Deep cleaning is essential when turning over rental units, and renters may need some helpful intervention to keep the machines efficient and sanitary. Tips and tricks on how to deep clean your multifamily units washing machines.
Deep cleaning as a whole is a multifamily property manager’s greatest challenge, and washing machines can be most frustrating. They need regular cleaning to reduce repairs as well as mildew and bacteria, but how many tenants perform the routine maintenance? Not many. So, deep-cleaning is essential when turning over rental units, and renters may need some helpful intervention to keep the machines efficient and sanitary.
Multifamily landlords need to replace washing machines with the best deals available, so the result is often a mix of brands and models. But software, unfortunately, can’t provide the regular cleaning and preventive maintenance that washing machines need to reduce mildew and bacteria. Different tenants have completely different habits of clothes-washing, so it helps to have a solid cleaning routine on hand, as well as some easy ways to help your tenants ... help you.
It’s the nature of washing machines to get grimy, and the grime is typically out-of-sight. So, deep cleaning a washing machine should be routine. As tenant lifestyles vary widely, it helps to set guidelines for routine maintenance and deep cleaning:
* You could wash these in the final wash, if you have time to dry them.
Use the following cleansing mix in your bowl to wipe down the entire exterior of the washer, and the mat beneath the washer if it’s sitting on one. Use this solution for the remaining washing/scrubbing as well.
For side-loading machines with the drain pump filter access panel on front, you may want to do the exterior wipe-down after you drain the basin from the emergency hose, so you use the bowl for draining (and then clean/rinse it), and you don’t have to create the cleaning solution twice.
Most side-loaders have an access door for the drain pump filter and emergency drain hose on the lower front. If so, open the panel, place your towel underneath to catch any overflow or splashing water, and use your bowl for draining water from the drain tube. Hold the drain tube over the bowl, remove the cap, and allow the drain water to drain. (Should be less than a quart.) Put the cap back on the tube, and tuck it back in place. Now use your bowl for mixing the following solution to do the rest of the cleaning:
- 2 squirts of dishwashing liquid
- ¼ cup baking soda
- ¼ cup hot water
- 2 cups vinegar
If cleaning multiple units per day, it’s a good idea to pre-mix at least a gallon, so you don’t have to mix it at the rental unit. Now remove the filter by turning counter-clockwise and pulling it out. Rinse it under hot water, and use the cleaning brush with the cleaning solution to thoroughly scrub the filter. Set the filter aside and use the paper towels or microfiber cloth to plunge out the cavity where the filter goes, then use dry towels to absorb most of the moisture from the cavity before returning the filter and turning clockwise to screw it in.
Instead of the previous step used for side-loaders, you will clean the agitator unit and the fabric softener insert. Remove the fabric-softener insert and cap from the top of the agitator. Use your socket wrench and extension to loosen and remove the agitator bolt, then lift the agitator up, giving the bolt a rinse and setting it aside.
Under running hot water (in sink), use the scrubbing brush with the cleaning solution to thoroughly clean the agitator unit.Also scrub and rinse the fabric softener insert and the agitator cap. Return the agitator unit to its place, use the bolt to tighten it back down with the socket wrench, and return the cap/softener insert into place.
Inside the door of a side-loading washing machine, you’ll see the rubber gasket seal. It has a couple folds and a channel. This is a breeding ground for bacteria, especially if the tenants don’t leave the door open after each wash. Using paper towels and the cleaning solution, lift the fold on the door seal, and thoroughly wipe out the dirt/grime underneath, and the groove/channel next to the fold. After this deep clean, wipe down the outer parts of the gasket, then run a dry cloth through the folds, channels, and around the outer surface of the seal.
They may or may not help with appliance maintenance, but asking is the first step in receiving, and any efforts from the tenants can reduce your time, costs and headaches!
You can cover it with clear packaging tape, or just make it a sheet in extra large print, slipped into a sheet protector, and taped to the washing machine. However you choose to secure it, provide your tenants with your ask for their help with the appliances:
This prevents build-up of mildew and bacteria.
This will help dry your laundry-drying and prevent mechanical issues.
Maintenance Visits Email Notices Are Opportunities Help Your Helpers and Increase Satisfaction
Let your tenants know in advance when you are planning maintenance visits. If there are any issues with access, use your best judgment, but otherwise take the opportunity to let them know in advance what you’ll be doing, so they see you care about removing mildew and bacteria. Email is excellent for efficient group-messaging. If you blind-carbon-copy them, they can’t see the other recipients, and any response only goes back to you. It’s a good idea to set up an email that’s just used for these tenant communications, and perhaps a quarterly or annual newsletter!
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