Did you know that, according to an article written by Nationwide Insurance, dryers and washing machines were involved in one out of every 22 home fires reported to U.S. fire departments between 2006 and 2010? Pretty crazy, huh? Did you know that the leading cause of these fires is failure to clean the dryer of dust, fiber, and lint? Believe it or not, lint is highly flammable. This combined with the fact that it can also reduce airflow poses a fire hazard in clothes dryers.

Your washer and dryer are also typically some of the most expensive appliances in your home. Without showing them proper care, you could be severely shortening the lifespans of these already hard-working appliances, costing yourself hundreds or thousands of dollars sooner than anticipated.

All this headache and danger can be avoided by taking a few extra steps to ensure your washer and dryer are clean and working properly.

  1. Start things off right! It may save you a little money to install your washer and dryer yourself, but if you don’t have experience doing this, it is worth it to have them installed by a professional! Ensuring everything is hooked up properly and safely will save you more money in long run than you would save by installing the appliances yourself.


  1. Get rid of lint. I know it’s tempting to push it off until the next load, or the next, or the next…, but always, always clean your lint filter before each load of laundry! This is a huge fire hazard! New clothes or towels especially create a lot of lint, clogging your filter sooner than older items.


  1. Ventilation is key. Your dryer vent, located outside of your home, can become clogged by lint build-up or even a bird’s nest or small animals. While a load of clothes is in your dryer, go outside and check to make sure air is coming out. If it isn’t, stop the dryer and check for blockages.


  1. Don’t forget about the exhaust duct! Your dryer’s exhaust duct runs from the back of the appliance to the wall and outside to your dryer vent. Check it for lint or debris, but before you make any changes to the duct, make sure you consult a professional first!


  1. Prevent buildup. When you’re finished doing laundry for the day, dry the washer door and gaskets, and leave the door open so any remaining moisture can dry. Also, don’t forget to remove damp clothes promptly. Both practices will prevent mold and mildew buildup.


  1. Stay balanced. There are small adjustable feet beneath your washer. Always make sure the washer is level and properly balanced. If it’s not, this can throw off your washer’s spin cycle. Trust me, the sound of an unbalanced washer basket banging around is not one you want echoing through your house!


  1. Protect yourself from water damage! Inspect the hoses that run water to and from your washing machine for cracks and leaks. If these hoses were to burst, they would spill hundreds of gallons of water an hour, destroying your laundry room/closet and even the rest of your home! If they are damaged, replace them immediately, but if not, replaces these hoses every five years.


Next time you’re doing laundry or cleaning your home, keep these tips in mind and follow them! When your washer and dryer work better and last longer, you’ll be glad you went the extra mile to care for them.

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