Separate clothes into whites and colors, in addition to any other special classifications such as delicates for the washing and drying process. Try not to wash or dry too small of a load at one time, as it will waste water and power.
Place the clothes to be washed or dried into the respective machine without overloading it, leaving at least several inches between the clothes and the top of the machine.
Check the buttons and instructions on the washing machine and dryer to see which settings work best for the type of clothes being washed. Most machines have special options for certain types of fabrics and the life of clothes can be extended by washing and drying them correctly.
Just throwing stuff in the machine and turning it on a random cycle can result in shrunken or otherwise ruined clothes.
Add detergent to the washing machine according to the label on the detergent box or bottle to see how much is recommended for each load. If you are only washing a few items, use less, as a little can go a long way.
Clean the washing machine to keep it from developing odors and otherwise getting grimy. If the washer has a drawer for laundry detergent and soap, wipe it out with a damp cloth and gently scrape away any accumulated gunk or scum.
Consider purchasing a commercially produced washing machine cleaning product and running it through the machine on a hot water wash cycle on empty. A splash of vinegar can also be tossed in the machine before running it, sans clothes, which will help remove odors and any buildup.
Also clean the machine's filter regularly to keep it from getting clogged and wipe off the exterior of the machine with a wet cloth and mild cleanser, if needed.
Clean the dryer by emptying the lint trap and removing bits of fuzz, fluff and anything else that may have collected. If the trap is particularly dirty, wash it in the sink and allow it to dry thoroughly before replacing it in the machine.
Wipe down the exterior of the dryer, if needed, with a wet cloth and a gentle cleaning solution.