Here’s something that few homeowners have really thought about: how often do you clean your washer and your dryer? You would be forgiven for thinking that such a task was unnecessary—surely the clue is in the title, it is a “washer” after all. But the reality is that cleaning the washer and dryer is actually an important task for anyone who owns one.

Why Should Homeowners Worry About Cleaning Their Washers and Dryers?

You might think that cleaning appliances like washers and dryers comes down to nothing but having them look good, but there are actually many different reasons why it is important for homeowners to keep their washers and dryers—and appliances in general—in top condition. First and foremost, it is a safety issue. Things like dryer fires can be easily prevented by cleaning them and the surrounding areas at appropriate intervals.

Second, clean appliances run more efficiently. This makes life easier for you, and saves you money on utility bills in the process. Since this will also extend the life of each appliance, it will also save you money on the cost of replacing or repairing broken machines.

Finally, cleaning your washers and dryers makes them look good, and can improve what might otherwise be an unsightly part of your house. And who doesn’t want a nicer looking home?

How Often Should Washers and Dryers Be Cleaned?

While you can do a light clean of your washer and dryer every month or so, a full deep clean is only needed about once a year. Furthermore, you should replace the hoses that connect your washer to water outlets every three to five years.

How to Clean a Washer and Dryer

Now that we’ve established that every homeowner should know how to clean a washer and dryer, the question becomes, how? Here are a few tips to help you out:

  • For a top loading washer, be wary of dispensers getting clogged up with detergent. You can clean them out with soap and warm water.
  • Fill the empty machine with hot water and one cup of bleach. Leave it for an hour and then run the washer for a full cycle.
  • For a front loading machine, a common problem is a moldy door. Deal with this by using a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water to clean it thoroughly. Get at difficult to reach parts using a toothbrush.
  • For a dryer, make sure that you vacuum out your lint trap every month or so, to remove stubborn lint that sticks around, and check for and repair any tears.
  • Wipe down the inside of your dryer with a rag and a mild detergent or vinegar.
  • The outside of your machines can also be cleaned with most multi-surface cleaners.

If you really want to keep your appliances in the best possible condition, it will take more than a wash every so often—proper maintenance is the best and easiest way to do it. Here are some things that you should be doing in order to maintain your washer and dryer:

  • Always clean out the lint trap after each load of laundry.
  • Leave the washer door open to prevent mildew.
  • Never leave clothes in the washer overnight. Try to remove wet clothes as soon after washing as possible. This will also prevent mold and mildew.
  • Make sure that you are using the recommended amount of detergent, as more than necessary can harm or clog your washer.

You can see more tips and tricks for how to clean your washer and dryer by watching this YouTube video. The key to all of this is proper maintenance. It does not have to be an expensive or laborious addition to your regular cleaning routine, in fact it shouldn’t add much time or money at all—but the payoff will be great for both your house and your wallet. So take a little bit of time to familiarize yourself with your washer and your dryer, give them a good clean, and then commit to keep them in tip top condition for as long as you own them—which, if you do this, will be a very long time indeed.

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