I called in on Katy yesterday, who was perplexed, and rather upset to find that her washing machine was turning out clothes dirtier than when she put them in….small grey spots had appeared on the clothes and after a second rinse cycle they still were not coming off. Aha! I said, I know what it is. “You need to clean the washing machine”. “CLEAN THE WASHING MACHINE???? WHAT????” So we waited for the interminable spin cycle to shudder out its last breath, and once Katy emptied out the clothes I showed her the disturbing nature of the offending build-up.
What to do?
So if you have a top loading machine, eg a Fisher and Paykel gentle annie style machine, you twist off the whole fabric softener dispenser part in the centre of the machine, then you reach down into what is probably a rather gunky passage until your hand hits a turnscrew at the bottom. Twist the screw til undone, this will release the whole central spike of the machine – turn it over and there will be lots of washing liquid build up there. This needs to be washed or scrubbed off with a brush, and rinsed before putting it back. There will also be some residual gunk in the bottom which I have not figured out a way to get out – so I next run the machine through without any clothes in it but with a hefty dose of bleach. Rinse again and your machine should be ready to use again.
I reckon this needs to be done about every 3 months – I notice I need to do it more since I have started using laundry liquid instead of powder. You can tell when it needs to be done when you wash a white sheet or duvet cover and the little grey residues are noticeable.