Clothes Smelling Less Than Fresh? Try Cleaning Your Washing Machine

iStock
iStock

You’re probably not washing your household appliances as often as you should be. (That is, if you ever wash them.) You may think of appliances like your washer and dryer as self-cleaning, being as they’re made to, you know, clean things. But sadly, that’s not the case, as The Washington Post and Lifehacker remind us. If you really want to live your cleanest life, you should be giving your washer and dryer a once-over with bleach periodically to rid them of mold and mildew.

Most dedicated laundry-doers know to clean out the lint trap before each drying cycle, but you may not realize there are other steps in the laundry appliance upkeep process. Like anything else that’s frequently subjected to moisture, washers can accumulate nasty mold and mildew. Some newer models have built-in sanitizer settings, but it’s relatively easy to clean an older washer, too.

For either, you’ll need a quarter-cup of bleach, as household cleaning expert Beth McGee told The Washington Post. If you don’t have a sanitizer setting, just run the washer without clothes or detergent on the hottest setting for the largest load with the bleach. (Some cleaning obsessives recommend vinegar instead.) After the cycle is done, open the washer door and let it air dry. You can use a toothbrush to scrub the parts of the washer that the bleach won’t reach during the wash cycle, like the wells where you pour your detergent and fabric softener or the rubber seals around the door. To cut down on mildew between cleanings, leave the washer door open between laundry days, so the tub can completely dry out.

When it comes to your dryer, you’ll occasionally want to not just remove buildup from the lint trap, but clean the whole dryer vent. The Spruce recommends buying a dryer-vent brush kit to do this, detaching the dryer duct from the appliance (don’t forget to unplug it first) and cleaning out the built-up handfuls of lint. You’ll also need a skinny vacuum head to vacuum out the compartment that houses the lint trap. Doing this periodically can help reduce the risk of fire, so it’s about more than just keeping your clothes smelling fresh.

Most experts recommend cleaning your washer and your dryer once a month to keep both your clothes and your appliances smelling their best. And while we’re on the subject of frequent cleanings, we’d like to remind you that you probably need to wash your hand towels ... like, now.

[h/t Lifehacker]

This Smart Accessory Converts Your Instant Pot Into an Air Fryer

Amazon
Amazon

If you can make a recipe in a slow cooker, Dutch oven, or rice cooker, you can likely adapt it for an Instant Pot. Now, this all-in-one cooker can be converted into an air fryer with one handy accessory.

This Instant Pot air fryer lid—currently available on Amazon for $80—adds six new cooking functions to your 6-quart Instant Pot. You can select the air fry setting to get food hot and crispy fast, using as little as 2 tablespoons of oil. Other options include roast, bake, broil, dehydrate, and reheat.

Many dishes you would prepare in the oven or on the stovetop can be made in your Instant Pot when you switch out the lids. Chicken wings, French fries, and onion rings are just a few of the possibilities mentioned in the product description. And if you're used to frying being a hot, arduous process, this lid works without consuming a ton of energy or heating up your kitchen.

The lid comes with a multi-level air fry basket, a broiling and dehydrating tray, and a protective pad and storage cover. Check it out on Amazon.

For more clever ways to use your Instant Pot, take a look at these recipes.

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7 Online Tech Course Programs That Will Help You Build New Career Skills

dusanpetkovic/iStock via Getty Images Plus
dusanpetkovic/iStock via Getty Images Plus

It's always a good time to build new career skills, and with these tech-related courses, you can learn anything from the basics of Python to the ins and outs of G Suite. These courses will boost your knowledge of the digital world and help you put some valuable new bullet points on your resume. Many of these courses allow you to read through the materials for free, but if you want to take advantage of graded coursework and earn a certificate of completion to include on your LinkedIn profile or resume at the end, there will be a fee of anywhere from $39 to $49.

1. UI/UX Design Specialization

In this four-class specialization on UI/UX design, you’ll discover how to design digital experiences that users can navigate with ease. Over about four months, you’ll learn the basics of visual communication and you’ll be able to practice gathering user feedback to build intuitive, attractive websites and interfaces.

Sign up on Coursera to take all four courses in this specialization for $49 a month.

2. Python for Everybody

Python is quickly gaining ground as one of the most in-demand programming languages for employers. Plus, its fans say it’s highly readable and approachable for new programmers just starting to learn a coding language. If you want to understand the basics of Python, from 101 principles to more advanced database design, these courses will get you started.

Sign up on Coursera to take all five courses in this specialization for $49 a month.

3. Data Science Professional Certificate

Data science is one of the fastest growing professions in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In this nine-course professional certificate program, you’ll start by learning basic data science methodology before moving into how to use Python and SQL to analyze and visualize data to forecast future trends. IBM estimates that you’ll complete the entire certificate in about 10 months if you commit four hours per week, but the timing is flexible enough to suit any schedule.

Sign up on Coursera to take all nine courses in this specialization for $39 a month.

4. Computer Architecture

This course, taught by an electrical engineering professor at Princeton, teaches students how to design computer hardware that supports powerful software. But be forewarned: This is an advanced class intended for students with extensive knowledge in computer science. If you’re looking for a beginner-level course, this class—also from Princeton—may be a better fit.

Sign up on Coursera for free.

5. AI for Everyone

If you’re worried that artificial intelligence will drive you out of the workforce, this course will help. Over the course of four weeks, you’ll learn the basics of what is and isn’t possible through AI—and you may even gain some ideas for how to use AI to augment your own career.

Sign up on Coursera for $49.

6. G Suite Administration Specialization

Become a Google Cloud expert with this series of courses put together by Google itself. Over about two months, you’ll learn management tactics and security guidelines for using Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, and Calendar. This specialization prepares participants to become G Suite administrators at their respective companies and organizations.

Sign up on Coursera to take all five courses in this specialization for $49 a month.

7. Introduction to Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is near the top of the list of skills employers are looking for, according to LinkedIn. In this introductory course, you’ll gain a basic understanding of cloud-based networks and get some practice working with IBM Cloud.

Sign up on Coursera for $49.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.