How to Maintain a Washing Machine

No machine operates forever without maintenance, and your washing machine is no different.

However, it may seem strange to think that you actually need to wash your washing machine. Following are some steps to help you maintain your washing machine so it will continue to work for you for years to come.

Inspect the hoses and fittings. Make sure the hoses aren't cracked or blistered, the fittings aren't becoming corroded and no water is dripping. It's a good idea to replace the hoses and fittings as part of regular washing machine maintenance every 3 years or so, even if you don't see any problems.

Level the machine. Use a carpenter's level and adjust the machine's feet until the bubble indicates the machine is level. A washing machine that bangs around with every load needs to be leveled before it breaks down.

Keep the exterior of your washing machine clean. Soaps and bleaches usually won't damage the exterior of the machine, but stain removers and other chemicals you might store on top of the machine might.

Clean the tub. This should be done every three months. Set the washing machine on hot, and if there's a setting for extra dirty clothes, choose that. Let the tub fill with water, then add 3 cups of white distilled vinegar and a 1/2 cup of baking soda. When the tub begins to drain, advance the cycle to spin. After the cycle ends, set the washing machine to cold and run another cycle.

Flush your washing machine dispensers. If you can remove them, do so and soak them in hot water. While they're soaking, clean out the gunk that collects around them and between the top of the machine and the tub. If you can't remove the dispensers, pour hot water through them until they're clean for good maintenance.

Use less detergent and fabric softener. Your clothes will get just as clean with half the recommended amount. Dilute your fabric softener with water or try using white distilled vinegar instead. Generally, liquid detergent is better than powder.

Get a service call as part of your routine washing machine maintenance. The life of your machine may be extended if you have a service person remove the front cover and clean the inside of the washing machine. You can also do the job yourself if the machine is a top loader and you unplug it first. Never try to remove the front panel of a front-loading machine.

Things You Will Need

  • Carpenter's level
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Baking soda

Tip

  • You won't be able to clean an empty front-loading washing machine because it will refuse to fill. Place a couple of old, clean bath towels inside, add the vinegar and baking soda, and then turn the machine on.

Warnings

  • Never mix bleach with vinegar, lemon juice or ammonia because the mixture gives off highly toxic fumes.
  • A blistered hose is about to burst, so replace it right away.