7 Tricks to Maintain an Older Top-Load Washer

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Most washing machines come with the house. Whether you’re renting or buying, there’s a good chance you didn’t pick the washer you’re working with. This is often the reason why so many households have surprisingly old appliances. While front-load washers are the latest trend in high-tech laundry entertainment, a great many homes still have older top-loading models.

If your household is among them, keeping your washer in good condition can be a challenging task. Between balancing loads and listening for troubling sounds, top-load washer maintenance doesn’t have to be hard. Not if you know the tricks to keep the washer both clean and functioning efficiently. 

Secure Your Washer Position

One of the first things you can do is make sure your washing machine does not scrape against something nearby or “walk” across the floor. When a washing machine shakes, this can be for a number of reasons but the solutions are often the same. The best place to start with a heavy appliance is from the ground up.

Check out your washer’s feet. Get the bubble level and adjust the feet if your washer is not level. If the washer’s feet are covered in debris or are slick from constant rubbing against the floor, it may be time to clean and pad them with no-slip foam. 

Vibration Pads or Drape a Blanket

If your washer vibrates and creates a sound like rattling or clacking when it runs, you may need vibration padding as well. You can prevent your washer from shaking against another subject by temporarily placing vibration padding on the washer.

In addition to no-slip feet, vibration padding helps to keep your washer safe and in place. A draped quilt is almost as effective as adhesive pads. 

Wipe Down the Top and Panel Regularly

Cleanliness is surprisingly important to appliance maintenance. A clean appliance can very clearly display if something is wrong. Keeping an appliance clean can also help every moving and stationary part remain gunk-free and performing optimally. One of the biggest cleanliness problems for a washing machine is the lid and top panel. Between detergent drips and dampened dust, the top of your washer gets unreasonably dirty for a clean-clothes machine.

Make sure to clean the top of your washer regularly, especially top-load washers where dirt on the outside could get onto dryer-bound clean clothes coming out. 

Balance Every Load in a Circular Pattern

When you fill the washer with a load of laundry, think about the distribution of weight in the drum. You don’t want one side of the drum to become unbalanced or the weight will throw off the whole spin. This results in rhythmic clanging and internal scraping noises, some of which can be quite startling.

Even if your old washer model is prone to unbalancing and making a ton of noise, you can significantly reduce the risks by making sure every load you push into the machines is correct.

Be particularly careful with bulky items like blankets. These will try to load in unevenly and you must load them consciously to avoid any consequences. Make sure the blanket is going in longways and very loosely wrap the blanket around the center post. If you are loading in additional like sheets or pillowcases, be sure they are also part of the weight distribution plan inside your washing machine. 

Affix Detergent to Dispense From a Shelf Above

Laundry detergent is something we all need a lot of. It’s not uncommon to go through laundry detergent quickly. Load after load of laundry is washed and how you add the soap can really start to add up. Do you heft a giant bag? Do you toss in a laundry pod?

We very strongly suggest placing your detergent on a shelf above your washer. Get the type of detergent bottle with the dispensing spigot on one end. Hang that spigot-end over the edge of the shelf until it is perfectly lined up to dispense detergent into the open laundry top. This is one of the greatest conveniences of a top-loading washer if you know how to use it. If necessary, build yourself a shelf for the purpose. 

Use a Wet Cloth to Clean Detergent Drips and Spills

Detergent can make a mess. When it does, wiping it up with a paper towel isn’t going to do it. Take it from a team with experience. When you need to clean up detergent, especially old gummy dried detergent, you need a wet towel.  Soak a corner of towel in water (hot or cold) and scrub at the detergent on the top, sides, or inside the lid of your washer. We know detergent splashes around sometimes, and this is the way to fix it.

Use a combination of water and pressure to remove the detergent. The water will soften and dissolve it while the towel will help scrub it clear and then pick up the slippery detergent left behind. 

Rinse and Scrub the Detergent Cup Monthly

The detergent cup is a maintenance task that is often overlooked. It seems ridiculous that an area made to hold soap and cleared on a regular basis would get dirty or need to be cleaned, but it really does. Residue from the soap, fabric softener and any other additives can build up in the detergent cup over time. Eventually, your washer’s function may even be hindered by a closed valve blocked with old dried soap.

A strong rinse with hot water and a touch of vinegar can do the trick. Wash and scrub out your detergent cup about once a month. Many detergent cups can be removed and run through the dishwasher.

—Taking good care of an old washing machine is something anyone can do with the right know-how. These regular maintenance tips will keep the machine in a relatively good working order. If your washer stops working or starts making unusual noises, please contact us. We’d be happy to help you hunt down the problem at home or we’ll send out a technician to help.

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