Washing Machine Maintenance

Many people think that the washing machine is a self-cleaning machine, but it is not. It still needs to be cleaned and cared for periodically. What happens to all of the dirt and debris that the washing machine removes from your clothes?

It does not all go down the drain during the rinse cycle, like you may think. Much of that dirt accumulates inside of the machine and the detergent that you use to wash your clothes may also leave behind minerals and residue that accumulate on the inside of the washing machine.

Over time, this buildup will cause your machine to work much harder to clean your clothes less efficiently. Since this appliance costs a small fortune to replace, it is more practical and affordable for you to give it a little TLC.

1. Inspect the hoses

Check your washing machine’s water hoses for signs of wear or weakness a few times each year. If you discover any cracks or blistering, replace the hose. Any damage could cause a leak or burst – and extremely expensive flood damage in your home.

Most manufacturers recommend replacing the hoses every five years. For more peace of mind, use high-quality, stainless steel hoses.

2. Clean the water inlet filters

If your washing machine seems to take forever to fill with water, your hoses or sediment screens are likely clogged, restricting the flow of water. If you disconnect the hoses on the back side of the washing machine, you’ll see that there are small filters inside each of the hot and cold water fill. These filters are designed to keep sediment such as sand, dirt, and minerals from passing through into the machine. Keeping these filters clean increases the efficiency of the appliance, and speeds the timing of each load.

3. Don’t overload it

Follow the owner’s manual’s instructions for appropriate loading sizes. Over sized loads will throw the machine off balance and that will lead to problems.

4. Keep it level

It’s abnormal for washing machines to vibrate the floor and walls of your laundry room. If your washing machine is not exactly level, with all four legs on the floor, it may rock back and forth and vibrate strongly.

It’s best to keep the machine as close to the floor as possible. The closer the machine sits to the floor, the less it will vibrate. The front legs are adjustable with a lock nut. Position the legs at the desired height and tighten the lock nut against the body of the machine so that the legs cannot rotate. Some models also have adjustable legs in the rear, too. Follow the same process for adjusting those.

It is more common for machines to have self-adjusting rear legs. Ask someone to assist you with this. Tilt the machine forward on its front legs so that the rear legs are three to four inches from the floor. When you set the machine back down to rest all on all four legs, the legs should adjust automatically. If you find that they are not level, tilt the machine forward again and tap on the rear legs with the handle of a hammer to loosen them. Another option would be to purchase leveling leg pads to assist in noise reduction.

5. Use the appropriate amount of detergent

Regardless of what’s recommended on detergent packaging, follow your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended amount of detergent. If you have soft water you will need to greatly reduce the amount of soap used. Rule of thumb is a thin layer of suds in the wash cycle. If there is too many suds, the rinse cycle may not get them all out.

6. Check Your Clothes

One common error that many people make when washing their clothes is failing to thoroughly checking their pockets. Think about how excited you get when you discover that you washed a twenty dollar bill. Well, that is not the same kind of excitement you are going to feel if you happen to leave gum, food, and other items inside of your clothes before they are washed.

Once those items are exposed to water and detergent, they have the potential to ruin your clothes and your machine. Practice a little more caution and make sure that you are not going to have any unexpected surprises when you go to put your clothes into the dryer.

7. Clean the inside once monthly

It’s common for detergent residue to build up inside of washing machine tubs. Use a cleaner once per month to keep high-efficiency washing machines free of odor-causing residue.

8. Clean out the fabric softener dispenser

Gooey in nature, liquid fabric softener is known to gum up along fabric softener dispensers. Use a damp rag and hot water to clean the dispenser periodically. If you’re using fabric softener in an agitator you can dilute the softener with water to make it flow better and not spray in the agitator.

9. Polish the outside

Spilled detergent, stain remover and fabric softener dry to a sticky mess. The finish on your machine is enamel and without regular cleanings, it will start to dull, chip, and have a poor appearance. This could cause your appliance to look much older than it really is.

Even detergents have harsh ingredients that could affect the appearance of your machine. Wipe up any spills immediately and consider purchasing a cover to help protect your appliance.

Washing machine frequently asked questions

Does my washer really need to be level?

Yes. It is very important for washing machines to be level for proper operation.

Are front-loading washers more efficient than top loaders?

Absolutely. In fact, the higher initial cost of a front loader can be recovered in just a few years through water, sewer, drying time, and soap-usage savings.

The water in my washer’s warm cycle isn’t very warm. Why?

The warm water for your washer is simply a mixture of the hot and cold water available from your home. If the hot water entering the machine isn’t very hot, the warm is actually cool. Also, in northern climates, during winter months, the cold water entering the unit may be significantly colder than in the summer, which causes the warm water to be cooler. Some newer washers have temperature sensors to monitor the incoming water temperature. The factory settings may be different than what you are used to.

In other cases, the water inlet valve may be restricted, or there may be sediment on the screen, that blocks the input of the hot water. Check out the washing machine troubleshooting and repair help information for additional information.

How many clothes can I put into the washer?

For a top loader, a general rule of thumb is to lay clothes loosely inside the washer until they reach the top of the agitator. For a front loader, fill it until it’s full, with minimal compression of the clothes.

How can I get rid of residual soap suds at the end of a cycle?

This is usually an indication that you’re using too much detergent for the clothes you are washing. Try reducing the amount of detergent by half. Then, if the clothes do not appear to be as clean as they should be, increase the amount slightly for each load, until the clothes do get clean.

Why do some clothing dealers suggest washing clothes inside out?

During a wash cycle, clothes often turn inside out during the agitation cycle. Turning the clothes inside out first may be easier on the clothing. It limits abrasion on the “good” side of the fabric, reducing “pilling” and extending the life of some fabrics such as corduroy. In addition, any embroidery, decals, and so on are better preserved. It should not affect the performance of the cleaning action to have the clothes inside out during wash.

If you have more questions, you may search our website www.beaconsaves.com, or contact us @ 352-726-7530.

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