Your washer and dryer are two of the hardest-working appliances in your home. Keep them in good working condition, and they'll add loads of convenience to your life for years to come. Read this guide for easy ways to maintain your washer and dryer.
Problem #1: Your Washer Rattles and Walks During the Spin Cycle
Though most machines jiggle occasionally because of an unbalanced load, a machine that shakes, rattles or shuts off during the spin cycle may not be level.
How to Level a Washing Machine: Stop a walking washer — and end up with cleaner clothes in the process — by leveling the machine in five steps:
- Use a carpenter's level to check whether the machine is level side-to-side and front-to-back. Place the level along all four edges of the appliance to determine which leg or legs need to be adjusted.
- Working with a partner, slide the washing machine about a foot away from the wall. Be careful not to strain any cords or hoses.
- Tip the washer and place a block of wood under the corner for support. Use a wrench or pliers to adjust the foot. Typically, turning the foot counterclockwise lowers it, while turning it clockwise raises it.
- As necessary, remove and reposition the block to other corners of the washer to adjust other feet.
- After adjusting all feet, remove the block entirely and check to see if the washer is level. Run a test load of laundry. If the washer stays in place, the machine is now level. Once the load is finished and the washer has been leveled, slide the washer back into position.
Some washing machines are self-leveling and only need a tilt to the front and rear to automatically adjust the legs.
Problem #2: Your Washer's Water Supply Hoses Are Old or Worn
The rubber hoses that supply hot and cold water to your washer can become brittle over time, potentially leading to flooding.
How to Prevent Supply Hose Disasters: Avoid coming home to find a flooded laundry room by following a few simple steps:
- Check your hoses once a year for kinks, cracks, stiffness or brittleness.
- Replace old hoses with stainless steel-clad hoses, or for a less-expensive alternative, try hoses with mesh-wrapped ends.
- Keep your washer at least four inches away from the wall so the supply and drain hoses don't become kinked.
Problem #3: Your Dryer Takes Forever to Dry
If your clothes aren't drying well or there's excess moisture in your laundry room, you probably have a blocked dryer vent.
How to Clean a Dryer Vent:
- Every three to six months, disconnect the exhaust pipe and remove any lint.
- Run a flexible dryer vent brush or a vacuum hose through the pipe to remove as much lint as possible.
- Make sure the outdoor area where the tube vent is free of obstructions.
Clean your lint filter after each use and regularly perform dryer maintenance. A buildup of lint poses a serious fire risk.
Problem #4: Your Washer Has an Odor
Prevent odors caused by bacteria:
- Top-Loader: Leave the lid up to help dry it out.
- Front-Loader: Towel-dry the washer drum and rubber gasket after removing wet laundry. Leave the door open until the drum is completely dry.
Washing machine cleaner removes and prevents odor-causing agents in your appliance. Follow manufacturer's guidelines for usage recommendations.
Tips to Increase the Life of Your Washer and Dryer
1. Don't overload it. When washers and dryers are overloaded they perform inefficiently. Break big loads up into smaller piles to extend the life of the motor and use less energy.
2. Use it or lose it. If you're not planning to use your washer for an extended period of time, turn off the water flow to the washer. Otherwise, constant water pressure may cause or exacerbate leaks.
3. Give it some air. Over time, small amounts of stagnant water can lead to mildew and odors. Leave the lid open between washings to allow the drum to dry.
4. Soap is for interiors, not exteriors. Clean spills quickly, as most appliances are painted with synthetic enamel that may be damaged by chlorine bleach, ammonia, solvents and other chemicals.