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Laundry. It’s a chore that most people don’t love. Still, it’s a chore that has to get done. One of the best things you can do to make this task go smoothly and efficiently is to ensure your washer and dryer are functioning properly. 

Low efficiency, underperformance, and even house fires can be unwelcome results of improperly maintained washers and dryers. Many of the steps to keep your appliances in check are routine, simple, and relatively cost-free. Check out these tips for keeping both your washer and dryer in tip-top shape. Now let’s get cleaning!

Dryer Maintenance

The Lint Screen

Clean your lint screen every time you use your dryer, a straightforward and essential task. An unclean lint filter will block airflow and hinder your dryer’s ability to dry your clothes. No cost or supplies are needed, so there should be no excuses.

Every six months or so, use a mild dish detergent with some warm water and a toothbrush to gently scrub the mesh of your lint screen. This removes any built-up residue. Rinse the screen, let it air dry, then return it to the lint trap.

The Drum

Wash your dryer drum monthly. Use a gentle, all-purpose cleaner, and wipe down the entire drum. Use another cloth to dry it.

The Dryer Vent

This task is a bit more complicated but is only necessary once a year. And it may be the most important maintenance you do. Cleaning the dryer vent prevents the formation of clogs that can block airflow and increase your risk of fire and impact how quickly and effectively your clothes dry. The most critical first step is to unplug the dryer and turn off the gas if you own a gas dryer. This may require professional assistance if you don’t know your gas’ source. Use your hands to remove blockages and a vacuum to get deeper into the vent. 

Avoid Overfilling

It might be tempting, but avoid overfilling your dryer, and you will actually get better performance.

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Washing Machine Maintenance

Top Load Washers

Soap residue and minerals build up over time in your washer. HGTV suggests a two-step approach for keeping your top-load washer sparkly clean. Fill the washer with hot water, add one quart of bleach, and run the machine for a few minutes. Then, let it sit for one hour and rerun it for a full cycle. When it’s finished, start over again using vinegar instead of bleach. Next, clean the gaskets, dispensers, and the outside of the washing machine with equal parts of vinegar and water.

Front Load Washers

Front-load washing machines are more prone to bad smells from mold and mildew. Home Depot recommends a nine-step process to soak and clean the tub, the detergent trays, drawers, and removable parts. An essential step is to clean the door gasket with vinegar or bleach. The final steps include cleaning the filter and wiping down the inside of the tub. Lastly, keep the door open until everything is completely dry.  

Check Your Hoses

Damaged and worn-out inlet or outlet water hoses are sure to cause problems. Check your hoses once per year, looking for cracks and leaks. You’ll also want to make sure there isn’t anything causing clogging. 

Hacks to a Fresh-Smelling Washer

One of the most straightforward things you can do to ensure your washer is always smelling fresh and clean is to keep the top open to allow it to dry completely between cycles. 

Check out these additional, common sense hacks:

  • Check the drain to ensure nothing is blocking it. 
  • Always remove wet clothing promptly. 
  • Wash your clothing inside-out. 
  • Use the recommended type and amount of detergent. Both too much and too little detergent can lead to improperly washed clothes. 
  • Thoroughly clean the soap dispenser using a Q-tip on small, hard-to-reach spots. 
  • And just like your dryer, avoid overfilling your washing machine. Overloading can lead to improperly washed clothes that don’t feel and smell fresh and clean. 
  • For really soiled clothing, like gym clothes and workout gear, wash a small load as soon as you have it. Waiting to launder soiled clothes allows bacteria to grow.

Keeping up with washer and dryer maintenance is vital to have fresh clean clothes. And it can help avoid the need for costly repairs down the road.