Everything needs a little bit of love and care -- even your appliances. For the most part, modern washing machines take care of themselves. But with a few simple tips and a minimal time investment, you can help keep your washing machine performing optimally and potentially even extend its lifespan.
Follow the simple advice below to avoid odd odors, prevent damage to your washing machine, and save electricity with every cycle.
Prevent and Remove Washing Machine Odors
A little bit of maintenance goes a long way. If you find your washing machine is getting a bit stinky, it’s easy enough to fix.
All you need to do is run the washing machine empty. Ideally, you want to do this with a hot wash cycle. You can even throw in a bit of laundry detergent to help get things nice an clean.
In most cases, this is enough to get your washing machine smelling fresh again. To prevent odors in the first place, it’s a good idea to perform an empty load maybe once a month as a general maintenance task.
However, if you find your washing machine regularly smelling funky, you might be doing something wrong in the first place! If you’re using the machine frequently, it shouldn’t be building up any odors. While a washing machine that has been unused for an extended period might develop a funk, a washing machine in frequent use shouldn’t have much of an opportunity to pick up any smell.
That is, of course, assuming you’re using it properly. The main thing here is to never allow your clothes to sit in the washer for too long.
You want to remove a completed load from the washing machine almost immediately. If you let it sit in there, it will quickly develop a musty odor as the wet clothes provide an ideal home for foul smelling bacteria.
Not only will this make your washing machine smell bad, it can also force you to rewash the clothes as they will pick up this undesirable odor as well.
Prevent Wear and Damage To Your Washing Machine
If you put too much stress on your washing machine, it will shorten its lifespan dramatically. Here are three simple tips to help ensure your washing machine has been properly installed and you’re using it correctly:
- Keep it level: Your washing machine should be installed on a level surface and should be kept level. If you hear a lot of banging or notice your washing machine moves around between cycles, it likely means that it is not level. This adds a ton of strain to your machine and can cause it to break down if the situation is bad enough.
- Never overload: Your washing machine has a weight limit. If you overload the machine’s drum, it can be thrown off balance or even broken completely. Not only can this stress and damage your machine, it also prevents your clothes from getting cleaned properly. When loading your washing machine, try inserting your hand to see if your palm fits between the clothing and the lid. If it doesn’t, you’ve overloaded and should remove some items.
- Never use harsh chemicals: If you need to clean your washing machine or tackle a particularly difficult load, never use anything but warm soapy water or laundry detergent from a reputable brand. Harsh chemicals can damage the interior of the washing machine’s drum and lead to serious damage to paints and plastics inside your machine.
Save Energy and Reduce Wear
Using the proper type of cycle and temperature for every load helps you save energy, get your clothes cleaner, and reduce the overall wear on your washing machine.
Selecting the wrong cycle can waste energy and make your machine work harder than it needs to. It can even damage your delicate clothes.
Similarly, using the wrong temperature can be damaging and downright wasteful. As much as 80% of the energy used when washing clothes is consumed by heating the water. Only use Warm and Hot cycles if absolutely necessary. All that heat can damage your fabrics and add unnecessary stress to your washing machine -- not to mention your electric bill!
Does baking soda damage washing machines?
No. It is okay to use baking soda in a washing machine. However, it should not be placed in the automatic detergent dispenser, as it can cause the detergent to clump up and clog. Instead, place the baking soda directly into the washing machine drum.
How often should you get your washing machine serviced?
With a bit of care, you may never need to have your washing machine professionally serviced. Just give it a wash once or a month or so by allowing it to run an empty cycle on hot. You can add some detergent to help. Be sure to keep it on a level floor and don’t allow it to bang around. These simple steps may be enough to keep your washing machine in running order for the life of the machine. However, if something starts to go awry, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.
Should I keep my Washing Machine door open?
It’s not a bad idea to leave your washing machine door open for awhile after finishing a load of laundry. This allows it to dry out more completely and reduces the risk of any type of mold or mildew. However, leaving the door open all the time can invite dust and critters to contaminate your drum, so it’s best to strike a balance between the two. Leave the door open for three to five hours after finishing a load, then close it back up again.