DIY Tips to Extend the Life of Your Appliances

By Lyle Weischwill | Aug. 04, 2023 2:11 pm PST

Cleaning and maintaining your appliances properly can help extend their lifespan and prevent costly repairs. Whether you complete these tasks yourself or have a Sears Technician professionally complete the maintenance and cleaning is up to you.

Having a Sears Technician perform the maintenance saves you time and the tech may discover problems that can be immediately corrected to prevent eventual failures.

Cleaning and maintaining appliances yourself will save you money and help you become more familiar with your products. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment when you take care of your appliances on your own.

Here are some DIY tips to follow when you decide to clean and maintain your appliances yourself.

HVAC System

Of course, you’ll need to replace the air filter in your heating & cooling system regularly. Some filters need replacing monthly while others only need replacing quarterly. Check the owner’s manual and filter specifications for guidelines on air filter replacement.

Never neglect this important maintenance step. A clogged air filter can cause numerous AC problems such as:

  • Low air flow causing a lack of cooling.
  • Frozen evaporator coils resulting in poor cooling.
  • Higher electric bills.
  • Excessive wear on the blower motor.

You’ll need to pour a bleach and water solution down the condensate drain line of your air conditioner every 3 months as shown in this video.

This will keep algae and debris from clogging the drain pipe. If the drain line does get clogged, water will back up in the pipe and trip a float switch that will shut down your air conditioner.

In addition to following these DIY tips, have your HVAC system professionally cleaned and maintained in the fall and spring by a Sears Technician. The technician will perform additional HVAC maintenance tasks such as those shown in this video.

Having your HVAC system professionally maintained will help it last longer and run efficiently.


Regular cleaning is essential for your fridge. Clean the interior of your refrigerator, removing any expired food and wiping up spills.

In addition to cleaning your fridge, follow these DIY maintenance steps to keep your refrigerator working efficiently.

Cooking Appliances

Cleaning and maintaining your stove and other cooking appliances not only extends their life but also ensures they function safely and efficiently.

How to Clean and Maintain Your Cooktop

For gas cooktops, remove the burner grates, caps, and heads and clean them as shown in our How to clean a gas cooktop video. Use a gas burner cleaning kit to help you easily clean all the gas burners thoroughly.

Check and adjust gas cooktop burner flames according to the guidelines in your owner’s manual or installation guide. If you need to have a Sears Technician complete this maintenance step, schedule Sears Clean & Maintain service for your range or cooktop.

Gas cooktop burner flames must be properly adjusted to avoid excessive carbon monoxide emissions in your home that can threaten the health of your family.

For electric cooktops, clean or replace burner bowls below coil surface elements. If you have a ceramic glass cooktop, clean the cooktop with cleaning cream regularly.

How to Clean and Maintain the Oven

When your oven has the self-clean feature, use that cycle to clean the oven regularly. Follow the directions in your owner’s manual to safely use that oven feature.

If you don’t have a self-cleaning oven, use oven cleaner to remove deposit from the racks.

When you have a gas oven, check and adjust the oven burners’ flames as described in the owner’s manual or installation guide. If you need to have a Sears Technician complete this maintenance step, schedule Clean & Maintain service for your oven and a tech will check the burner flames and make adjustments as needed.

Gas oven burner flames must be properly adjusted to avoid excessive carbon monoxide emissions in your home that can threaten the health of your family.

How to Clean and Maintain Your Range Hood or Microhood

Many homeowners neglect to clean and maintain their range hood or microhood. While many of us clean inside the microwave cavity of our microhood, we often forget to clean the grease filters.

Follow these steps to clean and maintain the exhaust ventilation system of your microhood or range hood.

  1. Remove the grease filters and wash them every several months. Follow the directions in your owner’s manual to remove and clean the grease filters. You can wash some types of grease filters in the dishwasher.
  2. Replace the charcoal air filter if your microhood or range hood recirculates air back into the kitchen space instead of exhausting air to the outside of your home.
  3. Check the operation of the exhaust vent damper on the outside of your home to make sure it opens properly when you have a system that blows kitchen exhaust air outside.
  4. Wipe down the outside of the range hood using a cleaning cloth moistened with mild detergent to clean grease and residue from surfaces. Rinse the surfaces by wiping them with a cloth moistened with plain water and dry them with a towel. Use stainless steel cleaner to polish stainless surfaces.


Follow these steps to clean and maintain your dishwasher:

  1. Clean the sump filters. Dishwashers typically have filters in the sump at the bottom of the dishwasher tub. Remove the bottom dishrack to access the filters. Clear food and debris from the dishwasher filters by following the directions in the owner’s manual. If necessary, soak the filters in distilled white vinegar to remove hard water deposits. Use a soft-bristled brush to clean the deposits off the filters after soaking. After cleaning the filters, rinse them off and reinstall them in your dishwasher.
  2. Unclog spray arm holes. Clean the spray arm holes at the same time that you clean the filters. If spray arm holes are clogged with heavy hard water deposits, you can soak the spray arms in distilled white vinegar along with the dishwasher filters. Use bamboo skewers to clear deposits and debris fully from spray arm holes.
  3. Repair rusted dishracks. Sand off the rust and paint the bare spots with vinyl touch-up paint. You can also cover the tops of rusted tines with plastic tine tips. The Dish Tine Tip Repair Kit has the vinyl touch-up paint and the plastic tine tips to repair a white dishrack. Other colors of the repair kit are available if your rack isn’t white. Follow the tips in this DIY YouTube video for repairing rusted dishrack tines: Repairing Dishwasher Rack Rust.
  4. Check water temperature. The fill water for your dishwasher should be around 120 degrees. At that temperature, the detergent will dissolve properly and the hot water will melt grease off dishes easily. Run the hot water from your kitchen sink faucet for 1 minute. Fill a glass with hot water. Measure the water temperature in the glass using a cooking thermometer. If the temperature is less than 120 degrees, carefully increase the temperature setting on your water heater. Make small, incremental increases and don’t set your water heater temperature above 120 degrees. That should protect you from burns in the bath or shower.
  5. Clean the dishwasher door and control panel. Wipe down the outer dishwasher door panel using a cleaning cloth moistened with mild detergent and water. Next, wipe down the door with plain water to remove detergent residue. Use stainless steel cleaner to polish the door if you have a stainless dishwasher.
  6. Clean the entire interior using a dishwasher cleaner. Use a dishwasher cleaner such as Finish Dishwasher Cleaner or Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner to remove hard water deposits and detergent residue from the entire interior of your dishwasher.

Laundry Appliances


Your washing machine is a workhorse that handles a huge chunk of the household chores. Do without your washer for a week and you’ll clearly understand how valuable it is.

With all of the filling, sloshing, draining and spinning it does, your washing machine deserves some cleaning and maintenance attention every year. Otherwise, it can easily give up on doings the heavy laundry work that you’re expecting it to do.

Follow these expert tips to keep your washer clean and well maintained.

  • Clean the end of the washer drain hose. Pull the drain hose out of the stand pipe or drain sink and check for residue in the hose opening. Clear any lint or debris clogging the hose. Reinstall the hose in the stand pipe or drain sink.
  • Check the fill hoses. Fill hoses can wear out and crack over time. A leaky fill hose can cause a flood and/or water damage in your laundry room. Check your washer fill hose for cracks or wear and replace them if they’re old or worn. Don’t risk a flood or water damage by ignoring potential fill hose problems.
  • Clean the washing machine cabinet. Wipe down the washer cabinet with a moist cloth to remove dirt and residue. Use mild detergent if necessary to remove stubborn stains. Empty all garments from the washer. Rinse the cabinet thoroughly using a cloth moistened with plain water if you used detergent for cleaning.
  • Clean the detergent dispenser. Soap residue can build up inside the detergent dispenser. Clean out the detergent dispenser regularly.
  • Clean the door boot on a front-load washer. The rubber door boot on a front-load washer often holds water and builds up mold and mildew that begin to smell if you don’t clean it. With the washer empty, wipe down the rubber door boot with a solution of bleach and water. Wear protective gloves when handling the bleach solution. When you’re done, run an empty cycle in the washer with no detergent added to rinse out bleach residue.
  • Use a washer cleaner. Run an empty cycle with a washer cleaner such as Affresh or Washer Magic to clean the inside of your washing machine. Washer cleaners remove residue and odor that build up in front-load and top-load washing machines. Use a washer cleaner monthly to keep your machine clean and your clothes smelling fresh.

Clothes Dryer

Don’t take your dryer for granted. You depend on your dryer every week to help you easily complete your laundry chores. When it breaks, you and everyone in your household know it.

Follow these tips to keep your dryer clean and well-maintained so it doesn’t break down and keeps drying your clothes efficiently.

  • Clean the dryer exhaust vent system. Lint and debris clogs in the exhaust vent system can cause the dryer to take longer to dry clothes. Clothes that is tumbling inside a dryer with a clogged vent can also overheat. Disconnect the flexible exhaust duct from its wall connection. Vacuum lint and dust from the exhaust duct going to the outside of your home. Use a lint brush or leaf blower to clear lint and debris from the exhaust duct system going through the wall behind your clothes dryer to the outside of your home.
  • Thoroughly clean the lint screen. Fabric softener, often from dryer softener sheets, can build up on your lint screen and inhibit air flow through the dryer. Washer the lint screen with water and a soft bristle brush. Dryer the screen with a towel and reinstall it in the dryer.
  • Clean the dryer drum. Inspect the inside of your dryer drum and wipe it with a moist cloth. Many clothes dryers have sensor bars that tell the dryer to shut off when the load is dry. If you use dryer sheets, residue from the sheet’s fabric softener can make sensors think the load is dry when it’s still damp. Clean the sensor bars every 6 months or so, or if the dryer is consistently under-drying the laundry. Dip the tip of a rag in rubbing alcohol and wipe the bars to clean off residue.

Remember, safety should be a priority when performing any maintenance tasks. If you are unsure about any specific appliance maintenance procedure, it’s best to consult the manufacturer’s instructions or seek professional assistance.

Have Your Appliances Professionally Cleaned & Maintained Annually

To keep all your appliances in top shape, have them cleaned and maintained by a Sears Technician at least once per year. Schedule Clean & Maintain service for all of your kitchen and laundry appliances at once and save on maintenance bundle pricing.

For your heating & cooling system, we recommend that you schedule a spring AC unit tune up and fall heating system maintenance to keep your HVAC system in top shape and lasting longer.

Trust Sears to help you keep all your appliances running safely and efficiently so they last longer.

Most Recent Articles