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The 3 secrets to a fresh washing machine and dryer

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Your washing machine and clothes dryer can house some pretty gross grime, which can cause your clothes to smell slightly less fresh than you’d prefer. There are three main ingredients experts recommend to kill any lingering germs in these appliances: bleach, baking soda and vinegar.

Here’s how to use each.

Bleach:
Only use bleach in your washing machine. Make a solution of 10 cups of water to 1 cup of bleach and put it in a spray bottle. Spray down the tub, letting it sit a minute to loosen the ick. Then, use a slightly abrasive cleaner to scrub the tub and agitator with a sponge, respraying the bleach solution if necessary. Also scrub and wipe down the lid. Follow this up by running one cycle of your washer using 1 cup of bleach in hot water. You can use the same process with a front-loading washer, but make sure to spray down and scrub the rubber seal around the door, inside and outside, to remove mildew there.

Baking soda:
Combine 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1 quart of water. Use this solution to scrub down the inside of the tub; then run one cycle with hot water. You can also add 1 cup of vinegar to this solution to further disinfect the machine.

Vinegar:
Vinegar is best for the clothes dryer because bleach may linger and then stain clothes. Use water and vinegar, or even just dish soap and water, to wash down the inside of the dryer. Let it dry, and then run on hot for a few minutes. (You can throw in towels if you don’t want to run it empty.) Make sure to clean the lint filter thoroughly each time you use the dryer, too.

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