Fact: The life span of a typical washer & dryer is about 10 years. If properly serviced & maintained your might get 15 years out of each of them. However, mistreatment can easily shorten the life of these appliances, as well as cause safety hazards and efficiency issues. Are unintentionally practicing any of these bad laundry habits?
- You don’t empty your pockets
Metal objects such as coins, keys, and screws can damage the inner drum and outer tub of your washing machine. Gum, tissues, and cash can clog your washer drain. Any of these items that make it inside your dryer are going to cause damage to the inner workings there, too.
- You put lingerie in the washer & dryer
For one, the agitation of your washing machine and the high heat of your dryer will damage delicate lingerie. Errant underwires and hooks can cause damage to the inside of the washing machine and dryer, as well as catching on other items, causing snags and tears. Always wash lingerie by hand or opt for a mesh bag to avoid any damage.
- You use too much detergent
More is better, right? No, actually, it’s not. Using too much soap leads to more suds, which could cause your washer to overflow. Have a high-efficiency washer? They require even less soap to wash clothing properly. Be sure to follow recommended guidelines and only use laundry detergent marked safe for high-efficiency washers.
- You cram the washing machine too full
Yes, it’s tempting to get all of the linens done in one load. However, overloading the washer will only backfire. Clothes don’t get thoroughly cleaned, because the detergent can’t circulate when the machine is packed too tight, nor are clothes thoroughly rinses, leaving detergent residue behind. A stuffed washing machine has to work harder, causing unneccsary wear on on the machines mechanisms, such as the agitator.
- You leave wet clothes in the washing machine
Not only will mold lead to a stinky washing machine, but a mold problem inside your washing machine isn’t going to produce clean clothes, causing you to replace your machine sooner than necessary. To avoid mold, take your clean clothes out as soon as the wash cycle has finished. If you have a front-load washing machine, always leave the door open between loads, to let it air dry.
- You’re overloading your dryer
As with the washing machine, a packed dryer isn’t going to dry efficiently. With more items that capacity allows for, there is less hot air circulated and the dryer has to work harder to tumble the clothes. Excess wear and tear on your machine will cause it shorten out sooner than it should.
- You’re overusing dryer sheets
Dryer sheets might make your clothing soft, static-free, and smell fresh, but they have a waxy layer that melts in the dryer; using too many can gum up the appliance. If you regularly use dryer sheets, you need to be cleaning the lint every month or so. Not just cleaning the lint off it, but actually removing the lint trap and soaking it in sudsy water to remove residue and allow it to efficiently trap lint.
- You’re mixing items
Never to dry towels with t-shirts. Really? Yup! Your dryer works most efficiently when it’s drying items of similar weight; mixing items of significantly different weight — such as towels and t-shirts — can throw off the balance of the machine.
- Drying stuff you shouldn’t be drying
If you’re planning on drying anything besides clothing, bedding, and towels, check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if you’re actually going to be harming your dryer in doing so. For example, some dryers are not meant to dry rubber, so if you’ve washed your bathroom rug (with a rubber back), don’t dry it in the dryer unless you have first consulted your owner’s manual and confirmed it’s acceptable to put in the dryer.
- Not cleaning the dryer lint trap
An already full lint trap leaves more lint circulating with your clothes, reduces air flow, causing loads to take longer to dry, and making your dryer work longer and harder than is necessary. More importantly, lint is a combustible that can cause the dryer to overheat and possibly catch fire.
- Not following the instructions
Should you be cleaning your washing machine? Maybe? Probably? It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the manufacturer’s instructions for maintaining the machine. You may discover yo do need to clean your washing machine and yours might just have a self-clean cycle.
- You Run the washer & dryer more often than you need to
The life expectancy of your washer and dryer are determined by how hard and how often your run them. Follow these tips will keep your washer and dryer working efficiently, and not being overworked. You can also extend the life of your machine by monitoring how often you run both the washer and dryer. Always run only full loads and if you can, try to stick to 8 loads of laundry a week, or less.