Preventive Maintenance: How To Take Care of Your Washing Machine
One of the most helpful modern conveniences is the washing machine. When it's working, there's nothing like having clean clothes at your convenience. But when it's not, it certainly makes life more difficult. There are a few easy maintenance tasks that help keep your washing machine in tip-top shape. With these tips, you'll have fewer service calls and a washing machine that lasts longer.
Wash Your Washer
This seems like something that would happen naturally. Isn't our washer there to wash clothes? So, why wouldn't the washer be clean inside? Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way.
You may notice that your clothes don't smell as fresh or that the washer itself has an "off" odor. If so, the inside may need cleaning. Any partially dissolved suds can create a film that gets onto your clothing. This buildup also gets onto the drum of your washer. Other than simply being unclean, this film also breeds mold and mildew.
There are products you can buy where you simply spray the cleaner inside of your washer and run it after a few minutes. These work well but you can also make a solution at home. Mix about 3/4 cup of bleach along with some powdered laundry detergent - approximately one tablespoon should suffice. Put the solution in your washer and run it on its regular cycle. This will help clean and sanitize the inside for a fresher and cleaner scent.
Do this cleaning cycle around once a month. Even if you run an empty load with some detergent and bleach, it will help keep the machine fresher.
What, more cleaning you ask? This part is pretty simple - keep the outside clean. Wipe up spills and periodically clean the rest of the outside so that it preserves the finish. While you're at it, you might as well clean the fabric softener, bleach, and detergent dispenser - if your washer has these.
The lint filter gets dirty too. It doesn't need cleaning all of the time but if it is too stopped up, it may cause your washer to stop temporarily with an error code. You can clear out this code by finding the lint filter, which can be found by referring to your owner's manual. If you've put it away somewhere, go online and type in your washer type plus "lint filter location" into a browser.
Check the Hoses
This one can be kind of a pain since it's in the back of your machine. Yet, you don't have to do this all the time and it's important. According to Houzz:
Keep an eye on the hoses connected to your washing machine. You want to be sure they don't become bent. If your washing machine is older, it may be time to replace those hoses (which should be replaced every five years.) A leak in your washing machine hose can cause a flood in your home.
Try doing this at least once a year. Just a quick once-over should be sufficient to make sure the hoses are okay.
Always Follow Instructions
This sounds like a given but you would be surprised at how many people never pay attention to the settings or instructions. This can minimize the life of your washing machine. For example, if you have one of the HE (high efficiency) washers, you have to use a certain type of laundry soap for those machines.
As stated in The Spruce:
High-efficiency front or top loading washers are designed with low water levels and a tumbling washing action. HE detergents are low sudsing and specially formulated to provide clean wash loads in these energy-saving washers.
If you were to use other laundry detergents, it may not clean your clothes right due to confusing the machine. It may not rinse the clothes properly, interrupt the cycle, or not wash the clothes right. You're simply defeating the purpose of the machine. However, HE machines use less soap so you get more uses out of your laundry soap bottle.
The same rules apply to things like specific settings. If you are washing a heavy load, use that setting so that the washer does not go out of balance or not clean properly.
Leave the Door Open (or Clean It)
If you have a top-loading washer, leave the door open between washings. This gives your washer time to dry out and lose all of the humidity that may cause odors. Many front-loading machines have lights in them or it is not convenient to leave them open. If you cannot, make sure that you at least wipe down the rubber seal in between washings so that mold or mildew does not start to grow.
There are a few things you can do to make your washer better. For example, make sure it is installed level. A washing machine that is not on level ground will start to shake and even move out of place. This may not only damage your floor but can damage the washer too.
And make sure the washer is at least 4-5 inches from the wall. This helps ensure that the hoses mentioned earlier do not kink or bend.
Show Your Washer Some Love
Many washing machines last for years. If you want to ensure the longevity of your washing machine, just show it some love. Keep it clean, follow the instructions, and just take care of it and it will take care of you.
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