Maintaining Your Washer and Dryer for Optimum Performance

Lucy Schaeffer/Demand Media

A washer and dryer bring loads of convenience for your household. Keeping these hard-working appliances in pristine condition will help eliminate the need for repairs and allow for optimum performance. With timely, necessary maintenance, you can prolong the life of your appliances and reduce the surprise and hassle of potentially costly repairs.

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Level the Washer

If your washer shakes, rattles and rolls during the spin cycle, it’s probably a little off balance. Avoid the wear and tear on your machine by using a level to make sure the appliance is positioned appropriately. Pull the washer from the wall and use pliers or a wrench to adjust each foot on the base of the machine so that they are lined up and level. After you have adjusted the feet of the washer, run a test load to make sure the machine does not walk or shake.

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Replace Hoses

Over time, the wear and tear on your washer’s rubber hoses translates to brittle and torn tubes. Avoid potential floods by checking hoses for cracks, stiffness or kinks at least once a year. If needed, replace the hoses with mesh-wrapped ends or stainless-steel-clad hoses for optimum performance. Make sure, too, that your machine is at least 4 inches from the wall to avoid potential kinks in the hoses.

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Clean Vents Regularly

When your clothes still feel damp after the dryer has cycled, clean the interior vent after each load to eliminate lint buildup and blockage. Disconnect the exhaust pipe from the back of the dryer and run a vent brush or vacuum hose through the pipe to remove excess hair, crumbs and lint every six months, too. Check the outdoor connection to the vent as well to remove any build up or obstructions like pest nests.

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Remove Build-Up

When odors in your washer leave your clothes smelling not-so-fresh, it’s likely bacteria build-up is the culprit. Remove bacteria by drying the rubber gasket and washer drum after each load. Leave the lid or door open to help air dry and clear odors. If the smell persists, run an empty load with bleach and water to disinfect your machine.

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Secure Dryer Parts

For optimal dryer performance, properly secure the hoses, vents, nozzles and joints. When you're laying a path to the outside vent, make sure the hose is secure but leave some slack to avoid strain that leads to friction or tearing. Always cut off excess hose to ensure the heat path is efficient. Secure nozzles, joints and hoses with heat-rated foil tape, too, to preserve the heat flowing to and from your dryer.

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Preserve Detergent

Go light on detergent to safely maintain your washer. Too much detergent can leave a residue that your washer cannot always remove during each cycle, ultimately causing build-up that reduces both the efficiency of your machine and the cleanliness of your loads. Check the recommended use on your detergent label and if your clothes have soap residue, reduce the amount of liquid or powder detergent used in each load.

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Avoid Overloading

Avoid overloading your washer and dryer to prolong their useful lives. When your major appliances are overloaded, they can malfunction, spin off balance and dislodge hoses or vents, causing inadequate drainage or dryer distress. Too many clothes can also cause your washer to shake and walk and decrease the airflow to and from your dryer.

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