Is it laundry day again?
The laundry is one of those things that no one really likes to talk about, nor do we enjoy doing it. While we’re busy building great careers, trying to properly raise our children, doing things that make an impact on the world around us, and keeping up with our favorite hobbies or leisure activities, very little is said or written about mundane household tasks like doing the laundry. Of course, it must be done.
Because the laundry is so rarely the top thing we think about, we can take the equipment used for granted. Sort the clothes, throw them in the washer, then the dryer, fold and put everything away. But if these machines break down, you suddenly find yourself scrambling for money or depleting your savings to repair or replace these expensive appliances.
Washers and dryers are designed to last at least ten years. Unfortunately, we as consumers can sometimes get into bad habits that shorten the lifespan of these essential items. Let’s look at 5 ways you can ruin your washer and dryer, and ways to avoid them.
5. Uneven Surface
You are probably familiar with the sounds: heavy vibration, a rhythmic thump, and sounds similar to that of a hammer repeatedly banging on a hard surface. This happens when your machine is unbalanced or on an uneven surface. The load inside a top-loading washer will get in this condition if the clothes are not evenly distributed inside the drum. If the machine is on an unlevel surface, this can happen for any type of washer. Not only does it make annoying sounds, it can damage the motor. Use a leveling tool to ensure the machine is on a level surface and take care with how you load if it’s a top-loading model.
4. Using Too Much Detergent
“Wow, this stuff is really dirty. I’d better use a lot more detergent.” Haven’t we all said that at one point? The problem with this is that if you use too much detergent, your machine is at risk of overflowing. This can also happen if you use other cleaners, such as dishwashing liquid. Most of us dislike mopping the floor as much as we dislike doing laundry. Who wants to add the laundry room to the list of rooms we have to mop already? Stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations for how much detergent to use. Using detergent pods is a great way to eliminate this scenario entirely. Also consider adding a few drops of water to liquid fabric softener.
3. Not Properly Using the Dispensers
The newest machines have designated dispensers for detergent, fabric softener and bleach. Be sure to use these dispensers exactly as the manufacturer directs. Bleach is best added right after the wash cycle has started. These dispensers also need regular maintenance – clean them out after each load, or at least once every month. This will prevent build-up that could cause a clog later on. Also, build-up of detergent or fabric softener could be left on the clothing, which will attract dirt and stains the next time you wear the clothes. If your machine has a “clean” function, run that once a month as well.
2. Stuffing the machine
The first 3 tips apply to the washer. This tip applies to both the washer and the dryer. If the machine is too full, several problems can arise. For one, the load will not be done properly (not properly washed, not dry after a full cycle). The machine will have to work much harder, increasing the wear and tear, leading to disrepair or complete shutdown far earlier than intended. It will also require much higher energy use, driving up the utility bill. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you do not exceed the machine’s intended capacity.
1. Not Cleaning Out the Lint
If you do a Google search on “how to extend the life of the dryer,” this tip will come up on every list. It’s the one thing that most people fail to do and end up having to repair or replace the dryer long before it is necessary. Like with stuffing the machine, not cleaning the lint will cause the dryer to use more energy. It can also present a fire hazard. You should clean the lint filter after every load. At the very least, clean the filter when you have finished that day’s laundry.
It should go without saying – but enough of us don’t do it that we have to say it – that you should keep your owner’s manual when you buy a new washer and dryer and refer to it whenever you have a question about how you are using it. If you have never read the manual, now would be a good time. If you no longer have it, most manuals can be found online or by calling the manufacturer.
Keep these things in mind and use good practices, and the boring nature of laundry day can stay that way. After all, we don’t want the excitement of having to shop for a repair service or a new washer or dryer any sooner than necessary. Here’s to the long life of the washer and dryer!