Unlike some other appliances, your washer and dryer are often not subject to daily use. This gives them a pretty long lifespan of between 10 to 20 years, but like any appliance, they do require some maintenance to keep them working as intended for that long life.
While you may have to make some repairs over time, if you want your washer and dryer to have those repairs only a few and far in-between, there are a few simple tasks that you can do to make sure they last a long time.
The major issue that often comes with a washer is that it is subject to moisture. As a dark, warm, and wet area is the perfect home for mold and bacteria growth, you need to take steps to combat this.
- Use the Right Amount of Detergent – When it comes to laundry detergent, more is not always better, especially if you also use a high efficiency detergent. The major issue with laundry detergent is that the residue left behind can invite mold growth. You want to use the correct amount so that it is washed away after each load.
- Clean Monthly – A washer is actually really easy to clean. It is as simple as running a load of laundry without the laundry. Once a month, simply set your washer to the largest load, the longest wash, the hottest water, and then run it. You can add vinegar when this runs to kill anything inside or use a product like Affresh that is specially made to clean your washer. If you have a front-load model, be sure to remove the detergent tray afterwards to clean it separately, it tends to get the most residue build up.
- Clean the Boot Weekly – In your front-load washer, the door boot is the part that you really need to worry about with mold growth. This needs to be wiped out weekly with Affresh or vinegar to prevent that ugly black staining that comes with mold.
- Keep the Lid Open – If you are a little lax with your cleaning regime, a simple way to slow down mold growth is to help the washer dry out faster. Whether you have a top-load or a front-load model, keeping the lid open helps a lot.
- Do a Quick Inspection Regularly – Never underestimate the power of a quick visual inspection on any appliance. Check the drain hoses for cracks, the inlet valves for leaking, and everywhere for wear. You should also never ignore noises that are out of the normal.
Unlike a washer that needs to worry about moisture, a dryer has the opposite problem. It is kept nice and dry by its function, but as clothing produces lint, that heat can also be a serious fire risk without maintenance.
- Clean the Lint Trap Every Load – If you are not in the habit already, it is time to pick it up. The lint trap keeps the lint from your clothing from traveling into your dryer vents where it can easily build up. This build up is not only a serious fire risk, but is also severely hampers the function of your dryer.
- Clean Your Vent – Behind your dryer, you will notice a flexible hose that attaches the dryer to the vent in your home. This hose can easily be disconnected and the lint inside can be cleaned away. You can even invest in a dryer vent cleaning kit to make sure any stray lint is removed.
- Dry Appropriate Loads – Some washer and dryers come as a set, and as such, you can only wash loads size-appropriate for your dryer. However, if you have a big washer and a smaller dryer, by overloading the dryer you are making it work much harder than it should. This causes a lot of wear on your appliance and will lead to it breaking down sooner.
- Do a Visual Inspection – Like when visually inspecting your washer, you should do the same for your dryer. Typically, other than looking for lint build up, you should also look for crushed areas or rips in the exhaust hose. This will impede air flow, but that hose is very easy to replace if damaged.