to (I don’t do that with her around) or I give myself a bit of a break. And then we can do a craft or play in the afternoon. 

“What cleaning products do I use”;
It depends, it truly does.
Most of the time what I use I make myself.
I do have some store bought cleaners, but I am trying to use them up so I can use everything homemade. 
I like knowing what I am using and how it was made. 
I do like buying a shower cleaner, but I rarely buy the same one. It’s normally whatever “eco” one is on special at the grocery store. We have a grey water system – which is kind of annoying. I like every now and then to give my sinks, drains & toilets a good clean with bleach. I can’t really do that because apparently bleach or any harsh chemical is bad for the system – silly sensitive thing! I also buy an “eco” toilet cleaner.
I have been asked for recipes on my cleaners, I am trying to work that out – I kind of eyeball measurements so next time I make a batch up I’ll try & start writing down how much I use. But vinegar, bi-carb soda & oils are brilliant to clean with! 
Also if I have something to clean that I need to use chemicals with I aim to do that while LuLu is napping, the main reason behind me using more natural & homemade cleaners is that they are a lot safer to use around her.

“How do I find the desire or motivation to clean”;
Easy, I see it as my job. It has been a very clear set up between Trent & I since we’ve been engaged. It is a lifestyle many don’t agree with or wish for themselves. But it works wonderfully for us. He takes cares of us outside of the home & I take care of us inside the home. Sure he helps me if I need it around the house and I also “work” on my blog/YouTube. 
I love the feeling of having an organised & clean home. I get annoyed & mad at myself if I let it get out of order. So I always strive to stay on top of things. 
Basically I clean my house for LuLu so she has a clean space to play & live in, for Trent because it is my role & he goes to work everyday so I should work too & he works damn hard so deserves a well kept home & also for myself because I am so much happier & relaxed when my house looks beautiful. 

Seriously, freshly made bed, clear bench & clean floors – these are few of my favourite things… lol 

So they are some of the top questions that I regularly get messaged about & my answers. 
If you liked this post please let me know, as I can do more posts on this topic. Please let me know what you would like to read…
I was thinking of some posts like… how to set up a cleaning routine, how I clean certain areas of my home & keep them clean, cleaning tips, how to make your own cleaning products/my favourite products, a day in my life, how to stay focused on maintaining a presentable home, etc… Oh and the way I organise my grocery list was also interesting to a few ladies, so I was thinking of discussing that as well – if you are interested. 
Let me know what you want to read!
Facebook me, comment below, Tweet me or follow me on Instagram! 
Also if you have anymore questions on anything, let me know & I can do another Q&A post, questions can be on anything! 
Thank you for being patient in between posts, like I said life gets hectic some weeks and April has been a busy month for us!! Being a wife & a Mumma comes first & I thank you all for being understanding about that!
I will do an April wrap up in a few days!