Washing Machine Maintenance Tips    You're probably using too much detergent. How do I know? Almost everyone does. Use too much detergent that is. The detergent companies thank you. For lightly soiled clothing such as from everyday wear all you really need is two or three tablespoons of detergent in a top load washer. For front load system specific hints see the bottom of this list. For cleanest clothes use the warmest setting recommended for the fabrics you're washing. ALWAYS check the pockets before washing. I've pulled probably $200 in change out of washing machine filters and pumps over the years. Along with jewelry, pens and pencils, hair pins, screws/bolts/nuts, caps and lids to everything... but oddly enough bra underwires seem to be a favorite snack of washing machines. Use lingerie bags for bras and undies – and for kids undies to keep them from getting around the tub and into the drain system. For that matter put anything small in a mesh lingerie bag just to be on the safe side. I can't tell you how many baby socks I've pulled out of washing machine drain pumps. Yes, I pulled all this out of one washing machine Keep the machine level. It doesn't have to be precisely perfect but if it is leaning significantly in any direction the wash load gets unbalanced resulting in the machine doing a tap dance around your laundry room. Tip the machine back enough to allow access to the front legs. You'll see the legs are threaded and adjust by turning. There is a lock nut on the threads which is tightened up against the bottom of the body when you have the leg where you want it. Most machines today have self-leveling rear legs. Just rock the machine forward until the rear feet are off the floor by three or five inches then set back down. If one of the legs is stuck tip it forward again, bang around on the corner of the machine with your open palm, and try it again. Use distilled white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) in place of fabric softener to help in several areas. Add 1/2 to 1 cup to the rinse cycle only. Don't worry about the smell - once it dries the scent goes away. The vinegar will fight mold and mildew, rinse the detergent out of your clothing more thoroughly, and acts as a fabric softener. How it does all these things is complicated chemistry and the subject of some debate. Some folks swear by it and some swear at it. Use a discharge hose lint filter if possible. This is to save your plumbing rather than help your washing machine. They're cheap and you can get them almost anywhere. Unroll/Unfold/Open the filter, slide it a couple inches over the end of the discharge hose, and use the provided zip tie to fasten it down. You might need a pair of pliers to pull the zip tie tight enough but be careful you don't pull it apart. Snug is enough. You may be surprised at how much and how quickly lint collects in there. Don't forget to change it when it gets close to full. If the fabric softener dispenser is in the top of the agitator pull that out once in a while to give it a good scrubbing. Get a firm grip on the top of the agitator and work it back and forth while pulling up. It should pop out fairly easily. Manufacturers recommend replacing the water supply hoses every five years. While I'm sure this is good for the hose industry I'm not sure I see the sense in it. As they get older take a gander at 'em once in a while looking for bubbles, cracks, or worn spots. Replace if you find any of those. Supply hoses with stainless steel braiding on the outside are best as they last for years and years. If you have troubles with slow fill or one temp just won't fill: Turn off the water and disconnect the hoses from the back of the machine. Point the hoses into a sink or drain and turn the water on to make sure there is pressure in the lines and the hose itself isn't clogged. Pull the machine out enough so you can get a flashlight back there and look inside the hose connection nipples. See those cute little screens? Brush them gently with a fingertip. Did you clear anything off? Sometimes they get covered in debris that came down your water supply. With an old toothbrush or something similar brush off the gunk in there. Put a towel down to catch the mess and flush it out lightly with water. If that doesn't help give me a call; you probably need new valves. If your washer won’t drain and has water in it and it will be a day or two before I (or any other appliance tech) can get there, pour in a little bleach to keep the mold and smell away. It only takes a tablespoon or two. Of course remove and wring out any clothing first. Front Load Washers Front load washers have their own set of rules and potential problems. Use only HE detergent. Use very little of it. Be careful not to use anything that says something like “safe for all machines including HE”. It may be true but usually isn't. This is very important for a host of reasons. Regular washing soap works very differently than HE detergent and can ruin your expensive front load washer. Lye based soaps can and will shorten the life of the main bearing, the drain pump, the connecting bracket on the back of the tub, and other seals and components. You spent big bucks on a fancy washer, don't scrimp on the detergent. DO NOT trust the soap manufacturers to tell you how much to use. Think about it, they're trying to sell you the stuff – are they going to be honest about how much you should use? So how much do you use? o Regular HE detergent – use 2 Tbsp o 2x concentrate detergent use 2 tsp or 1 Tbsp o 4x concentrate detergent use 1 tsp o 10x concentrate (yes, they make the stuff) use ¼ tsp Leave the door open as much as possible to let the gasket dry out and prevent mold and mildew Yes they can handle slightly larger loads but do NOT overload them. If you do the wash load turns into a big wadded ball and nothing gets cleaned properly. 1/2 to 2/3 full dry is as far as you want to go.  Pull the soap dispenser drawer out all the way and you'll see a small spoon-like indentation with the word “Press Here”. Press that down and you can pull the drawer all the way out. Have a look inside there. Yeah... you're going to want to clean that out. Probably once a year. Those drop-in fresheners are good but they can't work miracles. If you have mold or residue build-up (using too much detergent are we?) they aren't much more than temporary cover-up. Another option you might try is running a cycle with distilled white vinegar. It's cheap so just dump in a half gallon or a gallon of the stuff and run the hottest cycle possible. Add it after the washer starts filling. Most front load systems have a way to pause the operation and unlock the door. If yours doesn't you can try adding the vinegar to the dispenser tray a little at a time but that will probably be a tedious process. The vinegar will help dissolve any soap residue and kill off any mold. Again this isn't a cure-all. If the mold is bad enough you might need the door gasket replaced. A third option is to run a bleaching cycle. Fill every compartment in the detergent/softener/bleach tray with liquid bleach and run a HOT cycle. Make sure there aren't any clothes in the washer when you do this of course. Run another empty cycle immediately after that to make sure all the bleach is flushed out. Front load washers shake and vibrate more than top load washers. There are damper pads out there to put under the unit which will help considerably.
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Washing Machine Maintenance Tips    You're probably using too much detergent. How do I know? Almost everyone does. Use too much detergent that is. The detergent companies thank you. For lightly soiled clothing such as from everyday wear all you really need is two or three tablespoons of detergent in a top load washer. For front load system specific hints see the bottom of this list. For cleanest clothes use the warmest setting recommended for the fabrics you're washing. ALWAYS check the pockets before washing. I've pulled probably $200 in change out of washing machine filters and pumps over the years. Along with jewelry, pens and pencils, hair pins, screws/bolts/nuts, caps and lids to everything... but oddly enough bra underwires seem to be a favorite snack of washing machines. Use lingerie bags for bras and undies – and for kids undies to keep them from getting around the tub and into the drain system. For that matter put anything small in a mesh lingerie bag just to be on the safe side. I can't tell you how many baby socks I've pulled out of washing machine drain pumps. Yes, I pulled all this out of one washing machine Keep the machine level. It doesn't have to be precisely perfect but if it is leaning significantly in any direction the wash load gets unbalanced resulting in the machine doing a tap dance around your laundry room. Tip the machine back enough to allow access to the front legs. You'll see the legs are threaded and adjust by turning. There is a lock nut on the threads which is tightened up against the bottom of the body when you have the leg where you want it. Most machines today have self-leveling rear legs. Just rock the machine forward until the rear feet are off the floor by three or five inches then set back down. If one of the legs is stuck tip it forward again, bang around on the corner of the machine with your open palm, and try it again. Use distilled white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) in place of fabric softener to help in several areas. Add 1/2 to 1 cup to the rinse cycle only. Don't worry about the smell - once it dries the scent goes away. The vinegar will fight mold and mildew, rinse the detergent out of your clothing more thoroughly, and acts as a fabric softener. How it does all these things is complicated chemistry and the subject of some debate. Some folks swear by it and some swear at it. Use a discharge hose lint filter if possible. This is to save your plumbing rather than help your washing machine. They're cheap and you can get them almost anywhere. Unroll/Unfold/Open the filter, slide it a couple inches over the end of the discharge hose, and use the provided zip tie to fasten it down. You might need a pair of pliers to pull the zip tie tight enough but be careful you don't pull it apart. Snug is enough. You may be surprised at how much and how quickly lint collects in there. Don't forget to change it when it gets close to full. If the fabric softener dispenser is in the top of the agitator pull that out once in a while to give it a good scrubbing. Get a firm grip on the top of the agitator and work it back and forth while pulling up. It should pop out fairly easily. Manufacturers recommend replacing the water supply hoses every five years. While I'm sure this is good for the hose industry I'm not sure I see the sense in it. As they get older take a gander at 'em once in a while looking for bubbles, cracks, or worn spots. Replace if you find any of those. Supply hoses with stainless steel braiding on the outside are best as they last for years and years. If you have troubles with slow fill or one temp just won't fill: Turn off the water and disconnect the hoses from the back of the machine. Point the hoses into a sink or drain and turn the water on to make sure there is pressure in the lines and the hose itself isn't clogged. Pull the machine out enough so you can get a flashlight back there and look inside the hose connection nipples. See those cute little screens? Brush them gently with a fingertip. Did you clear anything off? Sometimes they get covered in debris that came down your water supply. With an old toothbrush or something similar brush off the gunk in there. Put a towel down to catch the mess and flush it out lightly with water. If that doesn't help give me a call; you probably need new valves. If your washer won’t drain and has water in it and it will be a day or two before I (or any other appliance tech) can get there, pour in a little bleach to keep the mold and smell away. It only takes a tablespoon or two. Of course remove and wring out any clothing first. Front Load Washers Front load washers have their own set of rules and potential problems. Use only HE detergent. Use very little of it. Be careful not to use anything that says something like “safe for all machines including HE”. It may be true but usually isn't. This is very important for a host of reasons. Regular washing soap works very differently than HE detergent and can ruin your expensive front load washer. Lye based soaps can and will shorten the life of the main bearing, the drain pump, the connecting bracket on the back of the tub, and other seals and components. You spent big bucks on a fancy washer, don't scrimp on the detergent. DO NOT trust the soap manufacturers to tell you how much to use. Think about it, they're trying to sell you the stuff – are they going to be honest about how much you should use? So how much do you use? o Regular HE detergent – use 2 Tbsp o 2x concentrate detergent use 2 tsp or 1 Tbsp o 4x concentrate detergent use 1 tsp o 10x concentrate (yes, they make the stuff) use ¼ tsp Leave the door open as much as possible to let the gasket dry out and prevent mold and mildew Yes they can handle slightly larger loads but do NOT overload them. If you do the wash load turns into a big wadded ball and nothing gets cleaned properly. 1/2 to 2/3 full dry is as far as you want to go.  Pull the soap dispenser drawer out all the way and you'll see a small spoon-like indentation with the word “Press Here”. Press that down and you can pull the drawer all the way out. Have a look inside there. Yeah... you're going to want to clean that out. Probably once a year. Those drop-in fresheners are good but they can't work miracles. If you have mold or residue build-up (using too much detergent are we?) they aren't much more than temporary cover-up. Another option you might try is running a cycle with distilled white vinegar. It's cheap so just dump in a half gallon or a gallon of the stuff and run the hottest cycle possible. Add it after the washer starts filling. Most front load systems have a way to pause the operation and unlock the door. If yours doesn't you can try adding the vinegar to the dispenser tray a little at a time but that will probably be a tedious process. The vinegar will help dissolve any soap residue and kill off any mold. Again this isn't a cure-all. If the mold is bad enough you might need the door gasket replaced. A third option is to run a bleaching cycle. Fill every compartment in the detergent/softener/bleach tray with liquid bleach and run a HOT cycle. Make sure there aren't any clothes in the washer when you do this of course. Run another empty cycle immediately after that to make sure all the bleach is flushed out. Front load washers shake and vibrate more than top load washers. There are damper pads out there to put under the unit which will help considerably.