Whether you are hoping to increase the life of your slightly worn clothes washer or hope to keep your brand spanking new appliance in tip-top shape for years to come, here are some tips to increase the performance and longevity of your hard-working washer.
Washing Machine Do’s (and a few don’ts)
Before or after each wash
- Check the pockets in clothes for items before laundering. This saves your clothes, the items in question, and your machine from damage
- Load your washer to the appropriate level. Evenly and loosely distribute clothing.
- For a front load washer, you can pile the clothes quite high, but not past the last row of holes at the front (closest to the door).
- For a top loader with an agitator, don’t load clothes above agitator. Why? A too heavy and uneven load can cause the machine to go out of balance during spin cycles. The motor can then get damaged and require repair.
- Use the type and amount of detergent suggested in your owner’s manual. It may damage some models to use pre-measured pods. Too much soap can leave residue on your clothes and cause excess wear and tear on your washer. High-efficiency washers require a special, low-sudsing detergent.
- Remove damp clothes from washers immediately to prevent mold or mildew buildup.
- Dry the washer’s door and gaskets after using and open the door on top-loaders to promote air circulation and prevent mold.
- Clean the dispenser drawer on a routine basis. When detergent builds up in the dispenser, it can trigger too many suds, making the washer work harder.
- Gently close washer doors. Too much force could break the switch that signals to the machine that the door is closed and a cycle can begin
Is Your Washer Level? Is it the Right Distance from the Wall?
- The machine should sit on a level floor – if the machine is off kilter, it can vibrate, rock or even walk across the floor during the spin cycle and damage the floor and machine. Use a level to check it front to back and side to side, adjust as necessary, then tighten the lock nuts on the feet.
- Check that there are at least four inches between your washing machine and the wall. This prevents the hose from kinking.
- Consider replacing the rubber washing machine hose with a braided-metal one to reduce the risk of bursting.
Watch out for Hairy Situations!
If you have a dog or cat, heads up. Pet hair can ruin your washer. Mixing water with pet hair causes clumps and those nasty clumps can get caught in drain holes inside of your washer drum. Eventually they may clog your drain pumps, harming your plumbing.
- Use a lint roller to remove excess hair from clothes and bedding
- If the hair has become embedded in the fabric, you can use a damp rubber glove.
- Run your clothes through a 10-minute dryer cycle (with a dryer sheet) on tumble, with no heat. This softens the fabrics and loosens the pet hair, which will be caught by the dryer’s lint trap. Shake the clothes to get as many pet hairs out as possible and toss them in the washer. Clean your dryer’s lint trap so it’s hair-free when your load comes out of the wash.
- After the wash, clean your washing machine by running an empty wash cycle. When the cycle is complete, wipe the entire machine down with a wet cloth to prevent leaving stray pet hair behind.
- Inspect washing machine hoses for tight fittings, bulges, cracks, and leaks. Burst washing machine hoses could spill hundreds of gallons of water an hour, flooding your home. Tighten loose fittings. Replace hoses every five years; replace immediately if damaged.
- Clean rubber gaskets with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar
- Check and clean drain pump filter on front-loading washers. Consult your owner’s manual for location and cleaning instructions.
Sanitize the Machine that Cleans
It’s not difficult to tell when your washing machine is in need of a little cleaning. Clothes don’t come out looking as clean as they once did. Lingering detergent can trap odor particles. You may notice dark streaks along the rim. Those are germs! As well, while many have found it is good for the environment and pocket book to wash in cold water, it is even more important in this case to run a hot wash once a month to get rid of mold and bacteria.
How to Clean a Top Loader
- Set your washer on the hottest setting for the largest load, but without clothes or detergent.
- Add 3 cups of white vinegar. Start the machine. The water will mix with the vinegar.
- Once full, let it agitate for 1-2 minutes. Then stop the machine
- Let the water and white vinegar mixture sit in the washer basin for 1-2 hours. Don’t run the machine.
- Start up the washing machine after 1-2 hours. Let the cycle finish and drain the water.
- After the first cycle has completed, wipe the top of the basin with a sponge. Wipe underneath the rim with a mixture of water and white vinegar.
- Run another cycle of plain hot water with no vinegar. This will rinse everything out and kill any bacteria that was just loosened.
- Wipe the inside of the basin with a clean cloth
How to Clean a Front-Loader
- Clean around the rubber padding at the front of the washer (the gasket). This area tends to get filled with hair and guck. Spray the area with a vinegar-water mixture and wipe with a soft cleaning cloth or sponge.
- Add 3 cups of white vinegar to the basin.
- Run your machine on the hottest setting for the largest load (or the longest time).
- When the first cycle is done, run another cycle of just plain water to kill any bacteria and rinse the machine.
- Wipe down the inside of the drum with a clean cloth.
At C&W Appliance Service, we are always happy to answer any questions you have about maintaining your valuable appliances. Call us at (214) 358-1496 or (855) 358-1496 or submit our online service request form.