I think we can all agree that appliance maintenance can be stressful, especially when it comes to washing machines and dryers. The fact of the matter is that we rely on our washing machines so often to provide clean clothes that we often take their maintenance for granted…until it’s too late and we have a pile of laundry waiting for us. So whether laundry is your least or most favorite chore, we have four tips on how to extend the life of your washing machine and keep it clean.
Leaving the Door Ajar
One of the easiest and most effective methods for maintaining the function of your washing machine is to simply leave the door open when the washer is not in use. By leaving the door open, you will improve its air circulation and avoid a moist, damp environment. By preventing a buildup of moisture and keeping airflow accessible, mildew and mold will be held at bay, and you won’t be fighting a musty smelling washer or load of laundry.
Complete a Monthly Wash and Rinse
To prevent mildew and grime buildup from repeated washing cycles, you can use a combination of household liquids to do a monthly wash cycle to keep your washing machine in tip-top shape. Only two ingredients are needed: white vinegar and baking soda. Set your washer to run on the hottest temperature cycle and pour in one half cup white vinegar into the detergent dispenser (or directly into the drum if no dispenser is available). Add one cup of baking soda to the cycle, as this will serve as the scrubbing action to clear out any build up. After the cycle has completed, immediately run an extra rinse to ensure all the baking soda is cleared out.
Remove Your Clothes Immediately
We all know that dreaded feeling of hearing the buzzer sound to signal that the washing cycle is complete. How tempting it is to leave the clothes in the washer while we finish another chore or one more television episode. To keep your washing machine from smelling and developing mildew, you should remove wet loads of laundry immediately after the cycle has completed. Doing so will remove the source of the damp environment that mildew loves to grow in, and lets air flow in to keep the smell fresh.
Choose the Correct Laundry Detergent
Gone are the days when the only difference in laundry detergent was the scent. In today’s aisles, there are several varieties, such as standard detergent, high-efficiency detergent, and detergent with bleach. The most important factor to consider when choosing a detergent is to make sure it matches the type of washing machine you own. High-efficiency washing machines are becoming more popular and require designated high-efficiency laundry detergents, which are usually clearly marked on packages. Conventional washing machines can use standard laundry detergent.
In addition to using the correct type of soap, it’s important to use the correct amount. A good rule of thumb would be to use half of what the soap manufacturer recommends. If you use liquid fabric softener you should use a very small amount and dilute it with hot water.