Cheryl asked: How do I clean latex from the washing machine agitator? A bath mat with latex backing was washed as instructed, but left a gummy, sticky residue on the agitator. Something is needed that is not chemically based, as I am pregnant and want to stay away from chemicals and keep chemicals away from the clothes.
This method will require a bit of work, but it’s eco-friendly, safe, and will leave your washing machine agitator looking as good as new without harsh chemicals. As a bonus, it will clean and freshen the machine too.
You Will Need:
- White vinegar
- Cloth scouring pads (several for larger jobs)
Steps to Remove the Latex:
- To make scrubbing the mess easier, begin by running an empty hot water cycle in the machine. Add several cups of vinegar to get a head start on the cleaning process. The heat will soften the sticky mess, while the vinegar will begin to work on the adhesive. Avoid a cold water rinse if possible. This will stiffen and harden the latex again.
- As soon as the machine empties, begin to work on the rug backing with the cloth scouring pad soaked in vinegar.
- Rinse the scouring pad frequently and add more vinegar each time. If the scouring pad gets gummed up, replace it with a new one. You need the slight abrasion of the cloth to get the carpet backing off the drum.
- Continue scrubbing until all of the residue is removed.
- Rinse with clean water, or run an empty cycle after cleaning. This will remove any residue or bits that may be floating in the machine.
- If any small pieces remain in the drum holes, let the washer dry, then use a vacuum hose with the upholstery brush attachment to scrub out the remaining pieces.
Additional Tips and Advice
- If a hot water cycle is not possible, use a washcloth soaked in hot water to initially soften the adhesive one section at a time.
- If the project is large, work in small sections to make it more manageable.
- Be sure to rinse the machine thoroughly to avoid the removed bits of latex from appearing in your next load of laundry. It would be wise to check the laundry before drying to ensure no small bits get melted into the fabric of the first load that is washed.