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How do you clean your Speed Queen top loader?

emma darling
15 days ago

I have a relatively new TC5 and I want to make sure that it doesnt develop any nasty odors or mold/mildew problems. I always leave the lid up when not in use, but I havent done anything else since I didnt see anything about this mentioned in the manual. Does anyone periodically clean the machine with vinegar or bleach to keep it fresh and prevent mold growth or detergent buildup?

Comments (44)

  • sushipup1
    14 days ago

    I don't do anything except leave the lid up. 4-1/2 year old machine, no troubles at all.

  • emma darling
    Original Author
    14 days ago

    Thanks! May I ask if you add vinegar and/or bleach when you do your regular laundries? (I ask because this may obviate the need to do a cleaning cycle with these products.)

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  • Laundry Mich
    14 days ago

    If you are using warm/hot water regularly with a quality detergent, build up should be minimal / little. What would really cause problems is under or overdosing of detergent, followed by continuous use cool / cold temperatures.


    As another member pointed out, simply doing a load of laundry weekly with a Cup of Bleach, should also prevent the acclamation and help to kill off any bio-film or mold that could develop in the outer basket.


    And.... lastly, if you ever want to really deep clean the basket and machine. Here's my advice.


    Turn the Washer On to Middle Water Fill Setting, and Dump in 1/2 a box of Powdered Dishwasher Detergent (any brand). Allow the washer to agitate for 5 minutes. Then Stop the machine.


    Now. Restart the cycle timer, and allow it to fill all the way to the top, this time adding in a full cup of Regular Unscented Chlorine Bleach. Allow the machine to agitate again for 5 minutes, and then open the lid, and allow the machine to sit for 30 minutes, soaking in the solution. Finally, let the cycle agitate further and drain. Once the cycle is finished I would then run a separate Rinse & Spin Cycle, to remove any residual Chlorine Bleach.


    Why Automatic Dishwasher Detergent? Well... unlike laundry detergent, its highly alkaline which is exactly what is needed to remove and dissolve any residue or oil that is in the outer drum.



    emma darling thanked Laundry Mich
  • cupofkindnessgw
    14 days ago

    That's all you ever need to do! I only leave my lid up so the machine is open after a wash load. But I do close it if I need space in the laundry room to fold things. It can remain closed for days. No odors. I never, ever do a cleaning cycle on my Speed Queen.


    Let me repeat: in the 30 years that I have owned top loading machines (owned a Whirlpool Gold washer for 25 years and a 2016 Speed Queen for five years) I have never done a cleaning cycle.


    And I almost never use chlorine bleach in my washing machine. I use oxygen bleach like Oxi White Revive. Rarely use vinegar, since it's an acid. I use powdered Cheer and liquid Tide. I take care not to over dose the load or overfill the tub.


    If I wash dog stuff or other grungy things, I double rinse that load. I use LemiShine Booster if the clothing has sweaty odors, like athletic wear. That's it. My washing machine has never smelled funky or ever had mold.


    People work hard to afford good appliances, which have the sole purpose of simplifying life by doing work, yet the machines requires an unreasonable amount of maintenance. It's very sad that this is an issue, it was not an issue for decades until now. So much for time-saving!

    emma darling thanked cupofkindnessgw
  • sushipup1
    14 days ago

    I wash one load of whites every week, and yes, I add bleach to that.

    emma darling thanked sushipup1
  • emma darling
    Original Author
    14 days ago

    @cupofkindnessgw

    Thanks for your input. After a number of years I did have problems with my Whirlpool TL and I dont want a repeat of that. I wonder if the oxygen bleach works like the chlorine bleach in making it that you dont need to do cleaning cycles. I have never used it before. How much do you use for a mixed load of whites and colors? (socks, undergarments and towels)

  • Laundry Mich
    14 days ago

    @emma darling, If you just use Tide Powder which has built in Oxygen Bleach -- you should fair better than someone who just uses Liquid Detergents exclusively.


    I would still recommend doing a bleach load, if you can. It certainly will make a difference.

  • emma darling
    Original Author
    14 days ago

    Thanks a lot Sea Sea! I have to admit I have never used powder detergents! I only use unscented liquid tide. Is there something about liquids that are not as good as powders when it comes to keeping the machine clean inside? Also, do I understand correctly that Tide with bleach is not the same as Tide with oxygen bleach? Also how are the scents on those? I really do not like scented detergent.

    Thanks so much!

  • armjim
    14 days ago

    I have a 2017 SQ TL and SEA SEA tells it like it tis. I routinely wash in hot water and only use powder. Occasionally I do use bleach when washing cleaning rags. I use Snuggle FS for every load except when washing a load that specifies no FS. I leave the lid up after the final load is done and close it when that load has completed a drying cycle. Every so often I remove the top of the agitator and clean it real well because there is a buildup from using FS. Kind of like removing a FL detergent drawer. Worth it to me because I like using FS. I also regularly wipe down under the lid and any area I feel needs it. My machine smells pretty darn good! Can not stress enough-do not use liquid detergent.

  • Anne Duke
    14 days ago

    I’ve just started to use Tide original powder and I turned up the water heater temp. But, I’m also not clear on which bleach Tide. I have very few whites. I do add diluted vinegar to the liquid softener receptacle, should I stop? I’ve had my SQ three years, I think. Leave the lid open between most loads too.

  • dadoes
    14 days ago

    Liquid and pod detergents do not contain true oxygen bleach (i.e. sodium perborate) best as I'm aware, it's unstable in liquid form. That's why such products typically are labeled as with "bleach alternative." Checking the ingredient list for one of the Tide Pods products at this site, Disodium Distyrylbiphenyl Disulfonate is stated as a "whitening agent, brightens clothes."

    SmartLabel.org Product Search

    I use liquid chlorine bleach on my whites load (kitchen linens and cleaning clothes, majority of bath linens, white socks).

    I don't have a Speed Queen.

    I've disassembled/refurbed/cleaned-up enough washers to know that they ALL catch smutz unless one is proactive with proper habits to prevent it.

  • emma darling
    Original Author
    14 days ago

    Thanks so much on all the recommendations to use powder instead of liquid. I see that Tide makes the Free and Gentle in the powder form (I've always used the liquid of that version) but that doesnt contain bleach. What do the Tide with bleach and Tide with oxygen bleach smell like? I really dont like any kind of perfumey smell.

  • emma darling
    Original Author
    14 days ago

    my husband just walked in the door and I told him that it seems just about everyone is recommending powder over liquid and he asked why and I said, idk, I'll ask! Why is powder preferable?

  • SEA SEA
    14 days ago
    last modified: 14 days ago

    Emma, there's a fragrance to Tide with Bleach powder :( It's not a bad scent, but it's not unscented. Same for regular Tide powder. Tide Free & Gentle powder is your best bet if scents are not allowed in your home. Littlegreeny is the expert on ingredients and how much of this and that is inside a box or bottle, but I think he once told me that Tide F&G powder doesn't have, or have as much oxygen bleach in it as the other Tide powders. We'd need him to confirm or correct this though. Laundry Mitch is a wealth of knowledge too. I'm more the personal practical usage reporter : )

    As to your other question of why powder...liquids don't have oxygenating ingredients in them. They rely solely on surfactants and enzymes (if provided). Powdesr use all of these ingredients plus oxygen bleach (this is not chlorine bleach). Without the actions of a powder detergent, your washer *can* get smutz inside. Not all washers will, but if you've had it before in past washers, you will likely get it again in your current washer, because the conditions are the same. The only difference is a new washer.

    If you must use a liquid, get some oxygen bleach separately. I have ordered it from Amazon in the past. I am now using Dropps brand oxy pods. I use two in a wash when I use liquid detergent in a load without dark laundry. These are unscented. There is a smell, but it's the ingredients, not a perfume. No smell is left after a wash and dry. However, I find it easier to just use powder detergent as it's all in there for me. I have some loads that I like to use liquids on, thus the Dropps oxy pods.


    Edit to add: send some chlorine bleach through your washer too, with HOT water once in a while.

  • emma darling
    Original Author
    14 days ago

    Thanks sea sea - i have to think about all of this!

  • Cavimum
    14 days ago

    "I see that Tide makes the Free and Gentle in the powder form (I've always used the liquid of that version) but that doesn't contain bleach."


    Well ... it kind of, sort of does. The box of Tide F&G powder in my laundry room says "color safe bleach (Sodium Carbonate Peroxide)" on the box. Good thing I noticed before I used it on darks!


    The liquid version Tide F&G I use does not list anything like that, not even optical brighteners, so it has been my go-to for darks all winter.

  • cupofkindnessgw
    14 days ago

    FWIW, I only use oxi bleach in whites loads or really grungy loads like dog bedding (which always get washed on hot). isOxi White Revive still bleach, after all. I dissolve the powder in the machine then start the hot water. Once the oxi bleach is dissolved and a decent level of water is in the machine, I might adjust the temp to warm water. I also use powdered Cheer and Liquid Tide Ultra. What is the difference between Tide Free and Gentle and Tide Ultra, which also seems to be free of perfumes etc? The other product I use consistently is "color catchers" when washing new colored clothing. They are fabulous. And Chateau Spill on red stains.


    I love the idea of closing the lid to the washer once you take the clothes out of the dryer. Brilliant!

  • SEA SEA
    14 days ago

    Tide Ultra (stain release) has more surfactants than regular Tide Free and Gentle. Target has an exclusive on Tide Ultra Stain Release Free (of scents and colorants).

    Emma, it's alright to use liquids. How many of us stay mold/stink free is that we also use powders and hot washes on things like towels and sheets. I try to do my liquids loads first and do the powder detergent/hot washes at the end of the laundry day to keep the unpleasant organisms good and dead from the powders and hot water. There is something in liquid detergents that for some users can provide a growth medium for molds and other unwanted organisms to take hold. Strategically using powders can help your chances of not getting into that situation.

    emma darling thanked SEA SEA
  • cupofkindnessgw
    14 days ago

    I didn't realize that Target had an exclusive on the Ultra Free. It's $11.99 a bottle/92 ounces/48 loads. Buy two and get a $5 gift card. A frequent promo at Target.

  • wdccruise
    14 days ago

    From the TC5 User Manual:

    "The washtub will need no particular care though it may need rinsing or wiping after some unusual loads have been washed. This also may be necessary if too little detergent has been used.

    "Leave the lid open to allow the inside of the washer to dry out after use. This helps prevent musty odors from developing."

  • emma darling
    Original Author
    10 days ago

    I havent had time to digest everything about the powdered detergents and oxy detergents. But i knew I had to get busy with doing a cycle with just bleach to clean the machine as I have owned my machine for over 4 months and have never put bleach inside. Unfortunately, I bought the wrong bleach. I bought Chlorox splashless bleach. I used 1 cup for the full machine of hot water. After it was agitating for a few minutes, I lifted the lid and saw a TON of foam. I had to do 4 rinses to get rid of it (I think it is gone, but I just cannot do anymore.) I read online that this type of chlorox has a thickening agent which makes this foam. I really hope I have not harmed my machine. (I saw a little water on the floor at the corner of the machine that I cannot explain and the last spin cycle was making a strange noise.) Is there any possibility that this thickening agent could have harmed the machine and being that this bleach only contains 4.5% sodium hypochlorite, did I actually help get rid of any mold and mildew in my machine or was this just a colossal waste of time and water?

    thanks!

  • cheri127
    10 days ago

    We use liquid detergent and simply leave the lid open on our Speed Queen washer. No smells, no problems. On the other hand, we only use Tide powder in our front loader. Learned this the hard way but works like a charm. We don't dry the gasket or leave the door open and no smells, no problems.

  • armjim
    10 days ago

    Emma, your last spin cycle sound was probably because it was empty and you are used to the sound the machine makes with laundry inside of it. The water on the floor was probably from splashing due to once again a tub of water being agitated without any clothes or linens in the tub. Your machine should be fine. I myself dislike the splash less bleach; if I recall it does not disinfect so its only purpose is to whiten and do so in a way that is tough on fibers.

  • emma darling
    Original Author
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    I am concerned about the noise during the last spin because it was unlike the spins of the first 3 rinses, and the water on the floor concerned me because it was in the back corner (idk how it would have splashed there) and it was only after the third rinse.)

    I learned that the Chlorox splashless bleach was to blame from this webpage from Whirlpool (I had googled "bleach and suds in washing machine")

    https://producthelp.whirlpool.com/Laundry/Washers/Product_Info/Washer_Product_Assistance/Suds_When_using_%22No_Splash%22_or_%22Easy_Pour%22_Liquid_Chlorine_Bleach

    It says,

    "Experiencing too much sudsing in your Whirlpool washer?

    Did you use "no splash" or "easy pour" liquid chlorine bleach?

    If this is the case, run the washer empty, using regular liquid bleach products, or clean with affresh® washer cleaner before running another load."

    This sounds like I cannot do a load until I have "cleaned" my machine properly with bleach or affresh. I did 4 rinses and the last one seemed to be clear. Why would Whirlpool say that a person needs to use bleach to get rid of the splashless bleach? Why not say to do rinses until the water is clear? Can you all give me your opinion on this? (A reminder: I have the Speed Queen TC5, not a Whirlpool.) Also, being that this bleach only contains 4.5% sodium hypochlorite, did I actually help get rid of any mold and mildew in my machine or should I run a cycle with "regular" bleach?

    Please give me your opinion! Thank you!

  • cupofkindnessgw
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    I'm very sorry you had this experience.... I'm sure that all is well now that you've rinsed your machine so thoroughly. Looking forward to reading the comments from those who have a solid grasp on how these ingredients perform and what might result from misusing them. I would recommend that you call Speed Queen for advice.

  • emma darling
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    thank you cupofkindessgw, but my experience with SQ is that the customer service reps dont know much. :(

  • emma darling
    Original Author
    7 days ago

    Not expecting much, I called SQ to see what they had to say about doing a "clean cycle" with bleach. I was told that clean cycles aren't necessary with the machine, but if one wants to do one, one should use a cup or two of vinegar in hot water. She said Affresh tablets are okay too. I asked - how about bleach? And she said that they do not recommend bleach because it is corrosive. Meanwhile my sister's maytag MVWP575GW specifically says to use lcb, so Idk why SQ would say that.

  • Mark
    6 days ago

    I never had to "clean" a top load washer other than outside of it and lid area. A hot wash now and then and powdered detergent will keep it residue free.

  • emma darling
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    I did a chat with Tide because I am having a hard time finding the F and G powder, and the rep insisted that the only powder that contains oxygen bleach is Tide + Bleach Alternative. She said that even the Ultra Oxi contains no oxygen bleach, just oxygen-based stain fighters and odor removers. I asked her specifically about the sodium carbonate peroxide in the F and G powder and she said that is not oxygen bleach.

    So I am pretty mystified. Who is it that says these Tide powders have oxygen bleach and what is the ingredient that proves that?

    Also, do I understand correctly that even powders that do not have oxygen bleach still are better for machines than liquids because there is something inherently in the liquid detergents which gunk up machines?

    Thanks so much!

  • Laundry Mich
    5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    @emma darling, let me just say, I've never had ANY luck with representatives at P&G answering questions. I bet, if you called back right now, and spoke to 3 different reps, you'd get 3 different answers. They really have no clue what their right hand is doing from their left there, and their internal knowledge database is very outdated.


    Anyway. I'm staring right now at a box of Tide Original Powder (Not Tide W/Bleach) I purchased two weeks ago from CVS Pharmacy. On the side of the box, it clearly lists "Sodium Carbonate Peroxide" -- which is a Oxygen Bleach. Sodium Percarbonate -- which is the same chemical, is the active ingredient in OxiClean, and many other oxygen bleach products.


    See/Also : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_percarbonate


    Not only that, but the Tide Powder family (since 1995) when they went compact, has been based off a Oxygen Bleach and Low-Temperature Bleach Activator Formula, instead of the Enzymatic Formula found in their Liquid Tide, and now, Tide Pod formulas.

  • emma darling
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    Thanks Laundry Mich. It is frustrating that even when I pointed out the ingredient in question, (Sodium Carbonate Peroxide) the rep insisted that it is not oxygen bleach.

    On another note, whether I should or shouldnt. I always use less liquid Tide than the recommended dose (maybe half) because I am afraid of detergent residue in the machine and suds coming out of my standpipe. Since powders are formulated differently, is there any reason to use less than the recommended amount (besides saving money)?

    Thanks!

  • Laundry Mich
    5 days ago

    @emma darling, when you say your using 1/2 -- what do you mean. Do you mean your using Line Two instead of Line 3 or 4, or do you mean your using half of Line one on the cap?


    The reason you want to dose Detergent, is to use enough to soften and condition the water your machine, as well, as use enough to fully achieve stain removal. If you underdose, not only will clothes not come clean, but body oil can combine with the soap and form a sludge in the machine. When I used Tide Liquid years and years ago, I use the HE Verison, and I would never use more than Line One.


    In your case, you are using a Deep Fill Machine, and will have to use enough to atleast make the water feel slippery. If the amount you are using now, is making the water slippery feeling, and you are getting good stain removal / clean clothes -- I wouldn't recommend changing the dosing.


    As for Tide Powder, or any Powder for that matter, the same rule will apply. Dose as much as you need to make the water slippery. If you have hard water, you'll want to dose at least line two on the scoop. And look at your clothes. Are they getting clean? You'll be the judge of that.



  • emma darling
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    Thanks so much Laundry Mich.

    I mean I dont use more than 5 tsp which is just over half of line 1. I convince myself this is sufficient because I may not fill the machine as much as I could, the SQ is a smaller T/L than most and my clothes are never visibly dirty (no sports uniforms here!), but yes i suppose I should put more in the loads that have socks and towels and t-shirts (items with body oils as you put it.) . I doubt the water feels slippery, I'll check that out next time. The only items that I wash that are visibly dirty are white socks and they are not getting as white as I'd like, but maybe that wouldnt happen no matter how much detergent I put in if that detergent has no bleach in it.

    I really would like to use an unscented detergent since that is what I'm used to, but the F and G unscented is only sold at Walmart (when it's in stock) and for a fortune on Amazon. I am looking at the Tide with Bleach but I just dont know if I will be happy with the scent.

    You mention that underdosing can cause build up in the machine, but cant overdosing liquids do that as well? How about overdosing powders?

  • Laundry Mich
    5 days ago

    @emma darling, like I said, open the machine midway through the cycle. See if the water feels slippery. If it isn't slippery, add more detergent until it is. But, if I had to take a guess, I would say less than Line One is too little.


    Regarding underdosing. I'm in the category of telling people, it's better to slightly overdose, than underdose. I don't mean pouring in 4 Cups of Detergent is okay, but with your machine, and it's deep fills & rinses, using a tiny bit more, is not going to cause problems. I'd be more concerned if you had hard water, and were consistently underdosing, tbh.


    With overdosing detergent, in massive quantities, the soap will remain in the clothes, and a residue will remain in the drum and machine after the final rinse. This begins to build up a layer of scum, that attracts more scum, and then mildew. This will happen with Pods, Powder or Liquids.


    But, in your case, if you leave the extra rinse cycle on -- or just dose enough to keep the water fairly slippery, and the final rinse water, from lots of suds, you should be fine.


    Regarding the Tide Powder. If you are someone who hates fragrance detergent, I can say, you probably won't love Original Tide Powder or Tide with Bleach. The "Original" scent is no longer, "soapy", and it quite strong in the box. After washing and drying, it's dramatically lighter, but, definitely not a scent I particularly love. I would recommend going to a store like CVS or Target and smelling the box before purchasing it.


    I would try to purchase it on Walmart's website, and have it shipped or pick it up. I would also recommend getting a box of All Free & Clear Powder for $4, and giving it a try as well. You may hate it, or you may love it, but it's a very similar formula -- and I think it's worth trying.



    As for those socks --- here me out on this.


    Your best solution is to get a Mop Bucket, that holds about 2 or 3 Gallons of Water, filling it with HOT Water and soaking those White Socks, and other hard-to-clean whites with a Soaking Solution of Biz Powder, or Ariel Detergent with Phosphate, overnight. This is the only solution, I've personally found that will completely clean socks. No Chlorine Bleach, or Detergent I've found, can match the results of a Overnight Soak, followed by washing.


    It's worth a try, if your really serious about getting them clean.



  • emma darling
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    Laundry Mich: I really appreciate all of your time. I do have relatively hard water. I would feel badly doing extra rinses all the time, so I will try to figure out when the water becomes slippery.


    I think I am kind of a detergent snob. I have never used anything other than Tide (that's more than 25 years) and I dont even know why, cuz my mother would usually just buy whatever was on sale. But if you think the All powder is very similar to the Tide F and G, then it would be crazy not to try it since it is so much less money. I see it contains sodium percarbonate. This is oxygen bleach, yes? Is there any way to find out how much of it it contains?

  • emma darling
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    Laundry Mich - one more question, pls! Any idea why some powders like All Free and Clear Powder, contains sodium percabonate while Tide F and G has sodium carbonate peroxide? Are they for sure the same thing?

  • Laundry Mich
    5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    @emma darling, if you go here, and scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can see the MSDS Sheet for the ALL Powder.

    https://smartlabel.henkel-northamerica.com/00072613456819/p/page-1

    On the official sheet, it mentions a percentage up to 0 - 1%, which, if true, would make absolutely no sense. The same figure is used for the Zeolite Content, which would also, from my chemistry experience, make no sense either. I do not think these figures are even remotely accurate.

    If I had to guess, I would imagine that the product is about 10 - 15% Sodium Percarbonate, but keep in mind, that's a estimate.

    As for the Detergent Snob thing. You wouldn't be alone. I know a lot of People who are completely brand loyal, and would give up Food before giving up their favorite brand of Detergent.

    Like I said, the formula is very similar, and a lot of members seem to like the product. It's worth a try, especially for the cost.

  • dadoes
    5 days ago

    My well water was tested at 9 grains some years ago by a traveling water softener salesman. It's not B-A-D water but definitely causes some mineral scale to accumulate over a period of months on faucet taps and my washer's spray flume.

    I dose detergent at the label instructions in accordance with load size, plus I add 1 to 2 tablespoons of STPP. 2 oz (which is 4 tablespoons or 1/4 cup) of liquid Persil for a large load (slightly more for an extra-large load), down to 1 oz or slightly less for a small load (I don't often run small loads). 3 to 8 (or even 10) tablespoons of Cheer powder. The water is "slippery," rinsing is clear, clothes are clean and fresh, stains removed (although I may pretreat if an item won't be washed immediately), and my washer is clean with no residue or odor. I use chlorine bleach on my whites load. I don't have a need to run washer cleaning cycles.

    emma darling thanked dadoes
  • emma darling
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    thanks laundry mich and dadoes!

  • dadoes
    5 days ago

    Also to say, Cheer powder for me generates little to no suds for any size load. Persil liquid may generate some sudsing, and can go to an excess if overdosed for small loads but still ends up rinsing clear.

  • emma darling
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    Thanks dadoes. Unfortunately, it seems that the free and gentle (which I assume is the unscented version) powder has been discontinued.

  • emma darling
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    Walmart put Tide F and G powder up on their website today (wasn't there yesterday) for $13 a box (which seems reasonable) so I got two boxes to be shipped to me. Thanks for all your help!

  • Cavimum
    5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    This is one of those conversations where I really miss mamapinkyo and her knowledge. My memory might be off, but I vaguely remember her once saying that a small amount of sodium percarbonate can be in a detergent to act as a softener, or STTE. Did I dream that?

    I googled sodium carbonate peroxide and found, among the results, that it is used to control algae in lakes. I also found it is added to "whitening" toothpastes. (if that's not a form of bleach, I don't know what is.... just sayin') Give it a Google and see what comes up.