Proper maintenance can help you maximize the lifespan of your washing machine and avoid unnecessary, costly repairs. With this washing machine maintenance checklist and a few simple, regular tasks, you'll be able to avoid problems and keep your washer in great shape.
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In this article, we’ll cover:
- How Do You Do Maintenance on a Washing Machine?
- Washing Machine Maintenance Checklist
- What to Do Every Month for Ideal Washing Machine Maintenance
- FAQs About Washing Machine Maintenance
How Do You Do Maintenance on a Washing Machine?
Regular inspections and maintenance are the best way to keep your washing machine running smoothly. They’ll also let you avoid the costly expense of unnecessary washing machine repair appointments. By taking care of your appliance, you’ll greatly minimize wear and tear and reduce the risk of serious, expensive problems.
While maintaining an appliance like a washing machine might seem intimidating, most essential maintenance tasks are easy to complete and take just minutes to do every so often. Even simple precautions, like not overloading your machine, can help prevent damage. Watch out for signs of wear and use this washing machine maintenance checklist to keep your washer in great shape and working for years.
What Maintenance Does a Washing Machine Need? Washing Machine Maintenance Checklist
Regular maintenance will protect your clothing and your washer. Follow this checklist so you can give your washing machine the care it needs.
Clean Out Washing Machine Filter
When you wash clothing, towels, linens, bedding, and other items, they leave behind fiber particles. Some older washing machine models are equipped with a lint filter that traps these particles and prevents clogs. A dirty filter can cause drainage issues, make your washing machine less efficient, and can even leave behind lint particles on your clothes.
To clean your filter, remove it from your washing machine and allow it to soak in hot water for 10 minutes. Afterwards, use a soft brush or towel to wipe away lint. If your filter is disposable, make sure to replace it with a new one as needed.
Recommended Timeline: After each use, and as directed by the manufacturer.
Your washer's hoses connect your appliance to the valves that supply it with water. While most hoses are designed to last for years, cracks, fraying, and loose fittings can lead to water leaks. If you fail to replace a damaged hose, it could even burst mid-cycle, causing significant water damage.
Periodically inspect your hoses to look for signs of damage, such as bulges or cracked rubber. If a hose is damaged, it should be detached from your washer and replaced. When you install a new hose, you should always confirm that it's correctly inserted into the washing machine drain and that the seal is tight before you run a new load of laundry.
Recommended Timeline: Monthly.
Clean the Rubber Gasket
Many washing machines are equipped with rubber gaskets that create a watertight seal when the door to the machine is shut. Over time, dust, detergent, and other substances can leave behind residue on the gasket. If you don't clean away this residue, it could wind up on the clothes you wash.
Residue can also increase the amount of wear and tear on your gasket, potentially leading to leaks. Wiping off your gasket with a damp cloth will clear away residue, keeping your clothing and the gasket in optimal condition. Regular cleanings will also help to prevent mold or mildew from growing inside your machine.
Recommended Timeline: Once a week.
Proper Detergent Usage
Choosing the right washing machine for your home is important – but you also need to make sure you're using a suitable detergent for your specific washer. Some washing machine models, such as energy-efficient washers, are designed to be used with low-sudsing laundry soap.
In addition to choosing the right type of detergent, you also want to make sure you're using an appropriate amount of soap. Using too much detergent puts stress on your washer and leaves residue behind. You should always carefully measure your detergent and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Recommended Timeline: For each use.
Keep Interior Clean
Have you ever noticed that your clothing doesn't seem to be completely clean when you take it out of the washer? Are there any unpleasant smells or odors coming from your washing machine? Dust, detergent, and even mold and mildew can build up inside your washer if it isn't regularly cleaned.
Every month or so, take the time to wipe down the inside of your washing machine with a damp cloth, water, and dish soap. Make sure that you clean every part of the washer, including the drum and detergent dispenser. Once you're done, fill your detergent dispenser with two cups of white vinegar and run an empty load on hot. If you notice any unusual odor coming from your washer, this should clear it up immediately.
Recommended Timeline: Monthly.
Don’t Let Wet Clothes or Moisture Sit in the Machine
Mold and mildew thrive in damp, dark environments. If you let your wet clothes sit in your washer, especially during warmer days or seasons, mold and bacteria can quickly build up inside the machine, leading to odors and causing damage to the machine's delicate parts. Get in the habit of immediately transferring wet clothes over to the dryer.
After each load, you should also leave the door of your washer open for at least 15 to 30 minutes. This should be enough time to dry up any moisture left inside the machine. You can also use a thick, dry towel to wipe away remaining moisture before you shut the door.
Recommended Timeline: After each use.
What to Do Every Month for Ideal Washing Machine Maintenance
Properly maintaining your washing machine can maximize its efficiency and extend its lifespan. Regular cleaning, visual inspections, and a few simple precautions can all help prevent problems and stave off repairs. Once a month, complete these tasks to keep your washing machine in tip-top shape:
- Inspect your hoses: Your washer should have a drain, hot water, and cold water hose. Check all 3 each month for visible signs of damage.
- Give the machine a deep cleaning: A deep cleaning keeps mold and bacteria from spreading in your washer. Make sure you clean the drum, door, gasket, and dispensers.
- Run a sanitize cycle: Once a month, run an empty load to sanitize the inside of your machine. Some washers have a built-in sanitize cycle.
- Protect your washer's finish: It's important to clean the inside of your washer, but you should also use a mild cleaner to wipe down its exterior and protect its factory finish.
- Clean the drain pump filter: If your washer has a drain pump filter, you should clean it regularly to prevent issues like your washing machine not draining.
FAQs About Washing Machine Maintenance
How often should a washing machine be serviced?
Regular maintenance can prevent many problems that may require costly repairs. In addition to caring for your washer at home, you should have it professionally serviced once a year.
How often should I clean my washing machine filter?
If your machine has one, the lint filter should be cleaned at least 4 times a year and replaced as needed. If your washer has a drain filter, it should be removed and cleaned once a month. Note that newer high-efficiency (HE) machines (both top- and front-loading) don’t have lint traps.
How long do washing machines last?
On average, washing machines last around 10 - 13 years. However, it's possible to keep your washer in good shape for longer if you give the machine the maintenance that it needs.
Do more expensive washers last longer?
When shopping for appliances, you should keep in mind that price isn't always an indicator of quality. With that said, your appliance may last longer if you buy from a highly-rated, well-reviewed brand.
Which washing machine brands are the most reliable?
Some of the top-rated washing machine manufacturers include Samsung, LG, Whirlpool, and Maytag. European brands like Gorenje also have a reputation for reliability.
If you've invested in a high-quality washer, make sure you protect that investment. The washing machine maintenance tips offered here will help you to keep your appliance in excellent shape.
Browse the full selection of washing machines at Coast Appliances if you're ready to find a new washer for your home.