How to Ensure Your Washing Machine Will Get Clothes Really Clean - dummies

How to Ensure Your Washing Machine Will Get Clothes Really Clean

By Gill Chilton

Proper stain removal and clean clothes are a necessity. Unfortunately, life sometimes throws us an occasional disaster. Especially when you’re up against time, it can sometimes seem that there is so much that can go wrong with this area of domestic life! Your washing-machine is subject to water problems, detergent and conditioner build-up, and other problems that make it function with decreasing efficiency.

Sixty per cent of the UK, as well as some areas in the US, has hard water. As well as meaning that you have to use more detergent to create effective suds, there’s the risk that limescale deposits may build up on water pipes. Over time, the limescale clogs up the pipes.

If you notice that your pipes are slow to drain, use a limescale shifter. White vinegar is another option. Simply pour around 500 millilitres (2 cups) into the wash-powder dispenser, and run an empty cycle on hot.

If your washer has a filter, clean it after every wash. In a front-loading machine, look for the door at the base of the machine and before you open it place a shallow bowl underneath, ready to catch any drips. Unscrew the filter, then give it a quick clean under a tap before putting it back.

Fabric conditioner can quickly clog the dispenser. Simply pull out the drawer if you can and wash in the sink. If you can’t detach the dispenser, leave it where it is and pour in neat (undiluted) white vinegar and run an empty machine cycle.

Don’t forget the drawer recess. Every few months use an old toothbrush to clean out detergent residue.

Use neat (undiluted) white vinegar to shift partially dissolved powder tablets in the dispenser. To avoid this, lay tablets flat, rather than as a stack.

When it’s below freezing outside, don’t run a washing-machine in an area with exceptionally cold temperatures. If you suspect water pipes are frozen, turn off the water taps and run a wash programme for a few seconds only. Unscrew the inlet hoses and position the rear drain hose so that it drips into a bowl. Run the rinse or drain programme to run water through and shift the ice.

Running the hottest wash programme (cycle) with a generous amount of detergent, but no clothes, easily shifts stains inside the drum.

Prevent stagnant water smells inside the drum by emptying clothes promptly. Between washes, leave the door ajar or lid open. This also helps the door seal last longer.

Trapped wire from underwired bras is a popular reason to call for the washing-machine engineer (repairperson). So hand wash wire bras.

Turn down the volume on noisy washers by standing the machine on a rigid support base, such as thick chipboard. Machines standing on carpet or sprung wood floors will get a whole load quieter. Make sure the base is a few centimetres (inches) larger than the machine, so that it won’t fall off during a violent spin cycle.