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Washing machine

Maintenance tips for your
washing machine

A washing machine (a.k.a. washer, laundry machine) provides an efficient way to clean loads of laundry including clothing and home textiles.

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How does a washing machine work?

  • Washing Machine Maintenance Tips

    Washing Machine Maintenance Tips

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How to care for your washing machine

1. Inspect the hoses

Water hoses

Check your washing machine’s water hoses for signs of wear or weakness a few times monthly 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. Prevent flood damage

Floodstop

In the event that your washing machine’s fill hoses burst or water level switch malfunctions, you’ll have instant water damage in the room.

These two products can prevent this:

  • Water Shutoff System
    This water shutoff system prevents water damage by automatically shutting off the water flow when a malfunction is detected. Installation can be completed in five minutes. No special tools are needed.
  • Washing Machine Overflow Pan
    For smaller leaks and drips, this popular plastic pan fits beneath a washing machine and will protect a floor from water damage due to overflow and leakage. It has a fitting to accommodate drain line attachment.

3. Don’t overload it

Open washing machine

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

4. Keep it level

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 locknut. 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.

5. Use the appropriate amount of detergent

Washing machine detergent

Regardless of what’s recommended on detergent packaging, follow your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended amount of detergent.

6. Clean the inside once monthly

Washing machine inside

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.

7. Clean out the fabric softener dispenser

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.

8. Polish the outside

Appliance cleaner

Spilled detergent, stain remover and fabric softener dry to a sticky mess. This all-purpose cleaner and a rag will make cleaning easy.

9. Touch up gashes and scrapes with paint

Appliance touch-up paint

Prevent rusting by taking care of gashes and scrapes right away using touch-up paint.

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Washing machine frequently asked questions

With your model number, head to our repair help for washing machines.

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

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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