How to Care for Your Tumble Dryer and Washing Machine
Like all heavy-duty appliances, dryers and washing machines are prone to malfunctions if they are not inspected and properly cleaned from time to time. Neglecting the maintenance of a laundry machine can result in the growth of mould and residue which will spoil your washing, so to get the most out of your laundry suite, follow these guidelines below.
Tumble dryers become a serious fire hazard if the dryer lint filters and exhaust duct lines are not routinely cleaned out to prevent lint build-up, which is highly flammable. According to a 2018 Fire & Emergency NZ report, there was an average of 54 fires a year caused by poorly maintained clothes dryers. In the United States between 2014 – 2018, there were over four thousand fires and seven deaths attributed to “failure to clean a home dryer”.
Mould can damage your clothes and release an unpleasant odour, so you need to keep your dryer in a sanitary state too. You can protect the interior from mould by cleaning the drum with a wet rag soaked with bleach,and leaving the door open to so it can air out. Don’t overload your dryer either, as the lack of air circulation will result in the drum’s surface retaining moisture, making it the ideal environment for mould growth.
Another way you can damage your dryer is by placing the machine in a tilted position. This imbalance will cause strain on the drum as it spins, accelerating wear and tear, or causing it to break down altogether. It’s best to be sure that your dryer is upright and not tilting, and we recommend using a level if needed to check.
As a device that is constantly operating with water and dirty fabric, your washing machine is highly susceptible to mould growth and residue build up if you don’t clean out the filters, dispenser, drawers, gaskets, corners, and linings where trapped moisture and spores can grow out of sight—these can damage your washing if left unchecked.
We recommend cleaning your washing machine every two or three months. If a self-cleaning cycle is unavailable, run a hot cycle with two cups of vinegar and scrub the insides with vinegar again afterwards. Be sure to run a final cycle to rinse everything out. Neglecting a routine cleanout of your washing machine can result in the filters, pipes, and hoses getting clogged with dead skin, grime, and hard water deposits.
The drums of washing machines spin at high speeds and are vulnerable to being damaged if you overload them or position them awkwardly. A top load washing machine can run anywhere between 800 – 1600 rotations per minute, so you should also ensure that this appliance is properly positioned and never tilting, just as with a dryer. Always be cautious of the load capacity too, as overloading can break the drum.
An alternative method for cleaning the drum of your washing machine is to run a hot cycle with half a cup of bleach, pause the cycle once the drum is filled with water and wait an hour before restarting the cycle. After the cycle ends, wipe the insides before running a rinse cycle.
You can also keep a multi-purpose spray and a rag in your laundry room so you can quickly wipe the exterior of your appliances every time you use them.