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10 bad habits that can ruin your appliances

Dryer filter that needs to be cleaned

Every appliance in your home experiences wear and tear, but you can cut short their lifespans with everyday bad habits, like leaving change in your pockets before washing your clothes and overfilling your freezer.

Asurion Experts have experience with all major appliances, so they know how to do everything from fix a washing machine that won't start to unclog a dishwasher that won't drain. We asked them what bad habits are ruining your appliances—and how to add years back to your most important household gadgets. Here's what they recommend.

Clean your oven often

Whether it's a lasagna bubbling over or a fallen partially baked cookie, oven spills can do more than simply create a mess. Food debris, grease, and grime can create a fire risk, and fallen bits of food can generate smoke and fumes if they burn while the oven is on. Regularly cleaning spills will keep your oven running efficiently and safely.

Check out our guide to learn how to properly clean your oven.

Don't overfill your freezer

You may have heard that a near-empty freezer has to work harder to stay cold, so filling up the space keeps the temperature (and cost) down. And that's true. But when you cram too much into the freezer, you run the risk of blocking air vents, restricting airflow, and overburdening the condenser. The result? The machine could burn out faster than usual.

Don't overfill the soap in your dishwasher

Adding extra detergent to the dishwasher when you have an especially dirty load may seem like a good idea, but it's not. Too much detergent can leave behind spots and an unpleasant film on your dishes. Stick to the recommended amount, and for a very light load, use a bit less.

If you’re not getting the level of cleanliness you’re looking for, read our article on why your dishwasher might not be cleaning dishes.

Use cold water in your garbage disposal

Your garbage disposal does its job by chopping up food waste into minuscule pieces so they can go down the drain smoothly. Running hot water into the unit causes fats and grease to melt and become sticky, leading to clogged pipes. So always use cool water.

Empty your pockets before washing your clothes

Before putting clothes in the wash, remove any coins, keys, paper, tissues, cash, and gum, all of which can clog the washer drain and harm parts of your dryer. Loose coins, for example, can damage the drum and get caught in tiny crevices.

Don't use too much laundry detergent

Pouring extra detergent into the washer won't make your stained clothes any cleaner. Using too much soap not only prevents thorough cleaning, but it can cause your washing machine to overflow. So follow the instructions on the bottle. If you have a high-efficiency washer, use even less soap.

Don't let wet clothes sit in your washing machine

Leaving wet clothes in the washer eventually leads to mold, which doesn't just produce a nasty smell—your machine won't clean clothes as effectively either. So take wet clothes out of the washer as soon as the cycle ends. If you have a front-loading machine, remember to leave the door open to let the interior dry between loads.

Don't overfill your washing machine

It's enticing to cram a week's worth of laundry into the washer, but overburdening your machine means detergent can't circulate properly and clothes won't get fully rinsed. It also leads to avoidable wear and tear, putting stress on the bearings and throwing the drum out of alignment.

Clean the lint out of your dryer regularly

Lint buildup makes your dryer less efficient, can cause the machine to overheat, and—most importantly—can start a fire. So make a habit of removing and cleaning the lint filter before running each load in your dryer. You should also clean the dryer vent once or twice a year.

Don't dry rubber bath mats or rugs on high heat

These items often smell and are full of bacteria. But before tossing either into your dryer, read the manual to make sure the machine won't melt them. You can always hang them to dry.

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