Home & Garden

10 tips to extend your washing machine's lifespan

The longevity of a washer and dryer has a lot to do with proper use and care.

How you use and care for them will affect their efficiency and life span.

Here are 10 tips to help you get the most out of your laundry appliances.

1. Look for a Moisture Sensor: When buying a new dryer, look for a moisture sensor that automatically will shut off the machine when clothes are dry.

2. Don't Overdry: Overdrying wastes energy and reduces the lifespan of your clothes.

3. Keep it Clean: Clean out dispensers and attachments at least once a month.

4. Wipe it Down: Wipe the glass and door gaskets dry after each load, paying particular attention to folds and crevices.

5. Read the Manual: Manuals make for the most boring reading on Earth, but it's important you know the ins and outs of your appliances.

Different machines have difference requirements. For example, some washer manuals suggest regularly running an empty load with bleach. Others suggest wiping around and under the bleach dispenser to catch any spills, then running another load to eliminate any residual bleach.

6. Crack the Door: Unless you have small children who could climb into the washer, leave the door open a crack after each load so the drum can dry.

7. Forget the Affresh Tablets: They're supposed to prevent odors by removing dirt and detergent but residue frequently remains after use.

8. Clean Ducts and Screens: Lint buildup reduces the effectiveness of dryers, making them work harder and longer and costing more money.

9. Vent Dryers Properly: Flexible plastic or metal ducts trap lint when they sag or bend, creating a fire hazard. Look for flexible or solid-metal ducts.

10. Prep for Vacations: If you plan on being away from home for an extended period, unplug your washer and dryer and turn off the water supply to the washer. This helps avoid accidental flooding due to a water pressure surge.

When it becomes time to buy that new washer and dryer, shop at stores like Home Depot, Sears and Best Buy that have frequent free shipping codes for these products.

* For more savings tips, check out FreeShipping.org's "Go Frugal" blog at www.freeshipping.org/blog