Extend their use by a few years (or more!) and also reduce the risk of a water leak or fire damaging your home.
Doing laundry is a chore that we all have to undertake at some point or another. Whether you do it once a week or daily, your washer and dryer get a lot of use over their lifetime. They must be properly maintained!
Washing Machine: Your washing machine, either front load or top load-style, can hold moisture and possibly get mildew or mold. One of the easiest ways to prevent this is to leave the door open when it is not in use. This will allow the air circulation to naturally dry out the basin and other inner-workings. Some machines even come with a convenient flip-top portion of the lid so that you can have it mostly closed.
Another easy tip to keep your washer in good working condition is to run it on the self-clean or tub clean cycle every couple of months. There are special products you can buy to use when you run this cycle (don’t use regular clothing detergent), but white vinegar works just as well.
Before you throw your clothes in the washer, check all pockets to make sure there’s no paper or other items inside. Paper particles can clog up the drain pipes, as can loose change or other small items. Sharp or metal objects can scratch the tub causing rust or other damage down the line.
Don’t overfill your washer, as this puts a lot of stress on the unit.
Dryer: At the top of the list to maintain your dryer is to keep the lint filter clear. This means clean it out after every single dryer cycle. Yes, every single time. Keep a small waste basket next to the dryer for easy disposal. You should also periodically use your vacuum cleaner to suction out the inside of the lint filter’s pocket as well as clean out the vent tube that exits the dryer and extends outside your house. Doing these things will not only keep your dryer functioning well, it will also reduce the risk of a fire.
If your dryer isn’t working well and you’ve already cleaned the lint filter and vent, you might need a repair on the heating element. Having the manufacturer’s technician come out for an inspection and fix is a lot less expensive than purchasing a new machine.
As with the washer, make sure that sharp and metal objects do not get tossed around in the dryer. Zip up zippers, close buttons, and turn clothing with metal rivets or other abrasive materials inside-out before washing and drying.
As a general rule, a washer and dryer should last at least six years. If it has been longer than that, you’ve had more than one repair, and/or the cost of a repair is more than 50% of the cost of a new unit, it is probably worth the investment in a newer model.