8 tips for maintaining your washing machine

Key tips to remember

  • Keep it balanced
  • Get rid of dirty dispensers
  • Clean water intake filters
  • Avoid overloading
Maintenance and Repairs

People tend to be more active in the summer and that activity results in more loads of laundry.  This means running your washing machine more, and increasing your risk of costly breakdowns.
At Cinch, we believe in solving problems before they pop up. So here are eight simple, DIY washing machine maintenance tasks to help increase your machine’s lifespan, and decrease the cost of repairing it. 

  1. Stay balanced. You’ll recognize the sounds of an unbalanced washing machine by the loud jolting, scraping and thumping that send the cat scurrying for cover. It’s really important not to ignore the noise because it means there’s undue stress on the machine’s motor. Tilt it carefully back or forward to adjust the machine’s feet until it’s stable. You want it sitting on a level or even surface at all times. A carpenter’s level can help you double-check your job.
  2. Check the hardware. At least once a year, visually check all hoses, valves and fittings for cracks, leaks or corrosion. If you notice any damage, have the affected parts replaced immediately. Even if you do not detect any problems, it is a good idea to replace hoses and fittings every 4 to 5 years as preventative maintenance.
  3. Avoid overloads. The first rule of laundry is to never overload the washing machine. An overloaded machine will strain the motor and transmission, and this will significantly shorten the washer’s lifespan. Yes, it takes more time, but smaller loads mean better performance. Plus, they actually get your clothes cleaner. Win, win.
  4. Clean water intake filters. Once every few months, remove and clean water intake filters where water supply hoses connect to the washer. Be careful not to strip the plastic threads at the back of the washer.
  5. Dilute your detergent and softener. Reduce the amount of detergent and fabric softener you use, or dilute the fabric softener with water. Using too much of either can leave a residue or film inside the washer tub. Your clothes will get just as clean and soft using half the amount of detergent and fabric softener you normally use. And in general, opt for liquids over powders.
  6. Get rid of dirty dispensers. Build-up happens in the detergent, bleach and fabric softener dispensers. Many are removable, so soak them in hot water and remove the dirt that accumulates around them at the top of the machine and tub. If they are not removable, just pour hot water through them until they are clean.
  7. Rub-a-dub that tub. Periodically, run the washer empty with hot water and no soap. This cleans the tub and, if you do it every three months, practically eliminates built-up soap residue. If you have a top-loading machine, you can add white distilled vinegar (3 cups) and baking soda (1/2 cup) to the water for increased effectiveness. However, front-loading machines will not fill when they are empty. To clean a front-loading washer, add the vinegar and baking soda mixture to a couple of old, clean bath towels, toss them in and run the hot-water cycle.
  8. Remove any worry about water valves. When you go away for more than a few days, it’s best to turn off your water valves. Believe it or not, your water hoses are under pressure even when your washer is not in use. So by turning them off you can avoid the risk of burst hoses and water damage while you’re away.

Following these simple steps for maintaining your washing machine on a regular basis can help you avoid the inconvenience and expense of costly equipment breakdowns. But, you may also want to consider purchasing a home protection or home maintenance plan, which will give you the added security of knowing that if something does break down, you can get it fixed cost-effectively by a qualified service professional.

For more tips throughout the year and to learn how a home service plan can give you peace of mind, check out our homepage. We’re always here to help.


The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.