No matter where you live or what you do, you’re going to spend a few weeks at home thanks to COVID-19 — so why not take advantage of the self-quarantine and give your house some much-needed TLC? Your appliances, specifically, probably don’t get the care and attention they need to function efficiently because you typically to have other, more pressing responsibilities to address.
Now that you are drowning in free time, you should devote some time to maintaining your appliances. Here’s a quick guide to keeping your appliances running smoothly.
Clean your washer. Over time, detergent and dirt builds up on the inside of your washer. Every month, you should run an empty load with two cups of white vinegar to clean the gunk out. You should also wipe down the exterior and the lid/door, especially around the seal.
Check the hoses. Every few weeks, you should give the hoses behind your washer a once-over, looking for bulges or cracks that might indicate imminent failure. You should also tighten up the fittings to the wall and the washer.
Run loads with respect. Your washing machine can’t handle everything you throw at it. You should break your laundry into smaller loads and use the right amount of the right kind of detergent — pods are best.
Look for bad signs. Some signals that your washing machine needs professional attention include leaks, excessive noise and vibration, and if your washer is older than eight years, you might want an expert to come in for a tune-up.
Clean your dryer. Using a microfiber dusting rag, you should wipe down the inside of the drum and the seal around the door. You can use a bit of rubbing alcohol if you find stubborn dryer sheet residue.
Clean out lint. Lint accumulates in the trap and the exhaust vent, or the crinkly metal tube between your dryer and the wall. You should clean out the trap after every load and the vent every month or two.
Clear the vent cap. Your dryer should vent to the outside, and the cap can be subject to all sorts of harsh conditions. You should clear away landscaping and weeds that might be blocking the vent, and wipe away dirt and other debris. You might also replace old, plastic caps with higher-quality metal ones, which are better at withstanding high temperatures.
Look for bad signs. Again, you don’t want your dryer to make strange noises or movements, and you also want to beware of spikes in temperature. If your laundry doesn’t seem to be dry after a cycle, you should call for professional dryer repair in your area.
Clean your refrigerator. More likely than not, your fridge is in dire need of a deep clean. Remove the shelves and drawers and scrub them in the sink with soap and water. Then, wipe down the doors, paying close attention to the seals. Water and mild dish soap is best, but you can also use purpose-made appliance soaps if you have a specialty finish on your fridge.
Keep the coils clear. At the base of your fridge, either in the front behind a kickplate or at the back, are condenser coils, which work to keep your fridge cool. Dust, pet dander and other debris can collect there, making the coils inefficient. You should use hose attachments on your vacuum to clear out the space around the coils.
Look for bad signs. As always, loud noises and overheating are signs that something could be seriously wrong with your fridge. You can try adjusting the interior temperature, but if your food is spoiling fast, you want to call a professional before all your pandemic provisions go bad.
Clean your disposal. If your disposal stinks, you can clean it with ice cubes and citrus peels, which should impart a fresh scent that hinders bacterial growth.
Approach with caution. Garbage disposals are finnicky, so you need to be careful every time you use one. Whenever you run your disposal, you should keep cold water flowing and avoid pouring any kind of grease or fibrous waste down the drain.
Look for bad signs. If your disposal seems to get clogged every time you use it, takes longer and longer to grind waste, leaks or makes disheartening noises, it might be best to get it replaced with a newer model.
You have never had more time to devote to your home, and you should take full advantage of it to ensure that your property is in tip-top shape. If you still have free time after you do all of this, you might make a home maintenance binder, with a calendar to help you manage ongoing maintenance. Then, once self-quarantine ends, you can keep your appliances running happily into the future.