by Paul Sanders
Like all large appliances, your washing machine needs a little bit of attention to keep it operating smoothly. Luckily, you can maintain washers and dryers in a few minutes a month with these simple tips. The following ideas can really extend the life of your washer and ensure that your laundry stays consistently clean.
Don't use too much detergent. Many detergents use animal fat as a base. If you use too much, your washer won't be able to remove it all, leaving a residue or film. If you notice your clothes smell overly soapy or have soap residue on them, reduce the amount of soap you use for each load of laundry.
Leave the door open. Front load washers are watertight, which means that water vapor can't escape, making it an ideal place for mold to grow. If you have a front-load washer, leave the door ajar after you take the clothes out. This will help the machine air out.
Run the washer empty. Every month or so, run the clothes washer on a hot setting without soap. You might consider adding some vinegar and baking soda, which can break up soap residue.
Turn off the water when you're on vacation. The water hoses connected to your washer are under constant pressure. If a hose bursts while you're not home, you can have some serious water damage on your hands. Replace your water hoses at least every five years. And if you're going out of town, turn off the water valves.
Make sure it's level. Running your washer on an uneven surface can cause heavy wear on the motor and can cause it to shake violently during the spin cycle. Use a level to adjust the washer's foot pads until the machine is perfectly balanced.
Clean the cabinet. Laundry soap, lint and dust can accumulate on your washer. Wash the enamel cabinet clean with warm water and dish soap if it starts to look grimy.
Clean the lint filter. Your washer has a filter to catch lint when the water drains. Make sure you know how to clear it out, so that water, dirt and soap suds can drain properly.