Smelly washers are common. Dirt, mildew, detergent residue and minerals build up in the machine over time, clogging filters and creating an unpleasant smell.

A badly smelling washer transfers to clothes and what’s the point of that? A few items from your pantry can have your washer smelling fresh, and ready to use.

Cleaning the tub for a fresh start

Start with baking soda and vinegar. Mix equal parts one-quarter cup of baking soda with one-quarter cup of water. Pour the solution into your washer’s detergent dispenser. Add 2 cups of white vinegar into the washer tub where you load the clothes. Run the washer on a high-heat cycle without clothes.

When the cycle has finished, scrub away any remaining grime with a water and vinegar mix.

Maintaining that fresh clean

With the smell under control, a regular cleaning routine will keep fresh.

Wipe down the inside of your washer after every load. Remove any mold- and mildew-causing moisture from the nooks, crannies and hard-to-reach places, especially the rubber seal around the door.

Leave the door open whenever the washer is not in use to let the inside of the washer air-dry.

Regularly remove the detergent dispenser and wash out lingering detergent residue with soap and water.

Prevent dust and dirt from getting inside your washer by occasionally wiping down the outside with a rag and some multi-purpose cleaner.

Quarterly maintenance

At the front-bottom of many front-load washers is a small door. Behind that door is a tube and filter that traps residual over time. Carefully remove the cap from the tube and empty the dirty water that has collected into a bowl. Replace the cap and snap the tube back into place.

Unscrew the filter and wash it in hot, soapy water to remove dirt and grime that has collected. Replace the filter snugly and close the door. Repeat this every quarter or so, depending on how often you use your washer.