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Forum > Miscellaneous > Cleaning hard water build-up in washing machine? ( Moderated by Deepika, EleanorSews, CynthiaSue)

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Cleaning hard water build-up in washing machine?
stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
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Kansas USA
Member since 12/13/08
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Date: 8/6/12 5:10 PM

I think we're having issues with the hard water/sludge in our pipes and our washing machine. It's an older top-loader that usually works great, but lately it's taking FOREVER to fill. I think the pipes that fill the washing tank are clogged with hard water build-up, and I'm wondering if there's any way (short of bringing in a plumber or replacing the washer) to help. DH uses Lime Away on the kitchen faucet, and I've heard there are products to clean your dishwasher when you have this problem, but is there something similar for washing machines?

An article online mentioned Calgon (which I thought was bubble bath back in the '70s?? :D), so I went to their website. They don't seem to have a US page, but the UK page described the water softener product as doing what I want... but reviews on Amazon only talk about how well it cleans your *clothes.* Our clothes are clean--I just need to get more water in my washer!

Suggestions?

Thanks!!

------
~Gem in the prairie

Sharon1952
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Sharon1952  Friend of PR
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Massachusetts USA
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Date: 8/6/12 5:17 PM

You can try replacing the hoses that connect the machine to the water supply. Other than that- it's plumber time. I have the same problem. My dish drainer is loaded with hard water crystal a week after I clean it. Thank goodness I don't have a dishwasher or that would be clogged too.

For shower heads I have used vinegar in a bucket to soak out deposits.

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Sewing: A creative mess is better than tidy idleness. ~Author Unknown

diane s
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diane s  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/6/12 9:06 PM

Often when you unscrew the hoses from the water supply, there are small screens you can remove and clean. That happened with my washer and the screens were covered with grit. I cleaned them off and the water was flowing again. I often get it on my kitchen faucet too.

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My grandmother taught me to sew when I was 10, and I've been sewing ever since.

Doris W. in TN
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Doris W. in TN  Friend of PR
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In reply to stirwatersblue <<


Date: 8/7/12 6:04 PM

I would first try LemiShine. It is the one recommended for dishwashers. We can only get the "dishwasher" version around here and I use it in my FL washing machine on occasion. It is citric acid, so no scary chemicals. I use it to remove the mineral build-up on the faucet spouts, where the water comes out.


ETA - I find it at grocery stores, big box stores, etc., where dishwasher detergents & rinse agents are sold. Should not be too difficult to find.
-- Edited on 8/7/12 6:05 PM --

kkkkaty
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kkkkaty  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/7/12 7:09 PM

If water is flowing into the machine very slowly, then that suggests that the clog is in the pipes/hoses that flow into the washing machine. Adding anything to the washing machine itself won't reach the pipes (or at least it shouldn't). Water shouldn't flow back up the pipes, if it does, you have bigger problems than a clog, you have the possibility of dirty water flowing back into your household water system, which would be very bad. Water should only flow into the machine one way, and out only one way.

I would check the filters as was suggested, and maybe take the hoses off and probe them to see if possibly they are clogged. If not, as someone else said, it's probably plumber time...

-- Edited on 8/7/12 7:15 PM --

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stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
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Date: 8/12/12 3:40 PM

Woo-hoo! You guys are great! I found a tutorial online, and today DH and I cleaned out the inlet screens and snaked out the hoses. HOLY COW!! They didn't *seem* that dirty, but WOW, what a difference! It's almost scary how much water is flowing into it now. DH wanted to test it right away, so we tossed in a load of towels (which I never would have washed altogether, b/c of the whole water issue)--and the dang thing filled up in about three minutes. I used to be able to start the washer, THEN go gather the laundry and load it up, and it would still take another 15+ minutes to fill. I guess it happened so gradually over the last 12 years, we didn't realize how bad it had gotten until the last couple months.

Thanks, guys--you've saved us a plumber bill! (Which is great, because we need that $$ to pay for the plumber to unclog our basement drain! LOL)

One funny note: As I was behind the washer, trying to coax the inlet screens out of the hoses with needle-nose pliers, I sent DH to grab my sewing kit. The pliers wouldn't fit into the tiny gap between the filter and the pipe--but my hemostat and the bent tweezers for my serger were a perfect fit! Ha!

(As soon as the towels are done, a load of fabric is going in! Woot!)

You've never seen a woman so excited about laundry in your life! LOL

------
~Gem in the prairie

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