How Long Do Washing Machines Last?

A top-load washing machine typically lasts from 10 to 15 years, while a front-load washer can last more than 15 years if you maintain it well. The actual lifespan of your washer depends on how often you use it and the weight of the typical laundry load. Not surprisingly, frequent use and heavy loads wear out a washing machine faster.

Following the use and care tips in your owner’s manual can help keep your washer working longer than average. Proper cleaning and care also extend its useful life.

Here are some valuable tips that can help your washer last longer.

Tips for Using Your Washing Machine

Here are some reminders from your owner’s manual that can help you keep your washer lasting longer.

Don’t Overload the Washer

Consistently overloading your washing machine shortens its life. Your washer is designed to hold a reasonable amount of laundry per load, not everything you can cram into its tub. That means you can wash about 10 bath towels per load, not 20.

Overloading the washer puts strain on the tub bearing and water seal, causing them to wear out quickly. The extra strain that overloading puts on the drive motor wears out motor parts quickly as well. On a belt-drive washing machine, the drive belt wear down quicker when you overload. In short, overloading is one of the leading causes of washer failures.

Follow the advice in your owner’s manual for how to load your washer.

Use the Right Amount and Type of Laundry Detergent

Follow the directions in your owner’s manual for using the right amount and type of detergent in your washing machine. Using too much detergent makes too much suds, which forces the drain pump to work extra hard. Over time, using too much detergent causes residue build-up and corrosion that damage metal components and seals.

If you have a high-efficiency (HE) washer — which uses less water than a standard washer — remember that your washer needs only a little HE detergent to clean your clothes. Check the owner’s manual and detergent package for guidelines. And don’t use regular laundry detergent in an HE washer: it creates too much suds, which damages metal components and seals.

Install the Drain Hose Correctly

An incorrectly installed drain hose makes the drain pump work harder to drain the tub, causing more wear on the drain pump. Also, the water won’t completely drain out of the washer when the drain hose is installed incorrectly. The drive motor, belt and spin bearing can also wear out faster.

Follow the guidance in the installation manual to install the drain hose correctly. Don’t shove the end of the drain hose way down the stand pipe, because water can siphon back into the washer as soon as the drain pump stops. If your washer uses a drain sink, hook the hose on the side of the sink so the end of the hose is clear of drain water when the sink fills during the washer’s drain cycle.

Installing the drain hose correctly ensures that the washer works properly and efficiently — causing less wear and lengthening your washer’s life.

Tips for Maintaining Your Washer

Follow this advice for taking care of your washing machine to help it work well and last longer.

Check the Drain Hose for Clogs

Pull the drain hose out of the stand pipe or sink and check the end of the drain hose for clogs yearly. Lint and debris can build up and clog the end of the drain hose. Keep the drain hose clear so the drain pump works efficiently and lasts longer.

Clean Bleach Spills Immediately

Bleach quickly eats through the paint on the body of the washer. If you spill bleach on the metal body of the washing machine, wipe up the bleach and then rinse the area with a damp cloth or sponge to completely remove the bleach and prevent rust.

Use a Washing Machine Cleaner Monthly

Each month, clean the inside of the washer monthly using a washing machine cleaner such as affresh® or Washer Magic®. The cleaner removes dirt, detergent residue, odor and hard water deposits from the washer.

Clean the Outside of the Washing Machine

To help preserve the paint and prevent the washer body from rusting, use a soft cloth dampened with clean water to wipe the outside of the washing machine. Clean it at least once a year, and more often if you see dust and grime building up. The thin metal of the washer body can corrode quickly if the coating deteriorates.

Schedule Annual Maintenance by a Technician

Schedule a technician to professionally maintain your washer yearly. The tech checks the washer for proper filling, agitating, draining and spinning and makes any necessary adjustments to thoroughly tune-up the washer. Treating your washer to a preventive checkup helps keep it in top condition so it lasts longer.