Tips to Make Your Washer and Dryer Last Longer

Topics: specialty risk

Summary: Taking proper care of a washing machine and dryer can keep them working effectively and even extend the lives of these appliances. In this article, we’ll share washer and dryer maintenance tips to ensure these big-ticket items last as long as possible.

Washer and Dryer Maintenance Tips

The amount of laundry a typical family does each week can vary widely. A lighter week might lean towards five to seven loads, while families with young children or kids in sports might do more than double that. Regardless of how many loads are being washed and dried every week, one thing is certain: consumers want their washing machine and dryer to be reliable and last a long, long time.

How to Maintain Your Washer and Dryer

It’s important to prioritize the necessary care a washing machine and dryer need to continue working dependably and efficiently. According to a survey conducted by Consumer Reports, most people expect their washer and dryer to last an average of 10 years. However, the survey also found that 30% of brand new washing machines tend to require repair within the first five years of ownership, and 20% of new dryers will develop problems or break within that same timeframe.

washer dryer maintenance tips

What can consumers do to ensure their big-ticket items like washers and dryers last as long as possible? Here are a few ways to maintain these appliances.

How to Take Care of a Washing Machine

  • Clean it regularly. It might sound odd to clean a machine that’s sole purpose is to clean clothes, but giving the washing machine a thorough cleaning after every 30 loads can help remove any residual soap scum or other buildup. Regular cleaning will ensure the washing machine keeps working efficiently. Don’t forget to clean the dispensers for detergent and fabric softener, too.
  • Open the door when not in use. Keeping the door to the washer closed can allow moisture to build up and ultimately lead to mildew and mold forming inside the machine. It’s best to keep the door at least slightly ajar in between cycles.
  • Check for clogs and cracks in hoses. Hoses should be inspected at least once a year to ensure the water flows smoothly through them. Make sure all hoses are securely connected and free of cracks, debris and leaks.
  • Remove wet items immediately. Leaving a damp load of laundry sitting in the washer for hours on end is a sure way to grow mildew and mold in the machine. When the machine is done cycling, empty the wet items as soon as possible.
  • Watch the detergent usage. It is not recommended to use an abundance of detergent, thinking it will get a dirty load of clothes that much cleaner. In fact, using too much detergent can leave behind a soapy residue on clothing and in the washer. Additionally, it makes the rinse cycle longer, leading to a less efficient washing machine.
  • Check pockets. Make sure to remove all items from pockets before tossing a load of clothing into the washing machine. Metal or sharp objects like coins, keys, hairpins, etc., can damage the tub or get stuck in the filter on a front-loading machine.

How to Take Care of a Dryer

Many of the tips above also apply to dryers, such as regular cleaning, leaving doors ajar and checking the hoses. In addition to these, here are a few more tips to help extend the life of a dryer:
  • Clean the exhaust vent. Keeping the exhaust vent clean is not only important to help maintain the dryer, but it can also turn into a fire hazard when left unattended. Pull the dryer away from the wall and use a vacuum attachment to periodically remove dust, debris and lint inside the vent.
  • Use metal components. Some dryer installations utilize materials like vinyl for the ducts, which can also get clogged easily and start a fire. Opt for metal parts instead.
  • Remove lint from the lint trap every load. If the lint trap becomes blocked, the air cannot flow freely through the dryer and lead to additional wear and tear. It’s important to clean the lint filter after every drying cycle.
  • Clean the lint trap regularly. Along with removing the lint from the lint trap, make it a point to rinse off the trap at least once a month. Scrub it with warm water and soap, rinse well, and let it air dry before replacing it in the dryer.
  • Limit dryer sheet usage. Like using too much detergent in the washing machine, using too many dryer sheets can leave behind residue on both the clothing and the dryer. Instead of constantly using dryer sheets, swap them out for wool dryer balls or add some baking soda to the load of clothing, towels or bedding in the washing machine.
  • Avoid drying plastic or rubber items. The dryer can get very hot inside while it’s tumbling things dry, which means items made of plastic or rubber can melt and cause damage. Instead, let those types of items air dry in a well-ventilated area.

Should You Consider an Extended Warranty for Your Washer and Dryer?

When purchasing a new washer and dryer, consumers may be offered a product warranty directly from the manufacturer or the retail operation at the point of sale. These extended warranties often go beyond the manufacturer’s standard warranties, providing more coverage to help keep any unexpected repair costs low.

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Additionally, consumers can consider purchasing a home warranty for extra coverage on appliances like washing machines and dryers. A home warranty provides homeowners with coverage for many major systems within the house, such as the appliances (including the washer and dryer, and items like the dishwasher, oven, refrigerator, etc.), HVAC, plumbing, electrical and more. Home warranties provide homeowners with the peace of mind that should they be faced with a big-ticket repair expense, the warranty coverage would kick in after a deductible or service fee is paid.

Extended Warranty Programs from AmTrust Specialty Risk

AmTrust Specialty Risk is a leading global provider of service contracts and insurance for third-party administrators, manufacturers, financial institutions, retailers and distributors. Our programs are tailored to your customers’ interests and strategic goals. From consumer product warranties to protect customers’ investments on items like appliances to home warranty coverage that provide homeowners peace of mind, we are your trusted partner for extended warranties.

Learn more about being a partner with Specialty Risk today.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

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