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Angie's List: Washer and Dryer Maintenance

You could be harming your washer and dryer and not even know it. Everything from an unbalanced load of laundry to dirty lent traps can cause problems.
Industry experts say washing machines tend to break down the most because they take the most beatings and contain many moving parts.

Angie’s List, the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews, asked highly rated appliance repair companies about how we can take better care of our washer and dryers.

Washing machine mistakes:
Overloading a washing machine with too many clothes can cause it to prematurely wear out. Heavy or off-balance loads can damage a washing machine.
Not having the water level at the proper setting for the amount of clothes being washed is hard on a washer’s motorized components. Your clothes also won’t get cleaned well if there’s not enough water.
Using the wrong amount (or type) of laundry detergent. Homeowners tend to use too much detergent. Use the recommended amount. Experts say if you have a front loader you should use high efficiency (HE) laundry detergent. Using non-HE detergent can cause suds to leave a residue inside your machine.
Not checking your hoses for cracks/corrosion and replacing as necessary. Rubber hoses can rot and burst. Replace rubber hoses with steel ones.
Not cleaning the drum/dispensers/gaskets regularly. Tackling this chore monthly will help reduce buildup. After cleaning, leave the door open to dry the inside of the washer. There are products on the market designed for cleaning your machine.
Forgetting to empty out those pockets before you run a load. Items left behind can damage the machine’s pump.

Clothes dryer mistakes:
Ignoring the lint screen after every load. Cleaning it will help reduce lint buildup in the vent. Ignoring a slow-dyer could be a recipe for disaster.
If you use dryer sheets you should rinse the filter to prevent residue buildup.
If your dryer takes longer than an hour to dry a standard-sized load, a vent cleaning could rectify the issue. Most dryer vent cleanings cost less than $100 and can make your dryer run as good as new.

When in doubt, refer to your washer and dryer owner’s manual on the best ways to maintain your appliances.
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