Washing machines are arguably one of the hardest working appliances in a home. Cycling an astonishing 30-40 gallons of water during every load, it’s no wonder why washers can breakdown after only a few years of use. To avoid early wear and tear on your machine, use these 5 tips for washing machine maintenance.
Tip 1: Audit Your Cleaning Supplies
More isn’t better: When your clothing is really soiled, it can be tempting to use extra laundry detergent. More soap = cleaner laundry, right? Wrong! We highly recommend that you don’t use extra detergent! More detergent doesn’t mean that your clothes will be cleaner. In fact, using too much detergent can cause issues with your washer’s mechanical and electrical components, as well as cause excess scum build-up and mold issues.
Use the correct detergent: If you own a front load washer, verify that you are using high efficiency laundry detergent (the label should say HE and include an image of the HE badge pictured on the right).
Tip 2: Clean Inside Your Washer Monthly
Purchase Washing Machine Cleaner: Most people think that a washing machine doesn’t need to be cleaned, but despite popular belief, regular cleaning is a very important step toward preventing costly repairs. Use a product like Affresh to clean inside your washing machine once every month. Affresh cleans better than bleach or other abrasive cleaners, because it is specially formulated to penetrate, dissolve, and remove odor-causing residue throughout the entire wash cycle.
Tip 3: Wipe down the Door Boot
One of the most common complaints we hear about front load washing machines is the smell of mold or musk coming from the unit. The best way to prevent smells and leaks is to properly clean and care for your washer’s door gasket (sometimes called a door boot or door seal).
Pull back the rubber seal and visually inspect the condition of the appliance. If you haven’t cleaned the seal, chances are that you’re going to see a lot of mold! Check out Jenn’s blog, Clean and Sensible, for one of the best articles on how to clean and maintain your gasket.
Tip 4: Inspect Washer Hoses
The hoses that connect the hot and cold water to your washing machine do a lot of work. An average household washes 20 loads of laundry each month, which means that nearly 600 gallons of water flow through the hoses (less if you have a high efficiency machine). Over time, the washer hoses can deteriorate, crack, and become loose. Imagine 30 gallons of water leaking all over your laundry room because of a broken hose!
We recommend inspecting your laundry hoses every month, or at least quarterly. Look for cracks or signs of deterioration in the hoses. If you find damage, replace the hoses immediately. You should replace the hoses every 5 years.
Tip 5: Level Your Washer
One way to keep your washer from breaking down is to make sure it is level and stable. Over time, the washer may become slightly off level, which causes issues with the load balance and vibration. Place a standard level on the top of the machine. If the washer isn’t level, place a wood block under the machine and carefully adjust the leveling legs. Remove the block and test the level again. Repeat until you achieve accurate level. Some washers also have leveling legs in the back, so refer to your owners manual prior to starting.