Wash the washer

Top-loading washers require little if any home maintenance, according to Huntley, but front-loading washers need more care.

Leave the door open. Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science expert Tremitchell Wright says it’s a good idea to leave your washer door open after you’ve completed a load of laundry. This will allow air to circulate in the washer, rather than trapping in moisture, which can lead to mold and mildew problems. Wright also recommends using a cleaner designed for washing machines once per month, such as Affresh tablets. He also recommends checking the door’s rubber gasket (called a bellow) to make sure it’s clean and intact.

Don’t overload it. Huntley says that overloading the washer can wear out and break some of the machine’s components more quickly than with typical usage. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maximum capacity so your washer will last longer. That goes for dryers, too.

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