Washing Machine Maintenance Wash

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  Washing Machine Maintenance Wash

You will often see the maintenance wash referred to on UK Whitegoods in various articles as well as within the forums. This article details exactly what to do to perform a maintenance wash.

A maintenance wash effectively cleans out the insides of your washing machine, which needs done on all washers from time to time. Most detergent manufacturers as well as washing machine manufacturers seem to have settled on doing it once a month, but obviously this will vary from household to household depending on how much the washing machine is used basically.

ISE programs available However, there are other factors that will affect the need for maintenance washes. For example we tend to find that people that use detergents correctly, using normal powder or tablets for whites and a "colour" detergent or liquid (also liquid tablet capsules and concentrated liquids) for coloured loads, will have far less need to perform a maintenance wash with that sort of regularity. In short, using the detergents properly in the first place can save an awful lot of bother in the long term.

Using only colour detergent, liquid, liquid tablets or any other detergent that does not contain bleach will massively increase the need to carry out a maintenance wash. This includes alternatives such as soapnuts, ecoballs and Ecover etc., products which we have serious concerns about anyway.

It is worth noting at this point that the modern washing machines available now use less water (a lot less) and that this is a growing problem which can lead to smelly washing machines. I have, at the end of this article, provided links to help you cure this and other problems that arise from these conditions. Washing technology, how we do it and what we use to do it with, have changed massively since the introduction of the EU Energy Labelling system and what we do today is totally different to what we did even ten years ago to wash.

For more on the effects should you not do a reguar maintenance wash also see Smelly Washing Machines and also Mould Lumps In A Washing Machine

  Why You Need To Run Your Washing Machine With No Load

Essentially the maintenance wash is to clean your washing machine out, not clothes!

It is absolutely vital, if you want this to work, that the machine is empty when a maintenance wash is performed. The reason for that is that lots of the components in the detergent will, instead of cleaning the machine, be attracted to and attempt to clean any laundry that you put in instead of the build-up of bacteria and other nasty dirt in the machine. The point is to clean the inside of your washing machine, not clothes.

This will also help the surfactants in the powder to attack the calcium build-ups as well, which will negate the need for any descaler. However, if you use detergent correctly you should have little call for such add-on products normally as there are components in the detergents to combat the effects of limescale already, there should be little, if any, requirement to buy any more products for this reason, such as Calgon.

  Which Detergent To Use For A Maintenance Wash

You will need a good brand powder or tablets to do this. Liquids, liquid tabs or Colour detergent is of no use at all for a maintenance wash and they will not clean the insides of the washer properly as they contain no bleach or bleaching agents. It is the bleach in the detergent that will kill the bacteria and that is a huge part of this process and the primary reason for carrying out a maintenance wash.

You can find out a lot more about detergents and how to use them properly from this link

washing machine graveyard
Many washing machines end up like this just because they're not looked after

  Which Program To Use For A Maintenance Wash

This is also pretty important if you wish this to succeed.

You need to use at least a 60˚C program, preferably a hot wash at about 90˚C or even 95˚C is still better and will help to clean better. Please select one without a pre-wash, you want to get the full wash cycle and the heating from the heater to maximise the impact of any biological action by the enzymes if you are using a bio powder, which I'd recommend.

  What To Do Next

Put the kettle on and sit back with a cuppa and relax, you're done.

The maintenance wash is very simple, quick and easy to perform but it can save you a whole heap of trouble, not to mention possible unnecessary service visits. Performing this simple task once in a while really can save you money and lots of it as the effect that not doing it can have is profound indeed. If you want your washing machine to last as long as possible we strongly recommend that this simple chore is regularly carried out.

  A Cleaner To Solve This And Other Problems

Affresh washing machine cleanerThis article was originally posted in 2004 and, since then we've been searching for a cleaner that can solve the odour problem for people, in 2008 finally found one!

Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner has been specifically developed to combat the problem of smelly or foul smelling washing machine and is available in the online store along with it's sister product Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner.

Is short, Affresh attacks the residue itself, breaking it up and sending it down the drain and, regular use can stop it from happening again. The great thing about this is that it's not stupidly expensive either, it's actually quite cheap.

We get asked all the time on the best way to solve the problem and, especially if it is fairly bad, maintenance washes can take a long time to clear the odours but it still won't remove all the scum that's left, Affresh will as it is specifically designed to break these residues up.

  More Washing Machine Maintenance Information

You can find more, as well as related, information on the effects of not carrying out a maintenance wash from the following articles:

Smelly Washing Machines how to avoid nasty smells and get rid of them

Washing Machine Soap Drawers how to clean them to avoid smells and bacteria build ups

Door Seal Mildew or Black Marks how to cure and avoid mould on your washing machine door seal

Whiter Whites, Brighter Colours, how to use detergents correctly.

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Donna Winn
Bosch WFF 1201 Basically it does everything but go round it pumps out it makes the noises as if its doing the wash & spin but drum doesn't move. I have had this machine 16 years it still washes as it did when new. Is it likely to be the belt or brushes & is it worth repairing or time to replace it, what machine would you recommend Bosch only.thank you.
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Donna Winn
I have a Bosch WFF 1201 I have had it 16 yrs best machine ive ever had the drum wont go round it makes all the noises & pumps the water out basically it does everything but move. Is it the belt or the brushes & would you recommend I buy a new one or repair.
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Caroline rescorl
David118 said :
When I've done maintenance washes with just powder (the one with bleach for whites) at 95C, the powder creates too much foam and I have to stop the machine to kill the foam, before it comes out of the drawer. Even using a small amount of this powder will over-foam.Would you recommend people use Affresh and not powder, to avoid this foaming problem? Affresh is now called "Wpro Power Fresh" in Europe.To answer the question below about smelly bedding... Wash bedding at 60C (cotton/polyester) in future and always use the extra rinsing option as well. Washing above 60C is best, if the items can tolerate it e.g. tea-towels, dishcloths etc. Use slightly more detergent, unless of course it foams too much.
I use soda crystal and have done for many years never had any problems Caroline

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David118
When I've done maintenance washes with just powder (the one with bleach for whites) at 95C, the powder creates too much foam and I have to stop the machine to kill the foam, before it comes out of the drawer. Even using a small amount of this powder will over-foam.Would you recommend people use Affresh and not powder, to avoid this foaming problem? Affresh is now called "Wpro Power Fresh" in Europe.To answer the question below about smelly bedding... Wash bedding at 60C (cotton/polyester) in future and always use the extra rinsing option as well. Washing above 60C is best, if the items can tolerate it e.g. tea-towels, dishcloths etc. Use slightly more detergent, unless of course it foams too much.
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My problem isn't a smelly washing machine BUT foul smelling bedding that has been washed with Daz, Lenor softener and either dried outside or inside. When I need the bedding it smells as though a roomful of people have vomited all over it. I am at the end of my patience now as I dread changing the beds. Please can someone help. I have a Zanussi washing machine.
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kalpna patel
How do i open the fliter compartment.I have hoover vision hd..plz help,
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Kenneth Watt
Enzymes work on a temperature curve up to about 40˚C or just short of it as they are biologic, hence the name of detergents that use enzymes. They are there to target biological stains such as grass, blood and so on, not as a disinfectant.However, 40˚C is too cold to clean some things effectively such as grease in cotton, for that you need a higher wash temperature. Below 60˚C you do not kill bugs and mites etc.In this instance, for a maintenance wash the enzymes are not really relevant though, you are trying to get the maximum sanitisation that you can which means that you require as high a temperature as you can to kill bugs, not remove stains.
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fred taylor
Thanks for these set of articles regarding washing machines, washing powder (liquids) etc etc .. v informative. Good job! I've one question. If the enzymes in biological soap are meant to work best at 40degsC and reduce performance above this temperature.. then why use "preferably a hot wash at about 90˚C or even 95˚C is still better"..."the heating from the heater to maximise the impact of any biological action by the enzymes if you are using a bio powder". Surely that is a contradiction? Have I missed the point?!?
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RolMK
I don't know why it took so long to find a good machine cleaner. I've been using the Indesit "Profesional Limescale and Detergent Remover" since ~2006 when the a Siemens engineer left a couple of sachets. I've been using this product ever since mainly because it was available in quantity at a reasonable price compared to what was generally available in the high street. Also it can be used to clean the dishwasher.Agree the frequency of machine cleaning is highly dependent upon the particular mix of washes and cleaning products used. Since I've stopped using cleaners containing fragrances my nose is now able to tell me when the machine is in need of a clean.

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