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Official Guide to Maintaining Your Laundry Room

Official Guide to Maintaining Your Laundry Room

If you want your appliances to work like new for a long time, you have to take care of them regularly. Your laundry room is not exempt. Follow this guide to keep your laundry room and its appliances in tip-top shape so you can enjoy your appliances for years to come.

Maintain Your Washing Machine

Make sure you perform regular maintenance on your washer to keep it looking good and working well.

Regular maintenance of your washing machine works to prolong its life. Keep up with its maintenance by cleaning it and making any necessary repairs on a regular basis.

  • Clean the exterior. Start by cleaning the outside of the washing machine by pulling it out and wiping down its sides. Vacuum behind it to keep the area clean and be careful to not damage any connections or hoses in the process. Also, it's easy to stain your washing machine with detergent or scratch it with tools. Thus, it's important to protect your machine's surface. Protect the finish of your washing machine by placing a towel, tarp or other barrier over the top of your machine when using it as a work surface. Also, use paint to fill any scratches or nicks to your washing machine's exterior to prevent it from rusting. You can also use a glass cleaner to add shine to the exterior of your washing machine.

  • Clean the interior. Use a cloth to wipe the rubber seal. Use the hot-water cycle and turn on the machine without a load to clean the machine. After the cycle finishes, leave the washing machine open for a few minutes to let the inside of the machine dry and to prevent any mold. This step is especially important for high energy or HE washing machines, which are more prone to mildew and mold buildup. Alternatively, you can also clean the drum of the washing machine with a commercial clean or bleach. Vinegar is also another alternative cleansing product you can use. However, review the manufacturer's recommendations before using alternative cleaners. Vinegar can wear down the rubber components of some washing machines. Additionally, never mix bleach with commercial cleaners or vinegar. Select one cleanser only. Also, remove damp clothes right away after every load. This helps to prevent mildew and mold from building up in your washing machine. It also helps to keep your clothes smelling fresh. Consider cleaning the interior of your washing machine at least once a month to keep it clean.

  • Load correctly and check the level. It's important to make sure the water level in your washing machine matches the load. If you have too little water, your machine can start shaking, which can wear out the tub bearings and shock absorbers faster, and even get damaged if it repeatedly hits the wall. Make sure you're using the right amount of water for each load based on the manufacturer's recommendations. Your machine can also start shaking if it isn't leveled correctly on the floor. Check the level of the washing machine with a level tool and make any necessary adjustments to the machine's feet. You also can use a piece of plywood that is larger than the machine base that is at least three-quarters of an inch thick if you can't get the machine level correct. Place it underneath the machine to absorb the vibrations.

  • Use the right detergent. The detergent you use can also impact how well your washing machine performs. It can break down the textiles of your clothes and change how clean they can get. Always check the recommendations provided by the manufacturer to ensure you're using the right type of washing detergent and the correct amount.

  • Get rid of old hoses. Before you touch your washer's hose, make sure the power cord is plugged out of the electrical socket and that the water valves are turned off. You don't want any unnecessary flooding or electrical hazards to happen as you're making any changes. It's also a good idea to have a tarp or towel on the ground in case any water leaks. Additionally, you'll need a pair of adjustable pliers with grooved joints to remove the drain hose. Check the hose to make sure it fits properly. Remove the drain hose but pay attention to its structure. You also want to replace it right away if it cracks, bulges, leaks, or if it gets damaged. If it's damaged, it can cause flooding in your laundry room. Make sure to use the same type of drain hose when replacing the old one. You can also extend the life of your washing machine and minimize the risk of your hose bursting by replacing rubber hoses with washing machine hoses made with braided-metal. Also, check your hose every month but replace it every five years.

Clean Your Dryer

Keep your dryer looking and working great by performing regular maintenance.

Just like your washing machine needs to be cleaned, your dryer needs to be maintained as well. Here are some best practices for keeping your dryer clean:

  • Clean the lint trap, drum and filter. Clean your dryer's filter every time you use it by removing lint. Also, test that your filter screen is free of lint by pouring a small amount of water on it to see if the water goes through the filter instead of pooling. If the water starts to pool in the filter screen, that means that lint is still there. Wash your dryer's lint filter every three months to maintain proper airflow. If you're frequently cleaning pet beds and clothes or very dirty children's play clothes, then you'll need to clean your dryer drum more often. Sometimes your washing machine doesn't catch stray hairs from pets, and these hairs can easily stick to clothing and accessories when wet or damp. Try shaking these hair-filled, gritty items before putting them in the dryer. Use a damp cloth or wipe to remove any hairs after your load finishes drying. Also, use soap and water to clean the lint trap and remove any fabric softener residue.

  • Check the vents. After several loads of drying clothes, your dryer's ducts and vents will be filled with lint. Lint buildup that is flammable can lead to fires, so it's important to inspect vents and ducts for this. Moreover, the frequent use of fabric softener sheets in your dryer can lead to a buildup of residue over time. This can affect how well your dryer operates by reducing air circulation and clogging lint filter screen. Poor air circulation means your clothes won't dry properly, which means you can end up with damp clothes and higher electric bills if you're not paying attention to the issue. Also, poor air circulation is a fire hazard. Thus, it's vital to inspect your dryer vents thoroughly. Depending on the size of your dryer, check its vents at least once per year. If you have a large dryer or dry clothes frequently, consider checking the dryer vents more often, such as three to four times per year. You also want to make sure that you remove any lint with an air compressor or flexible brush.

  • Don't forget the exterior. The outside of your dryer is important to maintain as well. So, make sure you clean the sides, front, and top of your dryer by wiping it down with a cloth that's damp. Use an all-purpose cleaner to dampen the cloth. Alternatively, you can dab a few drops of dishwashing liquid on the cloth to dampen it. Make sure you clean all areas surrounding your dryer, including the back of the dryer. Before you start cleaning behind the dryer, make sure you can to maneuver around it easily. If your dryer doesn't come with casters or wheels, you can get them from your local hardware store and attach them. Also, disconnect the dryer hose if it appears too short to clean around. Vacuum the back of the dryer while using the low setting of the vacuum and the brush attachment.

Stay Organized

Keep your laundry room organized by adding shelves and using containers.

Now that you've taken care of the essential tools, it's time to tackle the environment of your laundry room with a little organization. It's easy to make a mess with loads of laundry and cleaning products that you use weekly, but you can avoid this by keeping your laundry room organized.

  • Install shelving. Add shelves above your washing machine or dryer to store your cleanings supplies, such as washing detergent and dryer bags. Place the shelving where you can conveniently reach it. If this isn't an option, consider getting a stepping stool or mini-ladder to reach the shelves easily.

  • Use containers. Use containers to hold small items, such as coins or safety pins, you find in pockets. They're also great for storing any unused clothespins for line drying. Larger baskets can be used to hold hangers that aren't in use. You can also sort your laundry with the help of bins and hampers. Also, keep a trash bin around to throw away lint from the dryer, tags or other items that could clutter your laundry room floor.

  • Leverage vertical space for drying clothes. Don't let the size of your laundry room stop you from air drying your clothes. Take advantage of the vertical space in your laundry room and use a freestanding drying rack or a retractable clothesline to hang delicate clothing that can't be machine-dried.

  • Declutter. Get rid of the items you no longer need, such as torn dryer bags, broken caps, or empty washing detergent bottles or bags. You don't want any hazards or potential accidents waiting to happen, especially if you have children or pets who can easily consume these items.

  • Use hooks and wipes. Hooks are useful for holding your ironing board on the wall when you're not using it. You can also use hooks for holding a drying line in case you need to air dry laundry that is too delicate for the dryer. Have cleaning wipes, paper towels and cleaning cloths on hand to clean your appliances and other items. You can use wipes to get rid of any mineral deposits on your iron.

To prevent long-term damage to your appliances, you need to maintain them regularly. Learn more tips for keeping your appliances in great shape by visiting the Appliances Connection Learning Center.


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