Jeff Flowers on April 14, 2014 6 Comments Just because your washing machine was created to clean things, doesn’t make it exempt from needing some cleaning and care itself from time to time. Your washing machine is an appliance, and like any appliance it needs a bit of TLC every now and then in order to stay in top form. If you spend a few moments now, you will likely keep your washer working as it should, as well as possibly have to spend hundreds of dollars on repairs later on. Whether you own a washer dryer combo or a full-size unit, here are a few tips that everybody should know when it comes to keeping their washing machines in top-working order. Deep Scrubbing In order to make sure that your clothes are coming out as clean as they can possibly be, it’s a good idea to deep clean your washing machine once a month. This is also a good way to keep odd smells out of your washer. There are cleaners made specifically for washing machines that you can put to good use. When using a washing machine cleaner, you’ll want to run the machine on an empty cycle on hot wash. If you like, you can make your own washing machine cleaner with a 3/4 cup of bleach and a teaspoon of powdered laundry detergent. Allow the mixture to run through a single soak cycle before you start up a rinse cycle to make sure that all of the bleach has been washed away. Keep the Door Open After you wash a load of clothes, make sure that you keep the door or lid open to allow the moisture to properly evaporate from the washing drum. If you don’t leave it open, your unit is more likely to start to smell if you don’t let the moisture evaporate from the drum. This is especially true with front-loading washers. In fact, if you have a front-loading washer, it would be wise to even wipe down the rubber seal inside the door. Not only will this help the unit dry out quicker, but it will help prevent it from starting to smell of mildew. Additionally, it would also be wise to keep the dispenser drawer out after each use. Much like the interior drum, the dispenser drawer on front-loading washers may still have moisture in it after each cycle. While it’s not very common, it is possible for those areas to start to grow mold or mildew if they’re not given the opportunity to allow excess moisture to escape. To prevent this, simply open/close the dispenser drawer at the same time you open/close the door of the machine. Wipe it Down – In & Out You’ll also want to take good care of the exterior of your washing machine. As often as possible, make sure that you wipe down the exterior in order to get rid of sticky residue or stains. Not only that, but you should also regularly wipe down the inside of your washing machine to get rid of any lint, soapy residue or dirt that has become trapped inside. If excess hair or lint builds up, it may prevent your washing machine from operating as efficiently as it could. Any spills that you notice should be tended to immediately with a damp cloth before they have a chance to sit for too long. The reason for this is because harsh cleaners, ammonia and chlorine bleach may wreak havoc on the delicate synthetic or porcelain enamel of your machine. If this is the case for your washer, then you may create visible wear and tear on the exterior of the unit. If any sticky residue has dried up, hot water on a towel will usually do the trick. If not, try adding a dab of mild dishwashing liquid to the hot water and giving it a good scrub. If you often find yourself using the top surface of your washing machine to fold clothes or any other type of work, it is recommended to spread a towel over it to keep the surface protected. This is an especially effective tip if you ever have a stain, since using a regular stain remover might do more harm than good. When cleaning the exterior of your washing machine, it’s very important that you make sure you keep all sharp objects away from the surface of your washer. The surface of washing machines may get scratched easily. You also want to ensure that all liquids are kept away from the washer’s control panel. Quick Maintenance Tips Here’s a few more quick tips for cleaning and caring for your washing machine. Use the Right Detergent: If you have a High-Efficiency washing machine, then it’s important that you use a laundry detergent that has the ‘HE’ symbol on the front label. This concentrated detergent is specifically made for these machines. They create less of a lather, which makes it easier for your machine to wash it out when it’s supposed to. This is one of the most common problems homeowners encounter when using a High-Efficiency washer. Check the Fabric Softener Dispenser: Don’t forget the fabric softener dispenser when you’re cleaning your washing machine. In order to make sure that you do it right, take a good look at the owner’s manual. Whatever you do, do not use a detergent when cleaning your fabric softener dispenser. Check the Hoses Often: During you weekly cleanings, make sure that you check the hoses of your washer to make sure that they aren’t bent. Older washing machines might need new connecting hoses. In any case, it’s best if you change the hoses once every 5-7 years. Having a leak in your washing machine has the potential to lead to flooding in your entire home. Check Inlet Hose Filters: You also want to make sure to check the inlet hose filters on the inside of the water inlet connections, which many people often neglect. The inlet hose filters keep debris and minerals from finding their way into your washer. Should they ever become clogged, water won’t be able to flow into the washer the way it should. Vacuum Out Pet Hair: If you have pets, sooner or later their hair is going to end up in your washer, there’s simply no way around it. One of the best ways to take care of this is to leave the washer door open so that the drum and pet hair inside of the drum are both completely dry. Using the soft brush attachment on your vacuum, you’ll want to suck out the pet hair. This also works for excess amounts of human hair. By taking good care of your washing machine, cleaning its interior and exterior on a regular basis and following our tips above, your unit is sure to take good care of you and your clothes for many years to come.