We rely on our major appliances (like our ovens, dishwashers, washing machines, etc.) to make the everyday work of homemaking faster and easier. We rely on them so fully, in fact, that it’s easy to start taking them for granted!
Such is often the case with our two major laundry helpers: our washing machines and tumble dryers. If you don’t make it a priority to give these appliances the regular care and maintenance they require, you could wind up paying for an expensive repair down the road (or even have to replace them entirely!)
But on the bright side, maintaining your washer and dryer isn’t nearly as complicated as you might think! Here are 9 things you can do, from everyday tasks to once-a-year maintenance, to keep your washer and dryer in great shape for years to come!
9 Things You Need To Do To Maintain Your Washer And Dryer
1. Clean Them Regularly
When grime is allowed to build up inside your washing machine or dryer, the less effectively and efficiently it will be able to do its job. That’s why it’s so important to clean both machines regularly, so you can continue to enjoy clean, dry clothes on laundry day!
Check out my complete step-by-step tutorials for deep-cleaning these appliances here:
2. Keep The Doors Open
As much as possible, you should try to keep your washer and dryer doors open or ajar whenever they aren’t being used. If you close your washer or dryer door right after using it, moisture can get trapped inside the machine and cause musty odors, or even mold and mildew growth!
3. Clean Your Washer’s Dispensers
Regardless of where your washing machine’s detergent and fabric softener dispensers are located or what they look like, they need to be give a good scrub every once in a while. Washing away any product buildup and bacteria on your washer’s dispensers will keep your clothes cleaner and will help your washer continue working effectively.
If you’re not sure where your washer’s dispensers are or how to remove them for cleaning, refer to your washing machine’s user manual. (Can’t find it? You can usually find a digital copy online by searching for your appliance using the manufacturer and model number.)
4. Check The Hoses
Water can’t flow smoothly in and out of your washer (and dryer too, for those with ventless dryers) if the inlet and outlet hoses are damaged or worn out. Check these hoses once a year or so to make sure they are securely connected and free of cracks and leaks.
Don’t forget to check your outlet hoses for clogs and buildup too; the combination of dirty water, lint, and other particles passing through those hoses can easily lead to blockages!
5. Clean Your Washer’s Drain Pump Filter
Every washing machine has a drain pump that helps pump the water out of the drum. That pump is typically protected by a filter, which prevents small items from getting sucked inside and wreaking havoc.
But even when your washing machine is working just fine, it’s a good idea to check the drain pump filter regularly and remove anything that might have gotten trapped in there. This simple act of preventative maintenance on your part may help prevent an expensive repair down the road!
6. Clean Your Dryer’s Exhaust Vent
According to a 2017 report from the National Fire Protection Association, a failure to clean the dryer is the leading cause of dryer-related house fires. Taking the time to clean out your dryer’s exhaust vent will go a long way toward preventing a dryer fire from happening in your home.
Between once a year and every other year, pull your dryer away from the wall and remove the exhaust vent from the back. Use your vacuum to clean out any lint that may be trapped in or around the vent, and then be sure to check the vent cap outside to make sure that air can pass through it freely.
7. Wash Your Dryer’s Lint Trap
You already know how important it is to regularly remove lint from your dryer’s lint trap, but did you know you should also wash it periodically too? Washing the lint trap with soap and water every few months will help remove any detergent or fabric softener residue buildup that may be limiting airflow through the trap.
8. Opt For Metal Parts
Especially when it comes to your dryer, it’s important to outfit it with metal parts whenever possible. Dryer ducts are available in a number of different materials, but vinyl ducts can be particularly hazardous due to their propensity for getting clogged, crushed, and catching fire.
Instead, choose whichever type of metal duct makes the most sense for your dryer setup and vent layout. You should be able to find a number of suitable options at any home improvement store!
9. Keep Them Level
Your washer and dryer need to be level in order for the drums to spin correctly. If the drum is spinning even a little bit off balance, it can significantly reduce the lifespan of the whole machine.
It’s not hard to tell if your washing machine isn’t level—you’ll hear it during the spin cycle! Most washers and dryers have adjustable legs that make fixing the balance fairly simple, but you’ll need a level and a helper (preferably a strong one!) to hold the machine up while you adjust the length of each leg.
(Bonus Tip: Did you know your iPhone has a level built right in? Open the Measure app, then tap Level near the bottom of the screen!)
Have you cleaned or maintained your washer or dryer lately?