7 Tips for Cleaning Your Washer and Dryer

Your washing machine and dryer can make your chores easier, but a good set is a sizable investment. It’s no wonder that buyers view having a working washer and dryer included in their new home as a desirable feature and valuable tool.

To keep your clothes in their best shape, you must keep your washing machine and dryer in top form. These cleaning appliances need cleaning from time to time as well. Follow these tips for cleaning your washer and dryer and keep them operating at their best.

1. DIY Solutions Aren’t Always Best

There are a lot of DIY solutions to keeping your washing machine clean. Many of these involve white vinegar. You can use this natural DIY alternative or a store-bought product for a polished clean. If you have a newer, high-efficiency washing machine however, you need to research if a DIY solution is safe for your model. (Some aren’t!) If you’re open to a store-bought alternative, washer cleaning pods are easy to find at most stores that sell detergent, and you simply pop them in the washing machine, set the machine on the cleaning setting, and let it do its work.

White vinegar is great, but the smell of vinegar takes several cycles to wash out entirely.

2. Clean out the Softener Dispenser

Fabric softener is meant to be diluted when introduced to the washing machine on each wash, but many of us don’t do so often enough. Not diluting fabric softener can lead to a gunky residue build-up in the washing machine itself, clogging the channels meant to dispense the softener through the wash. Regularly wipe the softener dispenser clean and run water through to ensure the channels are open.

When in doubt, skip the fabric softener and use dryer sheets in the wash instead. Same soft results with much less gunk!

3. Leave Your Washer Lid Open

Front-loading washers use a tight seal to keep water in during the washing and rinse cycles. Excess moisture gets locked in the washing machine and can begin to smell stale if left to remain between washes. Leave your washer door or lid open from time to time to allow the extra moisture to dry, helping to keep your machine clean.

4. Don’t Forget Your Drain Pump Filter

Front-loading and top-loading washers use a drain pump filter. Top-loading washer filters never need to be cleaned or changed, but some front-loading drain pump filters do. Be sure to check the owner’s manual and clean your drain pump filter regularly based on how often you use the washer. If unsure of when, clean out the filter monthly by removing the filter and soaking in hot water. Not sure where the filter is located, or even if you have one? Consult the manual and do some online research for best practices.

5. Remove Lint After Each Dry Cycle

Lint builds up in your lint screen every time you dry a load of laundry. Towels, socks, sweatpants and sweatshirts tend to be especially linty. Keep your dryer operational and more energy efficient by cleaning the lint screen in between every load.

Lint can become a fire hazard if left to build up. The safest bet is to be in the routine habit of cleaning the screen regularly.

6. Clean your Dryer Ducts

Cleaning your dryer ducts annually is important to keep your dryer working at its best. It’s a vital maintenance task for your dryer’s operation, and also fro your home’s safety. Clogged ducts are a fire hazard and cause thousands of house fires each year. Consider replacing vinyl dryer exhausts ducts with metal ductwork to reduce fire hazards.

7. Check Your Clothing Pockets Before Each Wash

The best offense is a good defense. Keep your dryer free from debris like candy, gum, crayons, pens and lipsticks by checking the pockets of everything before putting in the washer. Pens will usually wash without difficulty but then explode in the dryer, leaving ink all over the machine and the clothing too. Tissues are also especially difficult when washed, breaking down into hundreds of pieces that do not easily separate from clothing once in the dryer.

If something sneaks past your watchful eye, consult your owner’s manual before doing another wash to find out how to tackle the issue.


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