Washing machine and dryer maintenance tips

Key tips to remember

  • Invest in a Cinch home protection plan
  • Perform daily maintenance chores
  • Perform annual maintenance tasks
  • Follow some simple tricks to ensure longevity of your washer and dryer

Imagine if you had to wash all of your family's clothing by hand? That would certainly be a time-consuming and tedious chore. In addition,  the process would take even longer if you had to let the clothes air-dry.

Clothes washers and dryers have relieved homeowners of these tasks, but you're just one mechanical problem away from hand-washing your household's clothes. Keep yourself from having to spend hours wringing out shirts and pants, and instead, use these maintenance tasks to keep your washer and dryer in pristine condition.

Invest in Cinch

Before you do anything else, make sure to purchase a Cinch home protection plan. Even if your washer and dryer are brand new, there will likely come a day when one of the appliances has a mechanical problem. When this happens, you'll be grateful that you have Cinch and won't have to pay for expensive repair or replacement bills. Depending on what coverage option you choose, your other major appliances and systems may be protected as well.

Daily chores

There are certain tasks you should complete every time you do a load of laundry. These will help ensure you're properly using the appliances and not doing anything to compromise their performance.

  • Check that your washer is on level footing. If it’s uneven, it won’t run properly.

  • As you're loading clothes into the drum, be sure to check pockets for any loose items that could get lodged in the machine. This includes coins, pens, pins, paper clips and more.

  • Double-check that you're using the right type and amount of detergent. Premeasured pods may seem convenient, but they can actually be harmful to certain washing machines.

  • After the cycle has finished, immediately transfer the clothes into the dryer to prevent mold or mildew from forming in the washer.

  • Make sure that you clear out the lint screen before and after each dryer load.

Annual maintenance

Once every six months or so, you'll want to thoroughly clean out the lint trap of your dryer. If too much dust and debris builds up, a house fire could easily start. To complete this chore, This Old House recommends using a snorkel brush or the crevice tool on your vacuum. Pull out as much lint as you can with your tool and then use a flashlight to ensure the trap is clean.

You'll also want to clean your dryer's ductwork at the same time. Disconnect the tube from the dryer, and use a brush to remove any dust that has built up inside. Vacuum off the exterior vent as needed. This Old House suggests using aluminum tape to secure any duct seams once you're finished.

Tips to increase longevity

In addition to these regular maintenance tasks, there are a number of helpful habits you should get into. The following tricks can help increase the longevity of your washer and dryer.

  • Leave the lid of the washer drum open between loads. This will allow the machine to dry out and reduce the chance of mildew or mold growing.

  • Replace washer hoses every five years. Choose metal-braided hoses instead of plastic ones to reduce the likelihood of a leak.

  • Be careful not to overload the washing machine. This will extend the life of the motor and help to conserve energy.

  • Shut off the water supply to your washer before leaving for vacation. Constant water pressure in unused hoses can lead to leaks.

If you follow these instructions, your washer and dryer will stay in good condition and help keep your home looking sharp for years to come.


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.

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