Most of us learn how to do laundry sometime growing up, or at the least, once we move out on our own. You probably thought that getting your whites and brights sorted, and perhaps thinking about what temperature to wash colors in, was all you needed to know.
But if you own a washer and dryer, you might need a few lessons about taking care of them, as well as your clothes. These appliances are some of the biggest investments we make, and with proper care, they can last for years. That’s a lot of clean clothes in your future!
A level wash
The powerful spinning force on your washer can get up to 1200 revolutions per minute, with a centrifugal force up to 144 g. (Yep, that’s the same gravitational force that astronauts feel…at 3 g.)
Which is great for getting the water out of your clothes. But if the adjustable feet on your washer aren’t level, the vibrations can actually “walk” your washer across the room over time. Yikes! Even worse, over time, that vibration can work loose some of the interior parts of your washer.
To prevent these kinds of problems, use a level to make sure your washer is level from side to side and front to back. If it turns out to be lopsided, adjust the appliance’s feet so that the washer sits firmly level on the floor.
Cool savings on energy
Are you in the habit of washing every load with hot water? With modern detergents, you probably don’t need hot water for every load, or even most loads. Try changing your default temperature to cold and see if you notice a difference in your clothes. (The biggest difference might just be that your cottons are a lot less likely to shrink!) Even better, using cold water instead of hot will save 90% of the energy that you were using to wash your clothes. That adds up to real money in your pocket!
Energy Star savings
If you have an older washer or dryer, purchasing a new Energy Star-certified model might save you big bucks on your utility bills every year. If you replace a 15-year-old washer, you could save up to $130 annually.
Dryer not drying?!
If your extra-large capacity washer inspires you to cram your dryer chock full of wet clothes, you may discover your dryer doesn’t actually dry. The dryer needs room for the hot air to circulate so it can do its job. A dryer that doesn’t dry could also mean a heating element that’s burned out, or a lint trap that’s clogged with a stray sock or dryer sheet. Which brings us to our next point….
Dryer, dryer – lint on fire?
Lint from your dryer is highly flammable. (That’s one of those things you should just trust us on—no need for at-home testing.) You probably know it’s critical to clean the lint trap after each load, but did you also know that lint can build up inside the machine?
Once you pull the link trap out, see if you can reach any additional lint inside the dryer. You can often use a thin brush and your vacuum nozzle to remove additional lint from the lint trap area. Every six months, you should also check the exhaust vent that comes out the back of the dryer, and the hose that connects it to the external vent. Vacuum or brush out lint that accumulates there, as well!
If your washer or dryer won’t spin at all, before you call a repair service, check to ensure that you didn’t simply trip a circuit breaker or (on an older home) blow a fuse. Sometimes the problems that seem huge have a simple fix.