Signs It's Time for Washing Machine Maintenance & How to Maintain Your Washer

Washing Machine Maintenance

The washing machine is an important appliance in any Central Indiana laundry room, along with the dryer. Homeowners need to complete washing machine maintenance regularly to keep the machine in top condition and prevent plumbing disasters such as busted hoses, drain clogs, and water leaks.

Mr. Plumber explains the ins and outs of machine maintenance for household washers as well as the signs that highlight a need for maintenance services. On a monthly basis, clean washing machines to remove detergent and fabric softener residue, extract lint particles, and eliminate mold and mildew inside the washer. This maintenance routine for laundry machines protects the appliance, your plumbing, and your clothing from wear and tear.

How to Tell When Washers Need Maintenance

When you regularly maintain your washing machine, you probably won’t notice the signs that indicate service needs, such as odors, poor cleaning efficiency, and other issues. Because problems can pop up at any point in time, know the trouble signs that share your appliance could benefit from maintenance:

  • Damage to fabric and clothing
  • Clothes aren’t fully cleaned after running a load of laundry
  • The washer has odors of mold or mildew
  • The machine makes strange noises during the wash cycle
  • The drum doesn’t completely fill with water
  • The drum doesn’t drain properly after loads are finished
  • Water leaks from the machine
  • Hoses bulge or show signs of damage

Monthly Maintenance Care for Washing Machines

All types of washing machines benefit from monthly machine maintenance care, whether they are new or old. Inspect the appliance and its components then perform cleaning to limit wear to your machine, reduce the likelihood of repairs and plumbing problems, and maintain efficient washing power.

Inspect and Service Hoses

Take a look at washers and you’ll see multiple hoses running into and out of these machines. There is a supply hose for hot water and one for cold, as well as a drain hose to remove water from the washing machine after a load is done. Supply hoses are composed of PVC, rubber, or stainless steel; a drain hose is made from corrugated plastic material.

Washing machine hoses usually last between three and five years. No matter what, you should replace hoses after five years or the risk of leaks greatly increases. Even if your hoses aren’t five years old, you should still inspect them each month for signs a leak could occur.

Search each hose for signs of damage such as:

  • Bulges
  • Kinks
  • Fraying
  • Cracked rubber

When you see indicators of damage on a hose or your hoses hit five years old, replace them to limit the likelihood of water leaks. Use the instructions below to add new hoses to your washing machine:

  1. Remove the washing machine plug from the laundry room wall socket. Shut off water supply from the hot and cold water valves.
  2. Remove each existing hose from the washing machine and the water valve. Use a bucket to drain out water left behind in the old hoses.
  3. Connect the new hoses. Link one hose from the marked cold water connection on the back of the machine and the cold water valve nearby. Connect the other to the fitting for hot water on the back of the machine and the nearby hot water valve.
  4. Reopen the water supply valves so water flows into the hoses. Check for a tight seal at the machine and water valve connections to each hose. Search along the exterior of hoses and their fittings for leaks.
  5. When finished, plug the washer back into its wall outlet.

Move the Washing Machine

If you overload a washer, the spin cycle can create heavy vibrations that could cause the washing machine to move several inches from its original spot in the room. It’s important to inspect the position of your washer and reposition it as needed to allow ample spaces for hoses, preventing the possibility of hose kinks.

Keep the washer set back at least four inches from walls and the dryer. Keeping the washer level can limit movement, so adjust the machine legs as needed. Rotate washer legs clockwise to lower them and counterclockwise to raise them.

Remove Lint from the Filter

Fabric particles and lint from clothes are suspended in water during laundry loads and drain out once the washing cycle is complete. A lint trap captures these fibers to prevent them from moving into plumbing drain lines where they can gather and form clogs.

Lint needs to be removed from the washer on a monthly basis to lower the risk of machine leaks and clogs. Follow these maintenance steps to clean the lint from your washing machine:

  1. Locate the lint filter at the top of the drum’s rim, in the agitator, or at the drain hose’s end and remove it.
  2. Soak the filter in warm water for 10 minutes or more.
  3. Clean the lint filter with a brush or cloth to remove particles.
  4. Rinse the filter with clean water.
  5. Reinsert the filter within your appliance.
  6. If your washer has a disposable lint trap, simply remove it and replace it with a new filter every month.

High efficiency front loading washing machines usually do not have a dedicated trap to collect lint. Instead, particles will gather at the self-cleaning pump. Inspect the pump and clean away fiber buildup as necessary.

Clean the Washing Machine

Keep the machine clean and smelling fresh when you follow the maintenance steps below. Doing loads of laundry leaves fabric softener and detergent residue behind within the machine, and damp conditions create the opportunity for mold and mildew formation inside your washer. These problems can produce bothersome odors and reduce the performance of your washing machine.

  1. Measure out two cups of baking soda and add them into the washer drum.
  2. Start a wash cycle on hot. Don’t add clothes to the washer load when you clean the machine.
  3. When it’s time for a second load, measure out two cups of white vinegar and add them to the washing machine.
  4. Let the washer run another load with hot water.
  5. Next, wipe the machine’s surfaces clean. Use vinegar and wipe down the detergent dispenser, drum, door, and exterior machine cabinet.
  6. Use baking soda and a sponge to wipe away stains on your washing machine equipment.
  7. If you have a front loading washer, use vinegar and a cloth to clean mold and dirt from the door gasket. If the gasket no longer makes a tight seal or has a great deal of mold buildup, replace the door gasket following the instructions found within the machine’s owner’s manual.
  8. Leave the door open on your washing machine and allow the appliance to air dry inside.

Washing Machine Maintenance Tips for Efficient Laundry Practices

A monthly maintenance routine isn’t the only thing you can do to care for your washing machine! Regularly use these washing machine maintenance tips to protect your machine as you run loads of laundry each day.

  • Take care with the size of your loads so you do not overload the washer. Sort loads into smaller groups by related articles of clothing or clothes of similar material and color.
  • Use the correct amount of detergent per the size of the load. Using too much liquid detergent adds more residue buildup to the machine. Check detergent dispensers to make sure they dispense the proper amount of detergent depending on load size.
  • Use the right detergent for your style of washing machine. A high efficiency washer cannot use the same types of detergent as a conventional machine as they produce too many suds.
  • Don’t leave damp laundry in the washer after a completed load. Quickly move items into the dryer and start a drying cycle. It’s important to remove damp items so the machine doesn’t gain moisture that contributes to mold growth.
  • After moving laundry to the dryer, leave the door open so your washing machine can air dry. When you leave the door open, air flows through the drum and washer to minimize mold.

Plumbing Services in Central Indiana

These washing machine maintenance tips help you best care for your washing machine appliance, extending its performance and service life while keeping your plumbing lines free and clear of debris. When you need professional plumbing services in your Central Indiana home, call the licensed plumbers of Mr. Plumber now.

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