5 ways you are damaging your washing machine.

The average life expectancy of the washing machine is 11 years, manufacturers say you should be able to get 10 years out of your washing machine. Although most of us replace our home appliances after about 8 years, mainly because of wear and tear, we could get more out of our washers if we avoided these common mistakes.

1. Unzipped zippers

Zippers can cause a lot of damage to your washer, snagged or ripped clothing is the least of your worries. If left unzipped, they can catch on the drum of your washing machine, leaving scratches and they have even been suspected to be the cause of the glass panel exploding. The same is true for clothing with metal fastenings with sharp edges, for example, your favourite jacket.

Solution: Make sure all zippers are completely zipped and where possible, hand wash items which have metal attachments with sharp edges.

2. Not replacing the washing machine hose

Waking up to a flooded house cannot be pleasant. After a while, the washing machine hose can get brittle and could burst. Inspect your washing machine hose regularly to make sure they don't have any cracks in them.

Solution: Replacing the washing machine hose every three to five years.

3. Using too much detergent

Using too much detergent will not help to make the clothes cleaner or smell fresher. According to Mary Gagliardi a scientist at The Cloroc Company, using too much detergent could stain your clothes and leave them dingy. Because it constantly has to stop to break down the excess residue, the pump and motor of the machine eventually get damaged.

Solution: Check if you have hard water and adjust your detergent use accordingly. Alternatively, get a washing machine water softener.

4. Leaving wet clothes in your washing machine

The worst thing for your clothes is to leave them in the washer when the washing cycle is done. Leaving wet clothes in the washer can cause mould to set in and this will lead to unpleasant odours. That odd smell coming from the washer is mould and mildew which are a result of damp clothes as well as dirt and other residue left in the machine.

Solution: Take the clothes out of the washer as soon as the cycle is done and leave the washing machine door open, to air it out.

5. Never cleaning your washing machine

You wonder why your washing machine just doesn't leave clothes as clean as you would expect, it might be because over time your washing machine has accumulated residue from soap and other minerals in detergents. So when you put a wash cycle in, the machine will spend time trying to break down the residue, and your clothes will be left just a little bit cleaner than they were when you put them in.

Solution: Proper washing machine maintenance is the key to cleaning, descaling and general upkeep of your machine.

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