As far as I am concerned, a washing machine is one of the most life-changing inventions of modern times. When my machine doesn't work, there is chaos in the house, the mess keeps piling up and it increases strain all around. I go crazy! A well run and looked after washing machine is an asset to a homemaker. So how does one ensure that your machine used right and used well? Here are some pointers on how to go about it.
Know your machine. Read the user manual , issued by the manufacturer, and get to know the buttons, what functions they perform, the basic do's and don'ts. Know the kind of detergents, softeners and other laundry products that best suit your machine and ensure that you use only these for your washing. It is better to use detergents, which are recommended for lower temperature washes regularly, but you will need higher temperature washes less regularly depending on specific fabric needs and garments, which have been very soiled. Higher temperature washes consume more energy - to heat the water and to run the machine. Know the quantity of laundry products to be used and at which stage of washing to use them.
Know your clothes. The fabrics used for different purposes vary in their properties and so do their washing instructions. Not only is it necessary to wash them according to their instruction to have these coming out well washed, following the instructions are necessary to ensure the long life of these garments. Sort the clothes to be washed according to color and instructions for fabric care. Pre-soaking your clothes will also help reduce the strain on your washing machine and bring out your clothes cleaner in most cases.
Using the machine. Load the machine as per the manual and to its optimum efficiency. It may pay to save your laundry and do it once a week depending on the pile up. If you haven't already bought your machine, for purposes of energy saving (power bills and water) choose a front loading machine.
Normally using a short washing cycle is enough for regular loads. The same way, use the shortest cycle that will ensure drying for the dryer. Air-drying is also an option that should be considered when energy saving is an objective - you not only save on water but also on the bills when the dryer time is saved.
Care for your machine. Have a regular cleaning schedule for your machine. Rinse it once monthly at the highest water fill setting, highest temperature and longest cycle time to clean out any residues. You don't need to use detergents for this. Any product, which is abrasive or contain baking soda, will reduce the life of your machine through wear and tear of its parts. Ensure that your machine is standing in a balanced manner on the floor without any rocking or movement during the washing or drying cycle. Schedule regular maintenance with the local service team to ensure that your machine is kept in good condition and any mishaps or repairs averted.
Caution. Don't leave the water source on when the machine is not going to be in use for a prolonged period. Don't keep hard objects like nails, coins, toys etc in the pockets when the clothes are being loaded. Don't load fabrics, which are soaked or spotted with inflammable matter as this can, result in explosions. Don't switch on your machine for a wash without clearing any built up gases in your heater if either your machine or hot water has not been used for a fortnight.
A washing machine can be either a headache or a boon depending on how we use it. With these tips, turn it into a blessing you can count on!