David Andrews provided these tips and below his suggestions are tips from Stephen Adams
The most used appliance in the home is the washer and dryer. Here are tips for cleaning and maintenance of these valuable machines-
Using your washer and dryer every week means that many cycles of dirt, detergent, water and heat pass through it — not to mention a lot of wear and tear. Here are simple ways to make your washer and dryer cleaner, safer and more efficient. Do this twice a year.
Clean your washer. First remove germs and detergent buildup in your washer by running an empty load on medium with hot water and two cups of chlorine bleach or white vinegar (see your product manual for specific recommendations for your machine). In the middle of the wash cycle, add 1/2 cup of detergent. Let the load run the full cycle.
After running the empty load, remove any stains on the washer drum with a soft abrasive cleanser and a sponge.
Clean your dryer vent hose — doing so regularly helps prevent fires. Just unhook the clamps, dryer vent hose or ductwork from the back of the machine and the wall vent. Vacuum out both ends and inside the hose, then reattach the hose firmly to the machine and the wall vent. Use aluminum tape to reattach the ductwork joints.
Check the interior dryer drum for stains:
To remove gum, soak a dryer sheet in clothing stain remover and let the dryer tumble on the hot setting for 10 minutes. When it stops, wipe the gum with the dryer sheet.
To get out crayon, ink or fabric-dye stains, simply spray inside the dryer drum with an all-purpose household cleaner or rubbing alcohol and wipe with a paper towel. Then throw some clean old towels in the dryer and run for 10 minutes, to remove residue from the tumbler.
One of the biggest problems with high-efficiency front loader washers is the accumulation of bacteria in fabric softener residue. European machines especially, seem to have more places in the system where the softener collects. And over time, bacteria begins to grow in the warm, safe environment of the softener sludge.
Most fine fabric manufacturers do not recommend fabric softeners because of this build-up in the fabric weave. Over time, this tends to dull colors and can interact unpleasantly with some deodorants.
The best way to control washer bacteria is to limit the use of softeners and add the prescribed amount of Hydrogen Peroxide for laundry, as found in Ecover, Generation, and other similar products found in better grocery stores. Hydrogen Peroxide kills living organisms without harming fabrics. If used on a regular basis, it eliminates bacteria even in Bosch – one of the more prone brands.
Afresh (a Whirlpool product) is another way to help reduce fabric softener accumulation. However, it does not have the same antibacterial effect as Hydrogen Peroxide.
Running a “clean cycle” of the hottest water with 2-cups of Bleach is a good method, provided you stop the wash cycle and let the solution sit. The release of Chlorine gas inside displaces oxygen killing bacteria. The important part is letting it all sit for an hour or so.
But most household staff haven’t the time to go through this process on a regular basis. A heavily used machine should be treated with chlorine as much as 2-times each week. The over-all best method I’ve found is to use a small amount of Hydrogen Peroxide in every wash (or nearly every wash) on a regular basis. Cut the use of fabric softeners. If you must use one, use dryer sheets.