Washing machines are a true lifesaver. They are basically a miracle for people who hate doing laundry. You open this contraption, put your clothes and some detergent in, push or turn some buttons and voila, dirty clothes become clean clothes. There are however some common mistakes that people make when it comes to the use and maintenance of their washing machines that compromise the condition and potential lifespan of these miracle devices.
Mistake 1: Keeping the washing machine door closed all the time
Immediately after doing a load of laundry, it is best practice to leave the washing machine door open so that the moisture can evaporate. Leaving the door closed in the moist environment creates an ideal breeding ground for mold and bacteria. This is why a funky mildew smell is common in front-loading machines. Keep the door open between loads of laundry.
Mistake 2: Choosing the wrong setting
Different washing machines depending on brands and models have different settings for different types of loads. Read the instructions in order to get the most out of your device. Learn the built-in settings of your washing machine and how to customize them for your specific type of clothing.
Mistake 3: Overloading the washing machine
Overloading is one of the most common mistakes people make while thinking they are being more efficient. The machine is designed to handle a certain weight of clothes and water and will only perform at its best when those conditions are met. Overloading puts undue stress on the machine and the motor. It also means there will be less room for the clothes to move around freely in the water which means the clothes will not get as clean.
Mistake 4: Leaving wet clothes inside
Leaving your damp clothes in the machine is harmful to the machine. This contributes to creating an environment that is ideal for bacteria and mold to build up. Take out your clothes right away, leave the door open and wipe off the inside with a thick towel so that any water present is soaked up.
Mistake 5: Not using the right type of detergent or using too much of it
Use only the recommended amount of detergent. It is easy to assume that extra detergent will get your clothes extra clean but that’s far from the truth. Using too much detergent leads to the suds not cleaning out completely which can leave residue on your clothing. Beyond that, it can also lead to a buildup of crud or gunk in your machine components. This can lead to pumping more chemicals into our waterways contributing to algae blooms and other environmental problems. It also costs you more detergent-wise.
Mistake 6: Leaving the machine unbalanced
An unbalanced machine leads to an unbalanced load which makes the washing machine work a lot harder than it should have to leading to wear and tear on the unit and its parts. This could end up with you making costly repairs for something as simple as making sure the washing machine sits on a balanced surface.
Mistake 7: Running the machine when you’re not home
This is one of the big mistakes people make especially when they feel time-strapped. Do not leave your washing machine running unsupervised. You run the risk of the machine overflowing potentially leading to water damage. In the unlikely event that a part fails and too much friction is created in the drum, a fire could start. Play it safe. Do not run your washing machine when you are away from home.
Mistake 8: Forgetting to sort
Not sorting is one of the easiest ways to ruin your load and your machine. Unsorted laundry can cause colours to bleed, clothes to shrink and unwanted pocket items to float around during the washing cycle. Check the pockets and sort out your clothes before doing your laundry.
Mistake 9: Using fabric softener
Yes, your clothes end up smelling fresh and feeling baby soft but at what cost? They do not contribute to cleaning and in fact, have to remain in the fabric after the cleaning process. It is essentially re-soiling your clothes with petrochemicals that you then wear on your skin. Fabric softeners reduce the water absorbency of fabric which is bad news for towels and cloth nappies. They reduce the flame retardancy on clothes. They may also contribute to scrud build-up in your washing machine potentially causing damage to it.
Mistake 10: Not cleaning the washing machine
Even your washing machine needs a wash to clear out any residue from the machine. To clear any residue from the machine run the machine on a hot cycle with two cups of vinegar in place of detergent. Check the instruction manual to see how often you should clean the machine (after how many wash loads). You can also use specially made detergents for cleaning the washing machine. Different washing machines also have different instructions for cleaning the machine so make sure you use the preset that they have stated to run the machine clean.
Here’s hoping you were not making any of these mistakes but in the event that you were, then here’s an opportunity to rescue all of our washing machines and increase their longevity.
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