4 Things You Should Do (and 3 You Shouldn’t) to Extend the Life of Your Washing Machine
Here are the dos and don'ts of washing machine and dryer maintenance.
Like any big appliance, washing machines and dryers are a serious financial investment—one that's typically considered well worth it considering the time they save us and how much cleaner they make our homes. To protect this investment, we reached out to the appliance pros at LG for their advice on the dos and don'ts of washing machine and dryer maintenance. Laura Johnson, consumer analyst, research and development at LG Electronics, told us exactly what we should always do—plus the things we should never do—to keep these appliances working for years to come. Here are the pro-approved ways to extend the life of your washing machine and dryer.
1 Do: Clean Your Washing Machine
Just like cleaning your dishwasher can make your dishes sparkle and the appliance last longer, the same is true for your washing machine. A clean washing machine will not only get your clothes cleaner, but it will also help maintain the appliance.
Follow these steps for a thorough cleaning, or if your machine has a "Tub Clean Cycle," run it once a month or after every 30 washes. This will help remove lingering soap scum and buildup.
2 Do: Remove Wet Clothes ASAP
Leaving wet clothes in the washing machine isn't just bad for the garments, but also for the appliance itself. To prevent the growth of mold and mildew inside the machine, always try to remove items as soon as possible after the wash cycle is completed.
Pro Tip: If you have a newer appliance, check whether the manufacturer offers a coordinating app that alerts you when the wash cycle is done, like LG’s ThinQ app does.
3 Do: Check Your Pockets!
You've heard it before: always check your pockets before throwing clothes in the wash. But did you know that skipping this step can be bad for your appliance, too? "Metal items like coins and keys can damage the inner tub of the washer, so make sure to check your pockets before doing a load," says Johnson.
If you accidentally forget, be sure to clear out the drain pump filter on a front-loading washer, which is designed to catch these items, following this video how-to.
4 Do: Clean the Dryer Lint Filter and Vent
"For dryer maintenance, one of the best things to do is to make sure you clean the lint trap after every use. This will help prevent fire hazards and keep the dryer operating optimally," explains Johnson. Luckily, it's a 10-second chore that can make all the difference.
A little more time-consuming (yet still important!) is to also clear out the dryer vent, or the duct that leads from the machine to the outside of your house, at least once per year.
5 Don't: Use Too Much Detergent
We've said it before and we'll say it again: more detergent does not actually get your clothes cleaner. Besides leaving soapy residue on your clothing, Johnson points out that too much detergent can actually create a lingering odor in your washer.
Need one more reason to avoid pouring in more than the recommended amount? "It also causes your washer to operate longer, using additional rinse cycles to remove soap," explains Johnson.
6 Don't: Use Too Many Dryer Sheets
In the dryer, throwing in too many dryer sheets is the equivalent of pouring too much detergent in the washing machine. "Using too many dryer sheets can also leave an unwanted layer of residue on your dryer, which could affect performance long-term and your clothing," warns Johnson.
Don't worry, you can still get soft, fresh-smelling laundry. Here's the best alternative to dryer sheets.