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Grandmother shares bizarre hack to get rid of mildew stench from your washing machine: 'Smells like a spa'

There are multiple alternatives to keeping our washing machines clean and smelling great that are better for our wallets — and the environment.

Washing machine cleaner

Photo Credit: @ brunchwithbabs / Tiktok

A viral TikTok video is showing viewers how to get rid of bad smells in your washing machine without the need for a traditional cleaner from the store. 

And yes, this one's also better for the planet.

In the video, which has received 91.5k likes, TikToker Babs (@brunchwithbabs), aka "everyone's grandmother," explains how to get rid of that unpleasant odor that can remain in your washing machine using a creative method that is quick, cheap, simple, and environmentally friendly. 

"Smells like a spa, just like I told you it would," Babs says.

@brunchwithbabs 🍋Have you ever forgotten to change the laundry load and mistakenly left the wet load in the washer overnight…only to find a smelly washer the next day? Here is a hack to get rid of that yucky mildew smell. Just cut a lemon in half and cover the cut side with toothpaste - about a tablespoon. Toss lemon halves into your empty washer and run the washer on speed wash with very hot water. After the cycle is finished, you have a fresh smelling washer - and for very little cost. You can buy expensive washing machine cleaners or…you can make your own. 🍋XO Babs #cleaningmotivation #washingmachine ♬ original sound - everyone's grandmother

The popular DIY TikToker explains that you don't need to buy expensive washing machine cleaners if you just follow her lead. 

First, she cuts a lemon in half and removes the seeds. Then she puts some toothpaste on the flat part of both halves and places them inside the washing machine. 

She then runs the speed wash on "hot" and presses the "start" button. After the process is completed, she expresses how nice the washing machine now smells. 

There are numerous benefits to this process as opposed to buying a traditional washing machine cleaner. 

For one, washing machine cleaners come in plastic containers, the production and transportation of which produces planet-warming gases. 

Also, Americans throw out about 40 million tons of plastic each year, of which only about 5% actually gets recycled, which also requires energy that ends up polluting the air. 

Sure, this hack from Babs requires toothpaste, which also comes in plastic and has its own environmental effects. But toothpaste is something we all use anyway, and the amount needed here is minimal.

The washing machine cleaner you buy at the store also has a problem: Laundry detergents and washing machine cleaners generally end up going through the pipes and ending up in rivers, lakes, and eventually into the ocean, where they can cause tremendous amounts of toxic pollution.

Using a lemon and a little bit of toothpaste instead of a washing machine cleaner that costs money and pollutes our air and possibly our waterways may well be worth it. 

Commenters had a lot to say about Babs' unconventional trick. 

"The amount of times I accidentally leave my clothes in the wash … I'd be doing this at least once a week," one commenter admitted.

Another didn't hesitate to object, saying, "Babs, I am NOT putting toothpaste in my washer." 

This commenter provided a different alternative. "Another tip is to put 2 cups of vinegar in the washer with a few drops of essential oil (peppermint, etc) and that'll do the same thing." 

At least now we know there are multiple alternatives to keeping our washing machines clean and smelling great that are better for our wallets — and the environment. 

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