Doing the laundry is a real pain, but can you imagine not having washer or dryer to clean your clothes? If you don't give your washing machine and dryer a good scrubbing once in a while, they won't be around as long to do the same for your wardrobe! Not to mention that by not cleaning your dryer, you're putting your family and home at risk of a house fire. Almost 3,000 house fires are started by dryers each year, and 34% of those are preventable with some simple cleaning. All of that detergent, fabric softener and lint builds up on your washer and dryer and can do major damage to your appliances if you haven't cleaned them! Cleaning your washer and dryer can also help you save some money by making them more efficient. Get your washer and dryer safe, efficient, and clean using these tips:
How to Clean a Washing Machine
1. Put 2 Cups of Baking Soda into the Washer
Make sure your washer is empty! The baking soda will scrub off any soap and fabric deposits.
2. Run the Washer at the Hottest Setting
Make sure to run it at the hottest and longest setting possible. If you have a washer with a self-cleaning mode, use that instead of the warmest temperature.
3. Add 2 Cups of Vinegar
After the first baking soda load is finished, put two cups of vinegar into the barrel of your washer, and put it on the warmest setting with the longest runtime.
4. Soak and Clean the Detergent Dispensers
Take out the detergent dispensers from your machine and soak them in a water and vinegar solution for a few hours. This will remove any built up laundry soap and detergent.
5. Clean the Outside of the Washer
Using a brush, scrub the cracks and crannies of the outside of your washer. You can wipe the outside of the washer with an all-purpose cleaner. Clean the seal around the door of your washer to remove mold and mildew.
After your washer is cleaned, leave the door open after doing a load of laundry to reduce the likelihood of mold and mildew growing inside of the appliance. You should remove your laundry as quickly as possible after the cycle is over for the same reasons.Curious about what the laundry symbols mean on your clothing? Use our decorative printable to learn and then hang it in your laundry room so you never forget!
How to Clean a Dryer
Cleaning your dryer is harder to do than cleaning your washer, but comparably, it's more important. When you clean your dryer, you're mostly cleaning out lint. While lint doesn't seem harmful (even though it may make you sneeze) it is actually a fire hazard. A build-up of dryer lint, coupled with warm air from the appliance and the electricity it needs to run can spark huge house fires. The US Fire Administration states that 34% of home fires started by dryers could have been prevented by cleaning the dryer and removing lint. Every year, there are an average of 2,900 dryer fires, which cause $35 million in property damage, 5 deaths, 100 injuries. Cleaning your dryer is vitally important to keep you, your family, and your home safe! You should be cleaning your dryer every 6-12 months.
1. Clean the Lint Trap
To begin, unplug your dryer. Remove all lint from the lint trap and throw it away. Then, vacuum the space where the lint trap resides to get any remaining lint that may be stuck in the internal workings of the dryer. (You may need to use a long hose attachment to get all the nooks and crannies of the dryer.) Clean the lint trap itself in the sink by scrubbing it with dish soap. This removes any dryer sheet residue from the lint trap itself. You can tell if your washer has dryer sheet residue by holding it under the sink for a bit and checking to see if the water is pooling on top. If water can't get through the lint trap, air will also have a hard time moving through, which can decrease your dryer's efficiency, cause it to break down faster, and can cause a fire hazard.
2. Remove the Hose From the Back of the Dryer's Exhaust
On the backside of every dryer is an exhaust port that takes air from the appliances and vents it outside using a hose. This hose also gets lint inside of it, and needs to be cleaned throughout! Unclip the hose and remove it from the backside of the dryer. (Remember, the dryer should be turned off!)
3. Vacuum the Dryer's Hose, Exhaust Port, and Vent
Using a long vacuum attachment, vacuum the inside of the dryer's exhaust port, connecting hose, and the vent to the outside. If the vent outside is accessible, you should clean that as well.
4. Wipe Down the Dryer
Lint can cling to the outside of your dryer. Use an all-purpose cleaner to wipe down the sides, top, and behind of your dryer. You can also use a brush to get into the cracks and crevices of your dryer, which can get a lot of lint build-up around them.
Once you have completed these steps, your washer and dryer will be cleaner, more efficient, and you'll have reduced any fire hazard! Although you should be cleaning your washer and dryer often to ensure they last a long time, eventually, a home's washer and dryer will fail just from normal wear and tear. Usually, washers and dryers last 10-13 years. When that happens, if you have a home warranty plan through Landmark, you can pay a small service call fee of $60 to $100 (depending on the plan) and get them repaired or replaced! A washer and dryer cost between $400 and $1,000 each to replace, so you can save hundreds of dollars with a home warranty plan. Learn more about Landmark's plans that provide washer and dryer coverage here.