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Your washing machine is the primary way you keep the process of doing the laundry at home convenient and efficient. Unfortunately, if your washing machine breaks down, dirty laundry piles up and you’re faced with a large repair bill.

The good news is there are things you can do to keep your washer up and running, and increase the likelihood it will last a long time.

washing machineMost people understand the basics of washing machine maintenance: keep an eye on washing machine hoses to make sure there are no cracks or blistering, keep an overflow pan beneath the washing machine in case of flooding, avoid overloading it during washing, and use as little detergent as possible. It’s also important to clean your machine about once a month and make sure gooey, liquid fabric softener doesn’t build up in the dispenser.

There are also a number of questions related to washing machine maintenance that come up often for homeowners. What are some of the things you need to know to make sure your washer lasts as long as possible?

Should the machine be level?

One of the most important things you can do with your washer to ensure it works efficiently and doesn’t malfunction is to keep it on level ground. This might mean moving it to a different space, but it’s worth it to ensure proper operation.

Will a front load washer work better?

Front load washing machines are more efficient than top loading machines. Initially they are more expensive, but the investment pays off over time (usually just a few years) because you save water, drying time, and detergent usage.

Why isn’t the warm water really warm?

In most cases, the warm water setting doesn’t get warm enough because the hot water mixing with the cold to create warm isn’t hot enough. Water that is extremely cold can also warm down the hot water too much as it enters the machine.

There are more recent washers with temperature sensors that help alleviate these problems, but in some cases, it’s the water inlet valve’s restrictions creating an issue. You might also have sediment build up on the screen.

How do I know what “overloading” is for my washer?

In most cases for a top loading washing machine, you want the clothes to be loose against the agitator. Any time they are packed in it’s too much. In front loading washer, you can load until it’s full, but make sure there isn’t too much packing or compression.

How do I know I’ve used too much detergent?

One of the primary indicators you’re overdoing it on detergent is the remainder of soap suds at the end of a cycle. The best way to get the right detergent amount is to cut whatever you are using right now in half. If clothes aren’t clean with this amount, gradually increase what you’re using a little at a time until you get clean clothes.

Do I really need to follow the washing suggestions provided by clothing manufacturers?

Yes! Whether it’s water temperature, cycle suggestions, or turning clothing inside out before washing, make sure you are reading labels and following the instructions provided. Turning clothing inside out reduces pilling and extends the life of some fabrics. It can also protect decals, embroidery, and other embellishments on clothing.

If you’d like to know more about increasing the life span or improving the performance of your washing machine, or you need help with repairs, give us a call!