Thread Number: 91702  /  Tag: Modern Automatic Washers
How much citric acid and baking soda to clean a SQ FL? Borax
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Post# 1162234   10/22/2022 at 06:16 (538 days old) by rebar (Iowa)        

Morning folks.. I use 1 table spoon of tide powder and borax to each load.

I've asked this years ago, but can't find my old post. I'm also a little frustrated that this forum does not have email notifications.

Anyway, how much citric acid and baking soda should I use to clean a SQ FL? Ive read 1 cup citric acid and 1/2 cup baking soda, but that sounds like allot.

This time I will add a email to my drafts so I can search and find the information.

And BTW, I've removed odors from pillow cases and old T shirts I was about to throw away by soaking them in Borax water overnight, or even a few days by mistake.


Post# 1162240 , Reply# 1   10/22/2022 at 09:33 (538 days old) by Jben (AL)        

I would not combine the two in the same wash cycle as the baking soda will neutralize the citric acid.

The amount will depend on how dirty your machine is. I would probably start with 3/4 cup and see what results you get, although 1 cup would be OK as well. I would use only hot water on the longest cycle; and then stop the cycle somewhere mid-cycle and let the water just sit/soak in the machine for 30 minutes. Then start it back up and let it finish that wash cycle. Usually the wash water will show some slight color tint to it at this point if your machine was dirty.

You could then follow that by starting a new wash cycle using the 1/2 cup baking soda and of course let the machine finish with the rinse cycle.

Post# 1162241 , Reply# 2   10/22/2022 at 09:34 (538 days old) by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

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IMO, one tablespoon of powder detergent and borax isn't sufficient unless perhaps you have 100% softened water .. but I'd be leery even then that there aren't sufficient enzymes and cleaning agents to handle all types of stains and soils.

Post# 1162258 , Reply# 3   10/22/2022 at 13:25 (538 days old) by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

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You can upgrade your membership and then get access to the "My Posts" index as well as other options, exclusive forums, maybe even the "Super Searchalator" (I'm not sure if that's a standard feature already) and the ability to send messages to other upgraded members.  It's worth the $12 yearly fee even if you don't take advantage of all of the extras.

Post# 1162265 , Reply# 4   10/22/2022 at 14:41 (538 days old) by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

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There is no off-board email notification of posts or on-board private messages for upgraded members.† One still must directly visit the site to check for responses to posts and for new private messages.

Post# 1162322 , Reply# 5   10/23/2022 at 12:12 (537 days old) by rebar (Iowa)        

Thanks everyone..
I'm not certain I even need to clean my washing machine, because I don't see any deposits other than a few undissolved grains of borax when I pull back and wipe out the rubber tub to door sleeve after a wash.. But it's what you cant see is why I'm considering it.

Someone told me years ago here to use citric acid and baking soda.

Citric Acid & Oxi To Clean washer..

This is the email the owner of appliance barn dot com sent me when I bought my SQFL..
"Hi Mike

Soap usage has been a big deal for us ever since the front loaders became a big deal back in the late 90s! These washers just use so much less water than the old top loaders that it is very important for the machines that less soap is used. For a long time we have been recommending 1-2 tablespoons of detergent but Speed Queen is now recommending that only HE detergent be used and that only 1-2 tea spoons is all that is needed even for the largest of load sizes. In these machines you donít want to see any suds at all! If you see any suds you have too much detergent. Soap manufacturers are most interested in selling more soap! They want you to fill the cap up and dump it in! We feel people have been using way too much detergent in their machines for a long, long time.

My family has used a high efficiency machine for 6 years now and we have only ever used 1-2 teaspoons of powder detergent. We have never had problems of soap residue or any type of odors building up in the machine and our clothes come out well cleaned. I too work out in the garage on my vehicles and motorcycles getting greasy and oil stained!

The problems we have seen in the front loads over time often stem from over soaping and especially with liquid detergent. Liquid detergent is made up of lard/animal fats and is a sticky substance that builds up over time inside the machines. We have taken front load washers apart that have had too much liquid detergent and fabric softener used in them over time and the inner tub is coated in a thick black sludge that can only be cleaned off by power washing it and then reassembled. We also have found that the liquid detergent is what mold and mildew grow on and cause staining/discoloring to the door gasket and bad odors in the machine itself.

The biggest key with front load washers is not to over soap. I would try to get by with as little as possible that still seems to be cleaning. 1-2 teaspoons is all I would start with and would not go over 1-2 tablespoons. In the case of these machines less is better and more is worse. If you prefer liquid detergent we are fine with that, we just believe that makes it all the more critical to be careful with how much you use. Also if you use liquid detergent we recommend cleaning the unit about once a month with a product called Affresh washer cleaner. It is a bleach compound tablet that foams up inside the washer and cleans it out. I would recommend using a long heavy duty cycle on hot water with 1 tablet and be sure to run the machine empty.




Post# 1162334 , Reply# 6   10/23/2022 at 14:35 (537 days old) by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

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The alarmism over detergent overdosing is overblown ... until the overdosing gets to the point that suds are billowing out of a toploader, or have completely filled the tub, are spilling from the dispenser drawer and/or spilling from the tub vent of a frontloader.

Post# 1162353 , Reply# 7   10/23/2022 at 19:33 (536 days old) by rebar (Iowa)        
"The alarmism over detergent overdosing is overblown"

I'm the maintenance man for two U of I dorms, and the amount of residual animal fat inside the dorm LG commercial washers is huge. The students all use way to much liquid detergent because when I run a cleaning cycle with bleach, they still have suds but the bleach doesn't remove the build up.

Night and day compared to my six year old speed queen Ive only used tide powder in.

So my question applies more to the 24 gunked up dorm LG's than my SQ at home because I honestly don't know what wshing machine cleaner is best other than Tony's Affresh recommendation.

Now looking, the two main ingredients of affresh are 65% Sodium percarbonate or oxygen bleach aka oxiclean, and 15% Sodium carbonate or washing/baking soda.

Maybe I should try citric acid and oxiclean like the video I posted.

Post# 1162359 , Reply# 8   10/23/2022 at 22:23 (536 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Gooey oily build ups in washing machines

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Cannot be caused by using too much detergent, detergent does not have animal fats in it nor does fabric softener for that matter.

Detergent never molds have you ever seen a box of moldy detergent or a bottle of moldy detergent thatís ridiculous.

Mike post some pictures of this build up that youíre talking about in the dorm machines, it sounds like a greasy oily buildup caused by washing in cold water and too little detergent.

In 50 years of working on washers I have never seen any type of buildup from using too much detergent.

You can get build ups from using a lot of fabric softener and then washing with two little detergent and in cold water however, and thatís very hard to get rid of.


Post# 1162390 , Reply# 9   10/24/2022 at 12:13 (536 days old) by donprohel (I live in Munich - Germany, but I am Italian)        
Citric acid and...

...oxyclean (sodium percarbonate), (sodium) bicarbonate, washing soda (sodium carbonate) and all that sort of stuff ends up with the same result: sodium citrate, which is quite ineffective, and if sodium citrate is what you want, well, then just buy the stuff.

However, citric acid may not be the best choice to remove greasy gunk: I would rather use something alkaline or dishwasher detergent

Post# 1162396 , Reply# 10   10/24/2022 at 13:45 (536 days old) by kb0nes (Burnsville, MN)        

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While the Citric Acid might be effective at removing possible build up, it would require a decent amount to really build enough acidity to do anything, a cup doesn't sound unreasonable. There isn't anything inside your machine that would be harmed by that.

Baking Soda on the other hand seems like a complete waste of time, especially if dosed with the acid as they counteract one another.

The best key to prevent any buildup in a washer is to use a quality detergent in adequate quantities. A tablespoon full of Tide only seems adequate if you aren't adding any soiled laundry to the washer. Even with my chemically softened water I use 3-4 times that. Another helpful tip is to vary the detergent you use regularly, different detergents act differently on deposits. Of course using hot water makes sense too.

If I wanted to actually try to remove deposits from inside a washer I'd use a large quantity of dishwasher detergent in the hottest water I could muster. Be sure to have a large load of rags in the machine for the cleaning so that the water can spin out of them to rinse the top of the outer tub.

IF there is any buildup inside the machine it is certainly due to insufficient (or poor quality) detergent or the exclusive use of cold water washes. The good news here is you are talking about your machine here, not the possibly misused machines you maintain where you really aren't entirely sure what is put in those.

Post# 1162444 , Reply# 11   10/24/2022 at 19:30 (535 days old) by rebar (Iowa)        

Thanks for all the great information you kind folks have given.

I wrote Tony, the owner of the appliance shop I bought my SQ's from, and he could not provide proof liquid laundry detergents contain animal fats.. I feel like a fool now, because Ive been spreading that misinformation to allot of people. Co-workers, people online etc etc.. I even blamed my X for our commercial maytag TL failure because she used liquid detergent.. She must have used softener. lol

Good to know that dishwasher detergent is my best bet for removing the gunk in the dorm washers. Interesting though, that affresh dishwasher cleaning tablets are 40% citric acid, 40% Sodium bisulfate..

Can I ask a couple more questions? What other laundry detergents other than the tide powder Ive been using should I use to vary detergents?
And how much dishwasher detergent would you suggest for the dorm washers?

Thanks again..

Post# 1162462 , Reply# 12   10/25/2022 at 01:20 (535 days old) by donprohel (I live in Munich - Germany, but I am Italian)        
How much dishwasher detergent...

Well, I would say "a lot" on the basis that a topload washing machine fills much, much more water than a dishwasher (being European, I cannot give you precise figures for US machines).

And I would suggest to use hot water, the hotter the better

Post# 1162544 , Reply# 13   10/26/2022 at 07:12 (534 days old) by IIIJohnnyMacIII (North Carolina)        

iiijohnnymaciii's profile picture
I follow Mieleís recommendations in their manual for use in my Kitchenaid. Using powder with soft water, itís just about 2 tbs main wash and 1 tbs prewash. Iíve had great results doing that. It doesnít suds, making it easier on the pump and itís enough to get everything clean. The water in the bottom of the reservoir is crystal clear after a wash.

Post# 1162551 , Reply# 14   10/26/2022 at 09:33 (534 days old) by IIIJohnnyMacIII (North Carolina)        

iiijohnnymaciii's profile picture
Disregard my last post on dishwasher detergent. I misread your last post, because I didnít connect it to the post above.

Post# 1162691 , Reply# 15   10/27/2022 at 14:16 (533 days old) by Good-Shepherd (New Jersey)        
maintenance man for two U of I dorms,

U of I ?

They probably think they're saving the planet by washing in cold water.

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