If you have a sleek front-load washing machine, you probably enjoy the ease of the modern design and the high-efficiency water usage for every load. However, front-loading machines can be expensive to repair if you do not maintain them well or their overall cleaning effectiveness is reduced. Here are some things you can do to make sure that your front-loader keeps working smoothly.
1. Clean the seal and the drum.
If you are noticing a distinct musty smell in your clothes even after putting them through the wash, this is a sign that you need to spend some time cleaning your machine. You might not think of it because a washing machine cleans clothes, so why should it ever get dirty? Front loaders, however, usually have a flexible rubber seal that prevents leaks while the clothes are washing. This seal can harbor residual dirt and water, which starts to grow mold and mildew if it is not washed. Mold can eventually even clog up drain holes from the gasket if you do not take care to wipe it away, leading to more standing water and more mold growth.
To prevent mold from ever growing, have some bleach wipes at the ready and simply wipe around the seal after each load. Every few weeks, take a microfiber cloth, run a bleach or soda and vinegar cleaning cycle (or follow the instructions for cleaning cycles in the owner's manual) and wipe the water out from the drum after the machine drains.
2. Use the right detergent.
Soap scum is not pretty, and if you use the wrong soap or if you use too much of the right soap, your machine will not clean as well. This is partially due to the fact that front-loading machines use a lot less water than their top-loading counterparts, so you can't rely on a machine full of water to rinse the extra soap cleanly down the drain. Excess soap can gum up the spin cycle and even clog the drain hoses of your machine, leading to costly repairs and reduced appliance lifespan. Look for detergents that are high-efficiency, or be really safe and use the pre-measured laundry soap pods.
On the same note, try to use less or no fabric softener in your wash load. Opt for fabric softener dryer sheets or for detergents that have fabric softener already added to the mix.
3. Take care of the electronics.
Modern machines are highly computerized, but that control panel is one of the more costly repairs if it ever breaks. In order to keep it working in fine fashion, do not ignore error messages from the control panel by unplugging or restarting the machine, but look up the error message and try to solve the problem before forcing the machine to jump over a perceived malfunction. Error messages are like a check-engine light: they might be nothing, but ignoring it will only make an underlying problem worse.
Be careful to wipe any spills off the control panel as soon as you can. Wipe off any spilled water or detergent immediately, and do not leave wet clothes in the washer. These increase the internal humidity of the washing machine, which can shorten the life the electronics. Finally, be sure to have any cracks, flickering, slow responses, or broken lights in the panel inspected by a repair professional, as these can indicate an impending malfunction that might be more easily fixed if caught early.
4. Clean the filter.
Almost every appliance has a filter, but the washing machine filter is one of the most ignored. You can tell if it needs to be cleaned if your spin cycle does not effectively wring the water out from the clothes, if your washing machine still has standing water, or if it takes much longer to finish a cycle (when the machine runs on sensors). The drain pump filter can get clogged with lint, hair, and foreign objects, and clearing it will prevent damage to the pump.
If you follow these tips, you are less likely to have to purchase Whirlpool appliance repair parts.