Have you ever had a washing machine break down?
Yeah, me too. Once you get used to an appliance, it is hard to be without it. I had to wash a few clothes by hand before I got the washing machine up and running again (I say me, but in reality, it was a technician).
Washing machines are not cheap. You should not have to fork out on a new appliance only for it to break down a few years later. If you have to repair one, that is not cheap either and can end up costing almost as much as the machine itself.
Well, I am here to help you fight back against planned obsolescence. We should not have to buy and know that we will need to replace it. In an ideal world, we would buy everything once. So, how can we make our washing machines last as long as possible?
We will get to that, but first, let’s look at the average lifespan of a washer.
What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Washing Machine?
A washing machine is expected to last 14 years (though, do they actually last that long?).
If you complete a load of laundry every day (or average seven loads a week), then 14 years is the length of time which it takes to do 5,100 loads of laundry. That is the point at which a washing machine should be replaced.
Of course, if you use it less than this, then a washing machine can last longer than 14 years, and if you use the washing machine more than this, then it might not last as long. There are many other things which can also affect the lifespan.
If you are washing heavy loads constantly, compared to lighter loads, then it is going to take a toll on the washer, and it may not last as long.
You will also not get as many years out of a cheap washing machine when compared to a high-quality one.
So, you are thinking of buying a washing machine, or perhaps you already have one.
How To Care For Your Washing Machine?
When you buy a washing machine, you expect it to keep working with little to no maintenance. While this should be the case, there are some small things which you can do to extend the life of your washing machine. A few minutes here and there can save you a few hundred dollars down the road.
Follow our 8 expert tips for a long-lasting washing machine.
1. Check The Hoses
When you installed your dishwasher, you would have connected hoses for hot and cold water. They are behind your washing machine but should not be forgotten about. Check them every few months for cracks and bulges, and make sure that the fittings are tight.
Keeping your hoses in great condition helps to keep your washing machine in great condition.
2. Take A Load Off
While there is a maximum load limit on your washing machine, I recommend not straying too close to it. Doing multiple smaller loads is better for your washing machine than doing fewer heavy loads.
It also means less folding when the load is done.
3. Find The Right Detergent
You may think that you can purchase any detergent (especially the stuff which is on sale), but using the recommended detergent is better for your washing machine and will help it to last longer.
That detergent is probably the same price as the one you want to buy, anyway.
4. While We Are On Detergent…
Make sure to use the correct dose of detergent. It can be tempting to use a little less to save money or just dump some in to save time, but too much will leave a residue, and too little will not clean effectively.
Do the right thing and use the correct amount of detergent.
5. Wash Your Washer
You would think that washing clothes in detergent would naturally clean the interior of your washing machine, but that is not always the case. Check the inside and wipe away any residues before they do damage. Check the dispensers too and wash them out as needed.
Pro tip: Wash a load without any clothes and with vinegar instead of detergent every couple of months to keep your washer fresh.
6. Clean The Door, Too
Every month, wipe out the inside and outside of the door, including any gaskets. They often get gummed up, and a simple wipe with a cloth can do wonders.
7. Leave The Door Open
It may sound silly, but you should leave the door open for a while after washing a load. This helps to stop any smells from developing over time.
8. Finish The Job
You’ve loaded the washing machine and set the cycle; your work is now done. Well, you still need to unload the clothes from inside and put them in the dryer (or hang them on the line), and I recommend that you do that sooner or later.
Not only will that let you air out the dryer and stop smells (see tip #7) but it will also stop mildew from growing. Wet clothes and time are just a recipe for disaster. Empty the washer straight away and be done with your work for the day.
Which Brands Are The Most Reliable?
With so many companies to choose from and so many big names out there, it can be hard to choose one. After all, aren’t the big companies all much the same? Well, not always. There are a lot of trusted suppliers out there, but some are better than others.
I took a look at some of the companies out there and rated them for longevity.
You may not have heard of Speed Queen, and I had not either until I started to investigate washing machine brands, but I am glad that I have now heard of them.
A far as washing machines go, there are few which last as long as Speed Queen washing machines. The top-end machines are rated to last for 25 years or 10,400 loads. Speed Queen also offers between 3-7 year warranties.
Durability Matters rating: 10/10
Another big name in the washing machine game, but can they come close to Speed Queen?
These machines have a life cycle of 10-15 years. If you follow the maintenance tips on my list, then I see no reason why you should not hit the upper end of this lifespan. Caring for the machine is key, and LG offers some tips:
• Clean the drum monthly
• Remove detergent from dispenser every month
• Drain the filter
• Empty lint filter regularly
Durability Matters rating: 8/10
Another trusted name in washing machines and one which will get you a decent amount of time before needing to be replaced.
You get 10-13 years with a Kenmore machine. Again, there are some things which you can do to lengthen the lifespan on your Kenmore washer, and these come straight from the manufacturer:
• Use a level surface
• Rinse dispenser drawer regularly
• Use the self-clean cycle
• Inspect water hoses
Durability Matters rating: 7.5/10
Another big name. So, how do they fare?
A GE machine may last longer than a Kenmore and, yet, it may not. The range is more specific with a GE, and you can expect to get 11 or 12 years out of a machine.
Durability Matters rating: 7.5/10
Electrolux & Frigidaire
With both brand names, you know that you are getting quality but does that quality translate into a long life:
With Electrolux and Frigidaire, you get 10 years minimum under normal use. This could mean that the washing machine will stop working after 10 years, or it could work forever. If you want it to last longer, then follow some of the manufacturer tips:
• Run the cleaning cycle when prompted
• Clean the dispenser drawer regularly
Durability Matters rating: 7/10
Maytag & Whirlpool
Another manufacturer which expects their washing machines to last for 10 years. As long as you are cleaning the machine regularly and using the self-clean cycle, you can expect it to last long-er.
Durability Matters rating: 7/10
Last, but not least, Samsung. They produce high-quality machines which can compete with the others on our list.
Again, they suggest that their washing machine will last for 10 years if used correctly. Following the maintenance guidelines will go a long way to accomplishing this.
Durability Matters rating: 7/10
When Should You Buy A New Washing Machine?
You never want to have to do it, but there will come a time when you need to buy a new washing machine. If you have followed my tips above, then that will not be for a long time but that time always comes all too soon.
Before you go out and buy a new washer, you need to make sure that you need to buy one. So, how do you know when it is time to bite the bullet?
You’ve Sprung A Leak
If you have a leak, then it may be time to buy a new washer. Before you do, check the main culprits to find out if it is an easy fix.
Check the hoses to make sure there are no cracks or holes. Check the connections too and ensure that they are tight. Have you been overfilling the machine when washing a load? That could be a culprit too.
If you have investigated and not found the source of the leak, then it could be the tub. A crack in a tub can be expensive to fix, and you are better off replacing the machine, especially if you have had the washer for a long time.
Something Smells Funny
If you have a funny smell coming from inside your washer, and you cannot get rid of it, no matter how many self-cleaning cycles you run, then you might have mold or mildew in there. If that is the case, then good luck trying to take the washing machine apart to clean it.
A funky smell which does not go away usually means that it is time to invest in a new machine.
A Troubling Noise
If your washer makes a weird noise when you use it, or makes too much noise, that can not only be annoying but is also a sign that you need to replace your washer.
If you have only had the washing machine for a short time, then you may want to investigate the noise or have someone check it out, but an older machine will probably need to be replaced. Even if the problem can be fixed, it might cost almost as much as getting a new one anyway.
Inefficiency Can Cost
Inefficient washing machines are not only a sign that they are close to the end of their life, but they also cost you money in the long run. An inefficient washing machine will use more power, costing you more on your utility bills, and will not wash the clothes as well.
If you continue to use an inefficient machine, you may as well be pouring your money down the drain. While buying a new machine is a large expense, you should do it sooner rather than later and save more.
The Wash Cycle Is Done
If you invest in quality and follow my tips, then your washing machine can last a long time, but there will come a time when it needs to be fixed or replaced. When it is time to trade in your old washing machine, think about the environment.
Your first choice should not be to take the washing machine to the dump. Some companies will recycle your machine when you buy a new one from them. There are also recycling options in your area, which you should be able to discover with a quick search.
Look after your machine, and replace it when needed. Washing machines cost, but they are worth it in the long run.