How to make your washing machine last longer

July 29, 2015

Provide this hardworking appliance with a little regular maintenance, and it'll happily keep your clothes clean for decades.

How to make your washing machine last longer

Keep the top clean

  • When a laundry product spills on the top of your washer, wipe it up right away.
  • The finish on your machine is tough, but some surfaces, control knobs, and other plastic parts can be damaged by bleach, ammonia and solvents.
  • The same applies to the top of your dryer.

Fix scratches

  • An occasional scratch on your appliances is inevitable. But that doesn't mean it has to be permanent. Go to the appliance dealer, and pick up some appliance touch-up paint in a colour to match yours.
  • It comes in a small bottle with an applicator brush, just like nail polish. Use the applicator brush to dab on just enough paint to cover the blemish.
  • Follow the directions carefully. Fill a deep nick in layers, letting each dry before adding the next.
  • After your touch-up dries, smooth it with fine auto-finish rubbing compound.

Shut off the water

  • It's a good idea to get in the habit of turning off the water-supply spigots to your washer when not in use — especially if you are going away for more than a day.
  • You'll relieve pressure on the hoses and the inlet valves, prolonging their life. You'll also eliminate the possibility of a flood if one of the hoses should burst.

Prevent mineral buildup

  • Minerals in your water can collect in your washer's hoses, inlet valves, and pump, especially if you have hard water.
  • These minerals restrict water flow and increase friction, which can shorten the life of your washer.
  • To prevent the buildup, fill the basket with cold water and add 250 millilitres (one cup) of vinegar. Then put your washer through a complete cycle.
  • Do this every three months or so, more often if your water is hard and/or you use the washer more than the typical family of four.

Go easy on the dial

  • Never spin the timer dial on your washer while the machine is running.
  • This sends erratic electrical surges to the timer switches, and before long, you'll be replacing the timer, an expensive proposition.
  • To give the timer a long and happy life, turn the dial slowly and only clockwise, and only when the washer is off.

And go easy on detergent

  • Using extra laundry detergent definitely will not get your clothes cleaner. But it might make the repair guy richer.
  • Too much detergent will cause the wash water to spill over the washer tub ring and get into the drive motor.
  • This could cause the motor to burn out. In addition, the filler in the soap can push clothes over the top of the basket, where agitation will pull them down into the washer's outer tub.
  • From there, it's an easy trip to the water pump. If the repairman finds a sock in your pump, now you know how it got there.
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