Relatively speaking, laundry is a pretty easy chore. Sure, you sort, treat, and fold, but your machines do most of the heavy lifting. However, be wary of shortcuts: Making these mistakes with your washer can waste time and energy, compromise cleaning, and damage your garments.
1. Overloading your machine
Today’s washing machines are bigger than ever and it’s tempting to cram in “just one more” thing — but don’t. Even large-capacity machines have their limits. When they’re too full, water and detergent won’t reach everything, dirt gets trapped, and clothing doesn’t get clean. Plus, overloading causes unnecessary wear on your washer, and excess fabric wrinkling.
2. Guesstimating how much detergent to use
To get the best clean, it’s important to follow your detergent’s directions and measure it. Forgo measuring and you decrease cleaning performance, whether you add too little or too much. (Though, it is OK to use a bit more for very dirty loads, or if you’re washing in hard water.)
3. Sticking to the same cycles and settings
One cycle just doesn’t fit all. You probably use the “Regular” or “Delicate” cycles most often, but other settings and options are worth exploring, too. They offer extra rinses for bulky items, hotter water for better stain removal and whitening, and even slower agitation for less wrinkling.
4. Forgetting to flush out the dispensers
Your machine probably has at least one dispenser for fabric softener, detergent, or both, and it needs cleaning. Remove and rinse them often, and at the end of the cycle, leave the detergent drawer open so any residual water evaporates (otherwise, it could cause odors).
5. Not replacing rubber hoses with braided ones
If you can’t (or don’t) turn off the water to your machine when you’ve finished doing laundry, the most important thing you can do to prevent a burst hose is replace standard rubber ones with braided ones. Braided hoses are more durable and don’t dry out, crack, and split, like rubber hoses can. It’s an easy and smart fix.