Cleaning a Front Loading Washer (and Getting the Most out of Your Lemon)

I love citrus fruit. The only time I ever think "Hmm, maybe Vermont isn't complete paradise to live in" is when I hear from friends in California who have citrus trees in their yard. And that's it. I love citrus soda, the smell of citrus, my favorite dessert- key lime pie. So, while I love using citrus to clean around the house I hate wasting any precious part of the lemon.

Yesterday, my daughter and I cleaned the washer. It's a fairly new washer, a little over a year old, but we wash her cloth diapers in it so I like to give it the occasional scrub down. (God bless LG and their sanitary cycle- never has washing diapers been easier.)

The basics for cleaning the washer are lemon juice and vinegar. In order to not waste the skin of the lemon which we didn't need to clean the washer we gathered our tools:

Make sure to wash the lemon really well. 

To save the lemony goodness in the skin I try to think about how quickly I'm going to use it and in what. If I'm going to be using it that day or I'll be baking something, I zest:

If I'm not sure how soon I'll be using it, I use the veggie peeler to cut long strips off. Try to avoid the pith (white part) since it's a little bitter. Saving the rind in strips is great because I can chop it into little pieces, freeze it, or just stick a couple strips in a glass of water for some lemony goodness. I tend to just toss a strip or two into whatever I'm cooking- soup, pasta, tea. A little lemon always helps a dish. 

If you're feeling really motivated you can actually zest the lemon then peel the rest of the skin off in strips. Woo-hoo, it's a party! 

Ok- so enough about my love affair with lemons. It's time to juice the naked lemon. 

That must have been one juicy lemon because I got 1/4 cup total juice out of it. Strain out any seeds and pulp. 

Add enough vinegar to yield 2 cups. 

Grab a cleaning cloth and head over to your washer. I personally like Twist Bamboo Cleaning Cloths because they can be washed, dried and reused and are really soft. Spray the outside of your washer with cleaner and wipe it down. Then do the same on the door. On the inside of the door and the drum of the washer I like to spray with straight vinegar. 

Make sure to get under the lip of the rubber seal. On front loading washers this area can gather all kinds of fun stuff and it stays there until you wipe around it. 

Take your lemon-vinegar cleaner and pour it to the max fill level in every compartment available. This helps by having cleaner come in during every cycle of the wash. 

Now run the washer on hot using the bulky load setting. Be sure to add an extra rinse so that any vinegar odor is washed out. And that's it! Easy......


  1. I have not had to do this yet, but am really glad to know the steps! Thanks (and also for the lemon zest tip!).

    1. Thanks! I've been freezing lemon & lime zest as well and it works well in any dish that needs it. I can't tell the difference between the fresh and frozen.

  2. Super helpful! This is a problem I've been having.

    Do you think it's OK to use different kinds of vinegar -- like apple cider? Or just straight white vinegar.

    1. In my experience with cleaning products the acidity can vary a bit in cider vinegar and it can leave a slight smell. Personally I would go with the straight white stuff.