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Basic washer and dryer care

Follow these quick-care tips and your washer and dryer will last longer

To keep your washer and dryer looking and acting new, here are a few quick checkups to try. As always, appearance matters and the outside of appliances will look great with a quick onceover every few days. Dust collects on the back sides above the dials and dirt can collect in the crevices around the lids.

Wipe down the exterior with any household cleaner. Use a toothbrush to get into the smaller areas around hinges, lids, and doors. The water softener reservoir, if built into the agitator, is attached by a friction ring. Lift the ring and remove from the agitator for a deeper cleaning.

Wipe down the inside of the washer and dryer tubs on a regular basis. Washing machines can absorb stains from new clothing - especially brighter colors and blacks. If you have pets, wipe around the inside of the dryer and the door panel to remove animal hairs after cleaning their bedding.

Make sure the appliances are level. Do not trust self-leveling legs; use a level and make the adjustments yourself. An out-of-level washer or dryer will cause the inside parts to work harder and they will wear out sooner.

On the washer, check the hose attachments. Once a hose pops loose, water damage can be extensive. A quick visual and replacement of parts, if necessary can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

The dryer tube that leads to the outside vent can become a fire hazard if not detached and cleaned at least twice a year. A clean tube is also more energy efficient. Pull the dryer away from the wall to perform this task. Dryers are not typically very heavy and you should be able to scoot it forward without assistance. Remove the clamps around the hose and clean it out. Inspect the outside vent at the same time.

After every drying cycle - and more often if you are washing towels or fluffy objects - clean the lint trap. You should be able to remove it and rinse it off if necessary.

Washers and dryers are easy to maintain; they will certainly last longer and look better if you take a few minutes once a week to give them a onceover.



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