According to the Green Building Advisor, 82 percent of American homes have a washing machine, and that trusty machine is used to do about 300 loads of laundry each year. If you've finally made the switch to a high-efficiency model, you might not be aware of the special needs of your new, high-tech appliance. Unlike a traditional washing machine, your high-efficiency model has special instructions and requires a little more care. Here are a few tips to help ensure you are maintaining your high-efficiency washer correctly:
Taking Care of Your Machine Before, During and After Every Load
Unlike your old traditional washing machine, your high-efficiency unit requires a little extra care to keep it working smoothly. Here are a few of the steps you need to take each and every time you turn on the machine:
Always use detergent that is specially designed for high-efficiency machines. Look for the "HE compatible" mark on the detergent bottle and follow the instructions carefully. Your high-efficiency machines uses less water and requires less detergent to get your clothes clean.
Never overfill your machine's liquid fabric softener dispenser and do not pour the liquid softener directly onto the clothing in the machine. Once again, HE machines use less water and if you use too much liquid softener, you run the risk of staining your clothing.
Switch to a powdered laundry soap, if you have hard water. Powdered soap leaves behind less residue, which can easily happen if your water isn't treated.
Leave the door or lid of your HE machine open when not in use. This helps circulate air through the washing tub, which cuts down on the formation of mold and mildew.
Weekly Maintenance Tips
In addition to making sure you utilize your HE washing machine correctly each time, it is important follow a strict weekly maintenance routine, as well.
Start by cleaning out the liquid fabric softener dispenser and detergent compartment with a mixture of warm water, dish soap and a few drops of liquid bleach. If the dispensers are removable, pop them out and soak it in the bleach mixture for a few minutes. If you cannot remove the dispenser, use a scrub brush dampened with the bleach mixture to clean it, instead.
Next, create a mixture of one part water and one part white vinegar. Dampen a cotton swab with the mixture and use it to clean your HE washer's rubber seal. Take a clean rag and dampen it with the vinegar solution. Use the rag to clean off the wall of the machine's drum.
Once you're done cleaning the drum, leave the door open to allow the inside of the machine to dry.
Your One Monthly Maintenance Task
High-efficiency washing machines will save you time, money and water, but they do have one downfall: the smell. Once again, the odor occurs because the machine uses less water, which means the soap scum and liquid fabric softener doesn't wash away completely.
Luckily, all you'll need to keep your HE machine smelling great is a monthly cleaning:
Add one-half cup of baking soda into the detergent compartment. Pour 2 to 3 cups of white vinegar directly into the drum. Shut the machine and set it to the hottest water setting. Run the machine on a normal cycle. The mixture of the white vinegar and baking soda will gently eliminate any build-up from the drum and inner walls of the washing machine.
Open the door and wipe down the walls of the drums with a kitchen sponge. Leave the door open and allow the machine to dry out overnight.
From making sure you use the correct detergent each time you use the unit to performing a more thorough cleaning once-a-month, maintaining your high-efficiency washing machine doesn't take a lot of effort. Taking these few simple steps can help ensure your machine works and smells great for several years to come. If you run into bigger issues, contact a company like ASAP Appliance Repair, Inc. for assistance.