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marmoset's avatar

Home Washer/Dryer tips?

Asked by marmoset (1260points) October 19th, 2020 from iPhone

Soon I’ll have my own washer & dryer for the first time. I know the most important thing (clean the lint filter every time) but what are some other things you wish you’d known when you first got these?

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28 Answers

janbb's avatar

If you set your dryer on the Permanent Press or any medium setting and take the clothes out as soon as they are dry, you don’t need to worry about ironing anything. You can hand smooth out t-shirts if they need and hang up or fold regular tops and shirts.

zenvelo's avatar

Don’t wash or dry too small a load. The washer can get out of balance if not a sufficient load. The dryer won’t dry as well if there aren’t enough things to make it all tumble.

Also, I have found timed drying works better than whatever sensor is supposed to control a lot of dryers.

hmmmmmm's avatar

Congrats! I still don’t take it for granted to have a washer and dryer. Such amazing devices.

- If you get a front-loading washer, keep it open when you’re not running it. They can grow mold or mildew.
– Also, if you get a front-loading washer, take @zenvelo‘s suggestion. You can really pack those things and get a ton of wash done in a single load.
– Definitely clean the lint in between each load.
– If you have a gas-powered dryer, respect the exhaust pipe. Make sure it never comes loose and blows into your room/basement (carbon monoxide).

KNOWITALL's avatar

All good advice here, especially leaving the washer lid open to dry-just like your coffeepot.

I’d also recommend clearing and checking the washer drain twice a year as well as the dryer exhaust vent to outside to prevent fire.

Malt vinegar is much cheaper. What can you clean with vinegar? ... Cleaning the washing machine – Over time the washing machine (which never drains fully) can get a build-up of lime scale and soap scum. Every few weeks/months use a pint of white vinegar and run the machine through a full cycle whilst empty.

Also to freshen up the dryer at least once a year:
Simply dip a cloth in a bowl of vinegar and wipe down the inside of the dryer.

Pandora's avatar

Well, the first thing I will tell you is don’t buy a front-loading washer.
The second thing is to buy a washer without all the bells and whistles. I still buy ones with a spin dial. Most are made larger and they don’t break down as easily and when they do they are actually easier to fix for common problems and I find last a heck of a long time and clean just as well as the really expensive ones.

Don’t over dry your towels, it tends to make them stiff.

Liquid fabric softer piles on your clothing and builds up in your washer and can irritate allergy sufferers. Use fabric sheets with no perfumes.

As already mentioned, the exhaust for the lint is also very important. Check it every couple of months to see how bad it is. It usually will be okay unless you run things that have a lot of lint. (A good hint that your exhaust needs cleaning is that your clothing will take longer to dry.

Too much detergent will also make clothes stiff and bleaching should only be used when necessary. Bleach destroys clothing.

Never let wet clothing sit in a washer for a few days. It will smell like mold and take a couple of washes to get rid of the smell or a lot of bake soda or vinegar. (not together)

If you live by a beach area and get a lot of sand on your clothing, thoroughly shake it out before putting it in the wash if you have an agitator. The sand will destroy the spinner. Learned that when my husband was a drill instructor. In a few short months, my spinner gears wore away.
Read labels on your stuff. If it says not to put it in a dryer it doesn’t mean you can’t. You just can’t use heat on it.

If you have something go in the dryer that is very fluffy, then halfway through the cycle, stop it and retrieve the lint that has build-up or it will take you much longer to dry.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

If you have a long run for the dryer exhaust, or even if you don’t, use aluminum rigid pipe not plastic wire wound tubes for exhaust. Less chance of clogs and fires.

snowberry's avatar

Don’t use too much detergent! It builds up and overtime creates a stinky smell. It can be very hard to get rid of. Soft water will reduce the amount of detergent you’ll need, and will extend the life of the washer.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Understand that it is the clothes agitating against each other that scrubs them. So you don’t want to pack too much in the because they won’t be able to move well.

When you wash sheets, don’t wrap them around the agitator. Go about ½ way around then back the other way.

Jeruba's avatar

Check all the pockets of everything every time. One Kleenex in the works can cover a lot of territory. So can chocolate.

The dryer really doesn’t need to be run very hot to do its job.

Bedsheets in the dryer tend to knot and twist, and may also get other things wound up in them. So check in after 20–30 minutes and untangle everything, and then resume.

JLeslie's avatar

Don’t overstuff the washer or dryer, the clothes need to be able to move a little to wash and dry well.

Be very careful with the color red! It too often bleeds and turns everything else pink.

Separate dark cloths and light for separate washes.

If you use bleach for a white wash, make the next wash you do another white or very light wash.

Don’t let the clothes sit damp for a long time, they can get a mildew smell that is almost impossible to get out. You will smell it every time the clothes get wet.

Leave the washer door open after you finish to let the drum air out and dry.

Jeruba's avatar

Oh, yes, definitely watch out for reds, as @JLeslie says. I generally don’t wash anything else with reds (of which I have few until right after Christmas), unless it’s darker than the reds and/or don’t-care, such as aged and faded jeans.

Sorting your laundry is important. I had a friend who never did get the hang of sorting laundry. All her kids’ clothes were about the same shade of purplish gray because she just threw everything in all together.

I do these groups:

cold-gentle delicates
cold-gentle other (such as dark T-shirts I want to keep from fading)

I keep heavy things like towels separate from things I’d like to see come out smooth, such as men’s shirts.

When I do the bathroom rugs, I run a machine cleaning cycle afterward and before I do anything else. Also, I don’t put rubber-backed rugs in the dryer.

janbb's avatar

Also, to continue @Jeruba ‘s advice, don’t put cottons in the dryer at a high temperature or they’ll shrink and don’t put things with elastic, like bras, in the dryer or they won’t last as long.

JLeslie's avatar

I use lingerie mesh bags for items I need to be careful with including items like shirts that can’t go in the dryer so I don’t accidently put them in. If you have a lot of the bags you can even use them as soon as you wear the shirt, and put them in the dirty laundry in the mesh bag. I tend to just throw everything in the washer and dryer, while my MIL goes piece by piece painstakingly. I need a cue to keep me from ruining my clothes.

The mesh bags can be used for delicates also of course like undergarments.

Zip up your slacks and shorts so the zipper does not easily catch on other garments.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Pandora I wish I would have looked at the reviews before I bought mine. I go to extra length to keep the door open, but even in the hottest weather, the mold grows in the crazy double layer rubber ring they put on it.

Brian1946's avatar

After you clean your dryer filter, put it back in the slot, and run your dryer with no load for 1–2 minutes.

The unimpeded airflow should help clear any residual lint that’s accumulated in the exhaust pipe.

After you’ve done this, put your hand in the path of the exhaust pipe outflow. You should feel a good, strong airflow exiting the pipe. I’d say the outflow should feel like a strong breeze.

JLeslie's avatar

I have a front loader that gets moldy like they all do, and if I run the sanitizing cycle, which is extra hot water, it gets rid of all of the yucky stuff. I wish I had known this the first few years I owned it. It really is like magic. I have had my washer and dryer 15 years now. Also, on front loaders, if that is what you are getting, there is a door at the bottom to drain the water out and clean up the yucky stuff that settles in the line. I do it once every 3 years or so. I should do it more, but some people never do it, so I figure I am ahead.

With top loaders I never had any issue though, so I probably will buy a top loader next time.

YARNLADY's avatar

@JLeslie I certainly will. I was told the front loader doesn’t twist the clothes up, instead “tumbles them” but it does roll them up. They lied.

JLeslie's avatar

@YARNLADY My clothes don’t get very twisted. I find front loader better for delicates, but for sweaty smelly clothes they aren’t adequate unless you can add extra water. Some of them have a bulky setting, which accomplishes that I think. Even top loaders that are HE can have that same problem. Sometimes you need the clothes to soak like the old days. That’s how a lot of y friends and I feel about it anyway.

marmoset's avatar

Wow thank you for all the great responses – I’m learning a lot! I don’t get to choose the models (I know they’re front-loading and new as of last year)

filmfann's avatar

If you are on a septic system, only use liquid detergent.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

When cleaning the lint from the dryer grab a little bit of the lint, and it will stick to the other lint. The lint will come off easy.

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Dutchess_III's avatar

Teach your kids how to run the washing machine as a 13th birthday present. They’ll be honored and enthusiastic. For about 2 weeks.

LuckyGuy's avatar

If you have natural gas your appliances are probably 110 volts, the “normal” size electrical outlet. I add an electrical surge protector to reduce the chance of a surge from a neighborhood lightning strike or power failure from damaging the circuit board. That is the part that fails more often and it is usually expensive to fix.
Spend $10 to $14 for a plug in device that has a light on it to show it’s working. Consider the purchase insurance.
Here is an example: Lowes . If that won’t fit get one with more outlets. Many styles and shapes are available.

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RocketGuy's avatar

@Dutchess_III – when our older girl was in 4th grade, she complained that she didn’t have pants to wear: her favorite pair was in the hamper and we hadn’t washed them for her. And she didn’t want to wear the clean pants that she had. That resulted in the laundry lesson early.

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