Cleaning hacks: The part of your washing machine everyone forgets to clean

Cleaning hacks: The part of your washing machine everyone forgets to clean
Photo credit: Anita Birges / @miseenplace_au / TikTok

A spotless home is no easy feat - from the various nooks, crannies and corners to surfaces, sinks and skirtings, not to mention laundry, dishes and vacuuming, it's an around-the-clock job.

Thankfully, the highly addictive but also helpful app TikTok can make our lives a little easier with its handy hacks, tricks and tips to achieve a home Friends' Monica Geller would be proud of. 

Enter #CleanTok: a specialty area of TikTok where content spanning household chores and hacks is sweeping up attention on a significant scale, with billions of people taking advice from the bite-sized videos.

And one viral video has clean freaks flying off the handle, with a professional organiser revealing an often overlooked cavity - guaranteed to give the neurotic nightmares. 

If you thought the rubber seal was the mouldiest part of the washing machine, you are mistaken, according to Sydney-based Tiktokker Anita Birges, the founder of organising and decluttering service Mise en Place.

When cleaning the washing machine, Birges says people tend to miss the dispenser drawer - the compartment where the washing liquid or detergent is placed before starting the machine. 

"The mouldiest area in your washing machine that you probably didn't know needs cleaning," she captioned the clip. "The dispenser drawer.

"Most people think all the mould builds up in the rubber seal of the washing machine - they are wrong. You need to check out the dispenser. Have a look at this," Birges says in the video, standing next to a standard washing machine.

Birges proceeds to pull out the machine's soap dispenser drawers, revealing an otherwise invisible compartment covered in a grimy build-up of black mould.

"You are going to be mortified with what you see in here," she declares. "It is a really awkward space to get into, but I have the best cleaning hack for you and it's something you already have in your home."

Birges then films herself removing the dispenser and placing it in the sink, advising to soak it in hot water and vinegar for about an hour.

She then recommends squeezing a small amount of toothpaste into a dish brush before filling it with water and shaking it to create a cleaning concoction.

Birges then uses the dish brush to clean out the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies of the internal compartment.

"Get in there and give it a good clean. You can also use a toothbrush to get into the smaller crevices," she suggests.

Next, Birges takes the toothbrush and uses it to clean the grooves of the dispenser drawers, which are still soaking in the vinegar solution.

For the final steps, Birges rinses the inside of the compartment with boiling water before wiping it down with a microfibre cloth.

"Clean, fresh and mould-free!" she says, revealing a spotlessly clean compartment. She slots the drawers back into the space and hey presto, it's as good as new.

Viewers were shocked by the state of the internal cavity, with many vowing to scrub their dispenser drawers immediately.

"OMG! Heading off to check mine now!" said one shocked follower, with a second adding: "I didn't know this, I learned something new."

"Oh my goodness yes. I just cleaned out my filters and I could still smell something! IT WAS THIS. Thank you," another person wrote. 

"I learnt this the hard way when I got my first front loader washing machine! It was gross," a fourth said.

Another echoed: "I am so checking mine in the morning," while one admitted: "I never know what to use to clean inside that part where the draw goes, thanks."

Others questioned why the toothpaste was an important step in the cleaning process, to which Birges responded: 

"Toothpaste not only cleans but is also a mild abrasive," she explained. "The mould comes off easier, especially on those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies."

Meanwhile, others suggested their own alternative methods.

"After [the] wash, keep this open and you will not have a lot of mould," one advised.

"We use white vinegar and bicarb soda in the ones at work… comes out spotless," a second chipped in.

"My engineer taught me to use a new toilet brush. Works a treat," a third added.

Last year, a professional cleaner revealed on TikTok that we've all been cleaning our toilets wrong - much to people's dismay.

And last month, a Kmart enthusiast shared her "genius" tip to optimise space in the dishwasher - using a $12 product.