Here’s an unpleasant fact: 25 percent of washing machines contain traces of fecal bacteria from our clothes. Don’t panic! You can quickly disinfect your washing machine and kill bacteria with just one common kitchen item: white vinegar.
Open the lid or door of your washer. Put on your inspector hat and check to make sure the inside of the washer drum is completely empty. A lingering sock will ruin your disinfecting efforts.
Add one quart of white vinegar. Pour one quart of white vinegar into the same place where you typically add laundry detergent. If you add detergent and fabric softener in different spots, double check to make sure you’re pouring the vinegar into the detergent slot. Note: This measurement is for top-loading washing machines. If you have a front-loading machine (with a small detergent dispenser), fill the detergent dispenser 3/4 full of white vinegar.
Select the hottest water setting. You want the water to be as hot as possible to kill any lingering bacteria, so select the hottest water temperature available. Also, choose the longest cycle available on your washing machine.
Let your washing machine run a complete, empty cycle. This will allow the vinegar to fully disinfect the inside of your washer. The mixture will naturally disinfect your machine without the extra chemicals found in many store-bought cleaners!
Optional: make your laundry safer! There are other things you can do that will make your laundry cleaner and safer. For example, washing your skivvies separately will prevent fecal bacteria from spreading to other items in your wardrobe. For a complete list, read: Make Your Laundry Safer.