How To Maintain Your Washing Machine

By Lyle Weischwill | Sep. 30, 2022 11:36 am PST

With all of the agitating, tumbling and spinning it does, your washing machine easily is one of the hardest working appliances in your home. The constant movement of the spin basket and shaking of the outer tub causes a lot of wear, and the wet conditions are a breeding ground for odors and mildew.

Keep your washer well maintained to get your laundry clean load after load.

First, follow the maintenance tips from Sears Tech Tom Charland in this YouTube video:

Tech Tips For Maintaining Your Washer

In the video, Tom offers these valuable washing machine maintenance tips.

1. Inspect the Hoses

You should regularly inspect all the external hoses on your machine, making certain that you see no obstructions or problems with those components.

We don’t recommend using rubber hoses. Rubber hoses can split, expand and break, which can cause a potential flood in your home.

We recommend that you use metal or fiberglass-reinforced hoses.

Try to remember not to invest in flood gate hoses. Flood gate hoses for washing machines can restrict water flow at times and prevent your washer from operating correctly.

2. Use the Right Detergent

We recommend using liquid laundry detergent.

First, you need to determine whether your washer is a high-efficiency washer or a standard operating washer.

If you have a deep-fill washing machine, you can use regular laundry detergent.

When you have a high-efficiency washer, you’ll need to use detergent with the HE label.

HE laundry detergent symbol

High-efficiency washers use less water, so they require a special type of laundry detergent that is low sudsing. Make sure that you only use HE detergent in a high-efficiency washing machine.

3. Use Less Detergent

We’ve learned in the appliance service industry that the actual amount of laundry detergent needed to clean your clothes does not necessarily reflect what the washer manufacturers call for.

How Much Laundry Detergent Should I Use In My Washer?

  • In a high-efficiency washer, we recommend no more than a quarter of a cap of HE detergent for a large load and less for smaller loads.
  • For a standard-operating washing machine, we recommend no more than a half a cap and of course less for smaller loads.

Too much soap buildup in the machine can cause problems with your washer. Residual detergent and excessive suds can build up as soap residue coating the inside of the washer tub. This soap residue can cause stench and mold, and it can actually prevent your washer from operating properly.

How Do You Know If You’re Still Using Too Much Laundry Detergent?

You can simply turn your washer on with a hot fill, fill it up to about a half load level, and let the machine run for 3-5 minutes. Shut the machine off and inspect the water.

If there’s soap buildup in the water, it’s a key indicator that the machine is built up with soap scum and you’re still using too much detergent.

Suds buildup in the washer tub

4. Clean the Washing Machine

Here are a couple of ways to thoroughly clean your washer.

Use a Washer Cleaner Such as Washer Magic

Follow these directions follow that are also on the back of the Washer Magic bottle to clean your washing machine:

  1. Pour a small amount of Washer Magic onto a clean cloth. Wipe the rubber seal around the door until all residue is removed. Rinse thoroughly with a damp cloth. 2 . With the washing machine empty, add 1/2 cup of Washer Magic to the detergent drawer (front loader) or directly into the washer tub (top loader).
  2. Run a “Normal” wash cycle with hot water setting.

Repeat this washer cleaning process monthly or as needed to maintain a clean and fresh washing machine.

Use Vinegar and Citrus Powdered Drink Mix

You don’t necessarily have to use Washer Magic to clean your washing machine. You can also take these steps to clean the washer using common household items:

  1. Combine 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 cup of citrus powdered drink mix.
  2. Pour the cleaning solution into the washing machine.
  3. Run an empty wash cycle using the hot water setting.

The citrus drink and vinegar solution will help loosen and remove soap scum and detergent residue from the washer tub.

5. Load the Washer Properly

Never overload the washer. Overloading the washer can cause damage to the spin basket, tub, seals and bearings.

Here’s another helpful loading tip: Never wash your sheets and blankets with other clothing. The other clothing can get wrapped up in the sheets and blankets. This can cause your machine to go unbalanced and damage to your washer.

6. Choose Wisely When Using Fabric Softener

We recognize that people use both dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener when doing laundry. Using both can leave residue on clothing.

We recommend using one or the other.

When using liquid fabric softener in a high-efficiency washer, it’s vital that you dilute the fabric softener in the bottle 50% with water. Shake the solution thoroughly to thin the liquid out before adding it to the washer fabric softener dispenser.

Using the thinned out fabric softener solution in a high-efficiency washer helps the softener mix well with the limited amount of water used during the rinse cycle.

If you’re using a standard top-loading washer, use the recommended amount of fabric softener.

Remember, using too much fabric softener in a washing machine can cause residue on clothes and scum build-up inside the washer tub.

Have Your Washer Professionally Maintained

Regular professional maintenance of your washing machine can help prevent costly breakdowns and extend the life of your appliance.

Schedule Cleaning & Maintenance of your washer by a Sears Technician yearly to keep your washer in top shape.

During Washer Cleaning & Maintenance service the tech will perform all these tasks and more:

  • Inspect water fill hoses. Broken fill hoses are a leading cause of flood damage in homes. Fill hoses eventually wear out and leak or break. A technician will inspect fill hoses for cracks and wear that can indicate potential failure. The tech will recommend fill hose replacement when it’s likely that a fill hose is at the end of its useful life. This maintenance step is often the most important one that the technician performs.
  • Check the washer tub and internal hoses for wear and leaks. Some internal washer leaks begin as small drips you may not even notice. Small leaks can eventually turn into large ones that damage walls and flooring. During washer maintenance, the technician will check internal fill hoses, dispenser hoses and drain hoses for leaks and wear that need addressing.
  • Test the washer drain system. The washer won’t clean and spin clothes if the drain system doesn’t fully remove water during the drain portion of the cycle. The technician will check drain pump operation and the complete drain path through your home’s drain system. The tech can clear obstructions and let you know if your house drain needs clearing.
  • Check water fill level and water temperature. To keep your washer working efficiently and avoid garment damage, the technician check water fill levels and the water temperature. The washing machine won’t clean the clothes well if water level is too low. Too much water can cause leaks and damage suspension components. Water also needs to be at the right temperature to clean clothes properly. When water temperature isn’t hot enough, detergent won’t dissolve and clothes won’t get clean. You might even see detergent residue can on clothes when water temperature is too low. Water that’s too hot can shrink delicate garments and damage certain fabrics. Hot water also can cause bright colors to fade or run.
  • Check the suspension system and spin cycle operation. Excessive vibration or banging during the spin will often result in clothes being too wet when the cycle ends. While banging during the spin cycle can be caused by an unbalanced load, it can also be caused by tub suspension problems. The technician will test the spin cycle and make sure that suspension components such as shock absorbers and springs are intact and working properly. The tech also will check washer leveling and stability and adjust leveling legs as needed to minimize vibration during the spin cycle.
  • Run a cleaning cycle. Detergent residue and dirt can build up inside the washer. Mold and mildew can develop and make clothes smell musty when you don’t clean the washer regularly. The technician will typically run a cleaning cycle using a washer cleaner to remove deposits and detergent residue from the washer. You’ll also be able to buy a supply of washer cleaner from the technician during the cleaning and maintenance service.

Trust Sears to help you keep your washer and other home appliances in top shape. We help your appliances work harder and live longer.

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