Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Washer and Dryer Running Optimally

While the task of doing laundry is seemingly endless, washer/dryers are one of the hardest working appliances in any household. As per our comprehensive DomiDocs’ New Homeowner Guide and according to Consumer Reports, the average lifespan of a washer is 10 years and 13 years for a dryer. If you regularly conduct preventative maintenance, you may be able to get a little bit longer life out of them. But if you’re unknowingly doing things that can damage your washer/dryer, the life span could become much shorter. Let’s take a look at Tips & Tricks to Keep Your Washer/Dryer Running Optimally.

Clean Out the Dryer Lint Trap Before Each Use

Consumer Reports states 27% of dryer fires are caused by lint accumulation. Just as you’d add fabric softener or a dryer sheet into your machine, it’s also extremely important to make cleaning out the lint trap a habit each time before using the dryer. And once a year, the outside dryer vent should be inspected and cleaned of any lint buildup. 

Pro Tip: Switch to reusable dryer balls, especially to those made of wool, as they’ll speed up the overall drying process by up to 25%; and they’ll be no more chemicals that are bad for the environment.

Overfilling the Washer/Dryer

Yes, we all just want the laundry to be finished. But if you cram too many clothes into your washer/dryer at once, plain and simple, they won’t be clean because they can’t circulate properly and will take more time than average to dry. But besides the inconvenience of having to wait longer for that load of laundry to finish, if your machine is overfull, it will require higher energy usage as it has to work much harder to get the job done. Check the manufacturer’s warranty/instructions to identify your washer/dryer’s capacity limitations and always adjust the water level to fit the load of clothes you’re washing. 

Pro Tip: For future reference, it’s easy to upload and store appliance warranties and receipts in our free DomiDocs’ homeowner management platform. 

Overdoing it With Detergent

We’re all guilty of observing that some clothes are dirtier than others, so why not add a little extra detergent into the washer to make sure they’ll come out clean? Well, any extra detergent could cause your washer to overflow, and if the soap isn’t rinsed out properly, it could easily irritate sensitive skin. If you notice suds in your washer even after the rinse cycle, you’re using too much detergent. 

Pro Tip: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions as per how much detergent should be used for each load size, especially if you’re transitioning to a high-efficient appliance that will require less detergent over an older washer.

Utilize the Dispensers Properly

Many washers offer dedicated dispensers for bleach, detergent, and fabric softener. It’s important to fill them as per the manufacturer’s directions and to use the dispenser at the correct time during the wash cycle.

Pro Tip: Clean each dispenser monthly to help avoid build-up which could cause clogs down the road.

Don’t Let Wet Clothes Linger in Your Washer

No doubt we’ve all left a forgotten load of laundry in the washer. If this has happened to you, you’ve probably noticed a musty/moldy smell meaning you’ll need to re-wash that load. Adding a half cup of vinegar to the wash cycle will help to disinfect and clean the clothes of any lingering odors.

Pro Tip: Keep mold at bay in your washer by removing clothes as soon as the washing cycle has finished and leaving the washing machine door open so it can thoroughly air dry in between loads.

Don’t Just Throw Anything Into Your Dryer

If something is wet and needs to be dried, using your dryer may be tempting but that doesn’t mean it’s the best option. Some things are simply not meant to be put into a washer including rubber-backed rugs which can damage both the rug and the dryer simultaneously. The same goes for workout clothes that will lose elasticity, items with bling, and even your comfy Uggs.

Pro Tip: Always read the manufacturer’s label before using your washer/dryer.

Wash Your Delicates Delicately

Many of us toss lingerie and bathing suits in with our regular wash. But the simple movement from your washer and heat from your dryer can irreparably damage delicates, this includes the possibility of underwires or hooks snagging fabric. 

Pro Tip: Either wash delicates by hand or purchase a mesh bag to keep it self-contained. 

Is Your Washer/Dryer Agitated?

Have you ever heard your washer/dryer start thumping and banging like it’s going to take off into outer space? If so, it’s time to check to see if your washer/dryer is level. If it’s even slightly unbalanced or is set upon an uneven surface, these annoying sounds can occur. Or, if you’ve haphazardly tossed clothes unevenly into your top-loading machine, this will also result in a somewhat rhythmic knocking sound so it’s important to distribute clothes as evenly as possible. But besides the noise itself, these scenarios mean your washer/dryer is struggling to work harder and the motor could easily become damaged.

Pro Tip: Always empty your pockets so foreign objects don’t get stuck in the washer; this is especially true for metal keys, chewing gum, or tissues. Your machine will also be more efficient if you wash and dry similar items together instead of mixing them up, such as towels with towels, and t-shirts with t-shirts. Inspect hoses monthly as part of a regular preventative household maintenance routine. 

Not sure what to do when? DomiDocs provides a preloaded maintenance calendar that comes complete with handy alerts so you’ll never miss another household task. And speaking of things that can be missed, don’t let an unpaid bill, a clerical error, or an unknown lien throw your homeownership off track! DomiDocs’ HomeLock™ provides 24/7/365 protection from title fraud and more for as little as $3.88 per month. Sign up today for total peace of mind with HomeLock™!

For information on caring for home appliances, read:

Hack Your Way to Lower Utility Bills

How Much Electricity Everyday Household Items Use

How to Keep Your Dishwasher Healthy

Author – Connie Motz