A Complete Guide on Washing Machine Maintenance

Every appliance requires maintenance to avoid major problems in its operation. Washing machine also requires maintenance and there are many aspects to it.

Washing machine maintenance involves the following aspects:

  • Understanding the type of washing machine and its basic working
  • Proper usage of the washing machine
  • Post-wash care
  • Regular cleaning and Routine Inspections
  • Troubleshooting
  • Part Replacements

If you own a washing machine, it is important to understand and know all these aspects to maintain the washer properly. We will go through each of these and find out how to maintain a washing machine.

Washing Machine Maintenance

Washing Machine Maintenance

Let us get to know each and every aspect of washing machine maintenance and how to perform it in the best way.

Understanding the washing machine types and their working

There are different types of washing machines available and you must know the type you are using. It is essential to understand this because different machines have different maintenance routines. 

Popularly we have the top-load and front-load machines and their mode of operation is different. So, you must also know how washing machines work to prevent improper usage and do better maintenance of the appliance. 

Apart from these, your washer can have unique features according to the brand you are using. So, you can refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations on how to maintain that particular washing machine. The user manual gives you a brief understanding of the washer and you can get tips and guides to repair and troubleshoot.

So, having a basic understanding of the type of washing machine you own and how it operates is the first step in the maintenance of your washer. 

Now we shall understand how to properly use your washing machine so that you can reduce many problems that may arise in a washing machine.

Proper Usage of the Washing Machine

None of us like to repair an appliance frequently. We expect it to work for a considerable amount of years without any major issues. This goes for washing machines too. 

Primarily, you must know the right way to handle the washing machine. Because proper usage and handling of the washer ensures prolonged life. 

When it comes to proper usage of your washing machine, there are some common do’s and don’ts you must follow. These instructions are common for all types and brands of washing machines.


  • Read the Manual: Always read the manufacturer’s manual for specific instructions regarding your washing machine model.
  • Load Properly: Ensure you’re loading the washing machine correctly, neither overloading it nor underloading it. Both can cause issues.
  • Use the Right Detergent: Use the type and amount of detergent recommended for your machine type. High-efficiency models, for instance, require a special detergent formulation.
  • Clean Regularly: Perform regular maintenance cleaning, including wiping down the door, cleaning out the lint filter, and running cleaning cycles as recommended.
  • Inspect Hoses: Check the water hoses for signs of wear or leakage as part of routine maintenance.
  • Balance Your Machine: Make sure your machine is level on the ground to avoid vibrations, which can cause wear and tear.
  • Empty Pockets: Check and empty pockets before washing to prevent small items from getting lodged in the machine.
  • Sort Laundry: Separate light and heavy garments, as mixing them can throw off the balance of the load.
  • Use Mesh Bags: Use mesh bags for smaller items like socks and underwear to prevent them from getting stuck in the washer.
  • Promptly Remove Clothes: Remove your clothes soon after the cycle ends to prevent wrinkles and mildew growth.
  • Leave the Door Open After Use: Allow the drum to air out by leaving the door open after use, preventing mold and odors.


  • Don’t Overload: Avoid stuffing too many clothes into the washer, as it strains the motor and can prevent clothes from being cleaned properly.
  • Don’t Use Excessive Detergent: Using more detergent than needed can result in residue buildup in both your clothes and the machine.
  • Don’t Ignore Maintenance: Regular cleaning and maintenance are critical; don’t wait for a problem to develop before checking on your machine’s health.
  • Don’t Ignore Unusual Noises: If your machine is making strange sounds, don’t ignore them. It could be a sign of an unbalanced load or a more serious mechanical issue.
  • Don’t Neglect the Rubber Seals: The seals around the door can develop mold or mildew; don’t forget to wipe them down regularly.
  • Don’t Wash Heavy Carpets or Rubber Mats: These can cause excessive strain on the motor and unbalance the drum.
  • Don’t Leave Wet Clothes: Leaving wet clothes in the drum encourages mildew and odor.
  • Don’t Mix Chemicals without Knowledge: Mixing bleach with other laundry chemicals can create harmful gases or degrade the integrity of your machine’s components.
  • Don’t Slam the Door: Treat the door with care to avoid damaging the locking mechanism.
  • Don’t Ignore Error Codes: If your machine displays an error code, don’t disregard it. Check the manual or contact a technician if needed.

Now that we have understood how to properly use and handle the washing machine, let us find out how to take care of the washing machine after a wash cycle.

Post-Wash Care of Washing Machine

Most of the time we don’t take care of the washer after every wash cycle. Sometimes we even forget to take the clothes out of the washer and it might lead to bad odor. So, here are some of the things you must do after every wash cycle with your washing machine.

  • Remove Clothes Promptly: Don’t leave damp clothes in the machine for an extended period after the cycle has ended. This practice helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew inside the drum.
  • Leave the Door Open: After removing your clothes, keep the washing machine door slightly open for a few hours to allow moisture to evaporate. It helps in preventing mold and bad odors from developing.
  • Clean the Door Seal: Use a dry cloth to wipe around the washer drum’s door seal to remove any water and detergent residue, preventing mildew growth.
  • Wipe Down the Drum: Even though it’s regularly filled with water, the drum can still use a good wipe-down after a cycle to remove any soap scum or residue from the wash.
  • Empty the Lint Filter (If applicable): Some washing machines have lint filters that need to be cleared out regularly. Check your manual to see if this applies to your model.
  • Clean the Detergent Dispenser: Detergent and fabric softener can build up in the dispenser drawer. Remove the drawer if possible and clean it with hot, soapy water to remove traces of laundry products.
  • Check Hoses and Fittings: Make sure there are no leaks in the hoses or fittings after running a cycle. Catching a leak early can prevent water damage.
  • Run an Empty Cycle: Every once in a while, especially if you notice a lingering musty smell, run an empty hot water cycle with a washing machine cleaner or white vinegar to sanitize the drum and clear out any unseen residue.
  • Inspect the Exterior: Wipe down the exterior of the machine to keep it looking clean. Also, check for any signs of leaks or wear.

Now let us find out how to do a regular cleaning of the washing machine so that we can easily maintain it for many years.

Regular Cleaning and Routine Inspections of the Washing Machine

Regular cleaning of your washing machine is essential for its performance, longevity, and the overall freshness of your laundry. You can perform this cleaning routine monthly and some of the cleaning routines weekly. 

Monthly Deep Cleaning 

  • Run an empty hot water cycle with a washing machine cleaner, or you can use a natural cleaner like white vinegar and baking soda.
  • Add the cleaning solution directly into the drum or the detergent dispenser, depending on your machine’s settings and the cleaner’s instructions.
  • If using natural cleaners, pour two cups of white vinegar into the drum, then run a normal cycle at high heat without any clothes. After the cycle, sprinkle half a cup of baking soda and run another hot cycle to address any residues.

Cleaning the Detergent Dispenser

  • Remove the detergent dispenser drawer and soak it in hot, soapy water to loosen up the detergent and fabric softener residues.
  • Use an old toothbrush or a soft brush to scrub the dispenser thoroughly.
  • Rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry before replacing it.

Maintaining the Washing Machine Drum

  • After running the cleaning cycle, use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe around the inside of the drum, removing any remaining residue.
  • Pay attention to removing any fibers or debris caught in the drum holes.

Inspecting and Cleaning the Door Seal and Gasket

  • Use a damp cloth or a mildew cleaner to clean around the seal and gasket of the door, where moisture can settle and cause mold and bad odors.
  • Pull back the seal gently to check for foreign objects or trapped water residue.

Inspecting and Cleaning the Water Inlet Filters

  • Locate the water inlet filters where the water hoses connect to the washing machine. Turn off the water supply before doing this.
  • Remove the filters, soak them in warm water, and clean them gently to remove any sediment build-up. If they’re too clogged, you might need to replace them.

Inspecting and Cleaning the Lint Filter

  • Not all models have this, but if yours does, refer to the manual for the filter’s location. It’s usually within the drum or at the end of the drainage hose.
  • Remove any lint or debris, rinse the filter under hot water, and replace it properly.

Wiping the Exterior   

  • Most of us don’t care about the exterior. However, it is important to wipe the exterior weekly once to keep the washing machine clean.
  • Use a mild soap solution and a soft cloth to wipe down the machine’s exterior, paying attention to the buttons and the underside of the lid.

Checking the Hoses and Replacing it

  • Regularly inspect the water supply hoses for signs of wear or weakness, particularly at the connections.
  • Look for kinks, cracks, or any sign of damage, and replace the hose if necessary.

Air Out the Machine

  • After washing, keep the machine’s door slightly open, allowing the interior to air dry. This prevents mold growth and avoids unpleasant smells.
  • If your laundry area is humid, consider using a dehumidifier or increase ventilation.

Inspect Electrical Cords and Plugs

  • Look over the electrical cords for any damage or signs of wear.
  • Confirm that the plug is securely inserted into the outlet.

Regular maintenance like this not only prolongs your machine’s life but also ensures your laundry is always fresh and your machine is hygienic. Always refer to your machine’s user manual for any specific instructions regarding maintenance.

Let us now find out some of the common troubleshooting and repairs you can do with your washing machine.

Common Troubleshooting for a Washing Machine

Although this varies from type to type, we have listed out some of the common troubleshooting you can do for your washing machine. This helps you to understand the issue with your washer and DIY the repairs. 

Machine Won’t Start

Your washing machine might not start or turn on due to a number of reasons. If you find your washer in this situation, you can follow these troubleshooting methods:

  • Check if the appliance is plugged in and if the socket works.
  • Ensure the door is properly closed.
  • Look at the circuit breaker to make sure the power is connected.
  • Review the settings to make sure the correct wash cycle is selected and starting properly.
  • Inspect the washing machine’s timer to confirm it’s working correctly.

Not Filling with Water or Overfilling

The washer might have an issue with the water inlet valve or the control unit which causes overfilling of the water or not filling properly. Sometimes the washer leaks water inside the tub. So, in such cases, check out these simple troubleshooting options.

  • Confirm that the water supply valves are open and the hoses are not kinked.
  • Clean the water inlet filters to ensure they’re not clogged with debris.
  • Check the water level control or switch for proper operation if the machine is overfilling.
  • Examine the tub for leakages if the machine is not filling to the correct level.

Washer Won’t Spin or Agitate

If you find your washer is not spinning or the washer is not agitating properly, here are some simple fixes:

  • Ensure the lid or door is closed securely, as most washers won’t spin unless they sense that the door is closed.
  • Check for excessive loading and redistribute the clothes inside the drum.
  • Verify that the drive belts are intact and tensioned correctly.
  • Inspect the motor coupler, which connects the motor to the washing machine transmission.

Water Not Draining

If there is an issue with your drain system of the washer, this might happen frequently. Also, it can be caused due to blocks in the drain filters. Use these troubleshooting methods to fix them:

  • Examine the drain hose for clogs or debris.
  • Check the pump filter (if applicable) and clean out any debris.
  • Investigate the drain pump for blockages or possible malfunctions.
  • Make sure the drain hose is properly installed, especially if the washer is newly set up.

Excessive Vibration or Noise

Improper balancing of the washer or tumbling of things other than laundry inside the washer can create vibration and noise. With these troubleshooting steps, you can get rid of the noise.

  • Confirm the machine is level on the ground and properly balanced.
  • Check inside the drum for any foreign objects like coins or loose metal items.
  • Inspect the drum’s bearings and suspensions for wear and tear.
  • For noise issues, identify when the noise occurs (during spinning, agitating, or filling) to help pinpoint the cause.

Leaking Water

If you find your washer leaking water, then it is important to inspect and repair it immediately with these tips:

  • Inspect door seals (for front-loaders) and gaskets for leaks.
  • Check all water hoses and their connections.
  • Look at the pump and the pump seal for leaks.
  • Examine the water inlet valve for cracking or damage.

Error Codes on Display

Modern appliances can display an error code when there is an issue with the operation of the washer. Refer to your washing machine’s manual to understand what specific error codes mean. Some codes relate to issues with water supply, draining, temperature irregularities, or internal sensor errors.

Bad Odor or Mold

Improper maintenance can lead to bad odor and mold formation in the washer. Use these simple tips to clean them out and prevent them from happening in the future:

  • Clean the machine thoroughly, including rubber door seals, detergent drawers, and the drum itself.
  • Run an empty hot water cycle with a washing machine cleaner or vinegar and baking soda.
  • Leave the door open between loads to allow the interior to dry.

Washer Leaves Residues on Clothes

Excessive detergent use or improper cleaning of the detergent dispenser might lead to residues on the clothes. Use these simple tips to avoid them.

  • Use less detergent and make sure you’re using the correct type for your washer.
  • Clean any detergent or fabric softener residue from the dispenser.
  • Run a maintenance wash cycle as described in the cleaning tips above.

Remember, if the problem seems complex, involves electrical or internal components, or you don’t feel confident making these checks, it’s best to call a professional appliance repair technician. Safety should always be your priority when dealing with appliances.

Now let us discuss the common part replacements that may be required when maintaining a washing machine.

Common Parts Replacement in a Washing Machine

Washing machines, like any appliances, experience wear and tear over time, leading to the need for replacement parts. Knowing the most common components to replace can help you diagnose issues and understand more about the lifespan of these parts. Here are some of the most commonly replaced washing machine parts:

  • Water Hoses: These can become damaged, develop leaks, or become clogged with sediment. It’s good practice to replace water hoses every 3-5 years to prevent leaks and bursts.
  • Drain Pump: This crucial component expels water from the machine after the wash cycle. If it’s malfunctioning, the machine may not drain properly or might leak, necessitating a replacement.
  • Drive Belts: These belts connect the motor to the transmission in some washing machines, and they can wear out or break over time. If the machine’s drum isn’t turning properly, the drive belt might be the culprit.
  • Water Inlet Valve: This part controls the flow of water into your washing machine. If the machine isn’t filling correctly, or if it’s leaking, the water inlet valve might need replacing.
  • Lid Switch/Door Lock: For safety reasons, washing machines won’t spin if the lid switch is defective, or if the door lock isn’t engaging on a front-loader. So you have to replace the lid lock when the machine doesn’t move to the spin cycle.
  • Motor Coupling: Found in some top-loading washing machines, the motor coupling protects the motor from breaking if the washing machine experiences an overload. If the washer’s motor isn’t working, the coupling may have failed.
  • Shock Absorbers: These parts help to stabilize the washer drum during the spin cycle. If they’re failing, you might hear excessive noise during the spin cycle, or the drum could move unbalanced.
  • Agitators: The agitators (in top-loading machines) are responsible for creating the back-and-forth motion. If your washer isn’t agitating properly, you may need to remove the agitator and replace it with a new one.
  • Tub Bearings and Seal Kit: If your washing machine is very noisy or leaking water, you might need to replace the bearings and seal. These parts help the tub to rotate smoothly.
  • Control Board: This is essentially the computer that directs electrical components throughout the cycle. Replacing it can be necessary if the machine isn’t operating correctly across multiple functions.

When replacing parts, it’s crucial to consult the washing machine’s manual for specifications and proper guidance. For complex replacements or when dealing with major components, it’s often best to hire a professional to ensure the safety and correctness of the installation.

These are the things you must know when it comes to maintaining a washing machine. This complete guide lets you maintain the washer in the best way.

Scroll to Top