Thursday, May 20, 2010

How Clean Is It Really?

You know how when we or our children take baths, our dead skin cells slough off and over time leave this wonderful residue behind?

As a child I remember wondering why bathtubs and towels became dirty if we were clean or became clean while using them. And I even completely understood Danny Tanner on Full House cleaning his vacuum and other cleaning utensils.
which is saying something, because his character really got on my nerves!

Nonetheless, I never thought about how nasty dirty the inside of a washing machine could be. Its not like I stick my head in it too often for an inspection. I'm not quite that OCD (there may be a thin line, but I won't point at it if you won't). I'm even blessed with a wonderful washer, a fisher & paykel ecosmart gw11.
It does so many things for me and is so easy to use that I was ecstatic on a past vacation at the beach to discover the condo had the same washer (yes, I know the OCD line is there, stop pointing already! sheesh!).

My husband does industrial electric work through a union and has had many a filthy location to work in, but this past February he began working in a steel plant. My dad even worked there for a little while when I was kid. And the only thing to say about the place is NASTY! Like all over nasty; nasty on his boots, nasty on his fire retardant clothing (apparently a must when you work near kilns larger than a Hummer), nasty on his neck, nasty on his face in a very artistic capacity, considering the safety glasses, hard hat and filtered mask he wears. So, as I said, nasty!
Of course these clothes he wears-socks, pants (thermals in the winter),underoos, tshirt, and snap button jacket-must all be washed. At first, I just couldn't seem to get his clothes clean and they, of course, smelled. Not that earthy, musky, "you turn me on" male scent either. The smell goes along with the list of nasty.
Grease Lightening became my friend for getting his clothes clean, but alas, to my horror, I discovered that the NASTY was leaving its stain behind in my washer. (Ok! now you can point out the OCD line has been crossed! I admit it, I'm compullsive!)
I tried the Tide washing machine cleaner, but it didn't do the job to get rid of the NASTY.

Here is a cutaway shot of my washing machine. This machine is different from the others I've had, in that you take off the top cap and pour the laundry soap/and Clorox down the center tube. Then you pour the fabric softener in the top cap that comes apart into two pieces. I was shocked at all the places the nasty grime had left its mark, as illustrated in the picture.

So necessity being the mother of all invention, I went back to my Old Reliable, Distilled White Vinegar.

with the help of a little friend that helps us get the grime out of fingernails after working at the steel mill, or in my case working in the garden.

There was no rocket science or even vast amounts of elbow grease to rid my washer of the NASTY. Matter of fact, its taken me twice as long to write this post as it did to clean the washing machine (my excuse being pics of Bab Saget are hard to come by)!
I simply poured distilled white vinegar into the laundry soap resevoir and in the bottom of the tub. Then I set the washer on a cycle of heavy duty and a soak with the highest level of hot water. I paused the cycle before it went into rinse mode and let it sit a while longer. After about 30 minutes, I opened the lid, took the fingernail brush and an old toothbrush to the areas of grime, including the two pieces that make up the fabric softener resevoir. Within ten minutes all the grime had been scrubbed away just like the dead skin cells left behind in the bathtub. When I was done, I simply let the washer complete the cycle and it is now as clean as the day I first used it! Take that NASTY!

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