According to the White Goods Trade Association (WTA) the average lifespan of a washing machine today is under seven years. A lot depends, however, on the make, model, amount of use, and the cost – more expensive machines last longer.
You probably don’t think twice before you bung another load of dirty laundry into your hard-working automatic washing machine and turn it on. You expect to return in an hour or so and find all that washing spin-dried, clean and fragrant – ready to be hung up or tumble-dried.
That’s probably what will happen most of the time, but there will come the day when that machine will give up the ghost and you’ll find it hasn’t done the spin cycle or water has leaked out all over the floor – perhaps it won’t have begun the wash at all.
Nothing lasts forever, but of course we all want to get the longest life-span possible out of our household appliances, not just because they tend to break down at the most inconvenient times, but because they are expensive to repair or replace.
Another major factor in increasing the longevity – and the performance – of your washing machine is not to neglect it! Washing machines need TLC to serve you best for as long as possible.
Ten Tips for Cleaning and Caring for your Washing Machine:
- Most of us never get around to cleaning the “gunge” deposited by detergents and softeners out of the dispenser drawer. If you give it a good scrub regularly with hot water and an old tooth-brush (get into the corners!) you’ll avoid potential blockages and some unpleasant smells.
- If your machine has a filter (usually positioned behind a flap on the bottom front of the appliance) clean it out after every few loads of washing. It’s designed to catch fluff and bits and pieces you forget in pockets, so is inclined to get bunged up with things like coins and dog hair. Neglecting it will ultimately cause the machine not to empty properly, and the resultant blockage could also cause leaks.
- One of the first things to deteriorate on a washing machine over time is that rubber seal between the door and the drum. You can prolong the life of this vulnerable part by leaving the door open inbetween washes so that the door seal and drum dries out completely. You also need to keep it clean – especially in the folds of the rubber where bacteria and soap scum accumulates. Wiping with a soft cloth and white vinegar should do the trick.
- Once a month you can thoroughly clean your washing machine by pouring two cups of white vinegar into the empty drum and running it through the hottest wash cycle. This kills bacteria and removes limescale deposits. If you prefer there are commercial products available in the supermarkets designed to clean out washing machines.
- Wipe up spills and dribbles on the outside surface of your machine as soon as they happen. Detergents, softeners and stain treatments dry out leaving a sticky, hard residue that can be difficult to remove later and the enamel finish can be damaged or permanently stained with the spilt chemical agents.
- Make periodic checks on the rubber hose connecting your washing machine to the water supply. Hoses usually wear out long before the machine itself does, and even the smallest crack or fissure can result in a leak that can cause a huge mess. Check that the connections are sound, and that there are no perished or pinched areas in the hose preventing the water from flowing through freely. If you find the hose is damaged, replace it straight away. Replacement hoses are freely available from hardware stores – just make sure you get the right diameter (take the old one with you to match it up).
- Help your washing machine do its job to the best of its ability by ensuring it stands evenly on the floor so it doesn’t wobble and “dance” during the wash cycle. Such repeated vibration and shaking can loosen the motor components over time.
- Making sure you follow the instructions and advice in the manufacturer’s manual as far as the load weight, appropriate temperature selections for different fabrics and soil levels, and any recommendations for suitable detergents and fabric conditioners will help prolong the life of your washing machine, and validate any warranty that came with the machine if you ever need to act on it.
- Never overload your washing machine. Stuffing too much laundry in at once will negatively impact the machine’s performance and put a strain on its working parts. You could also end up with laundry that is not thoroughly washed clean, perhaps with undiluted splotches of detergent and softener caught up in the folds of the bundle. Pack the drum loosely so that the water has room to circulate properly.
- Always read the instructions on the detergent and fabric conditioner you select for your wash to ensure you use the correct dosage for the selected temperature, particularly if they are of the concentrated variety. Too much will result in residual soap being left on the laundry or as a residue in the washing machine, and too little will result in a less than sparkling clean wash. Make sure you only add fabric conditioner to the final rinse. Fabric conditioner and detergents aren’t a good mix – they can form a nasty sludge that builds up in the machine.
Take care of your washing machine and it will take care of you for many years! If you have any problems with your machine, give Capital Repairs a call – we’re here to help seven days a week.