your workhorse appliances a little TLC, and they may
stick around a bit longer.
a refrigerator or oven range can take a bite out of your
budget, as can buying a new washer or dryer. To make
sure your appliances stand the test of time and continue
to perform, follow these pointers:
your fridge and freezer clean
general, appliances operate best when spick-and-span.
Besides regularly cleaning up leftovers in the fridge,
keep condenser coils clean, says Bud Eader, manager at
Bettar Appliance in Kensington, Md. Do so by using a
condenser coil brush.
clean the freezer, unplug it, remove all food, wipe it
down with a baking-soda solution, use water to rinse it,
and then dry the freezer with a towel before plugging it
freezers today are frost-free. However, if you have a
manual defrost freezer, plan to defrost it at least once
every year, before frost gets to about a half-inch
thick. Use a plastic or wooden scrape ó no knives or
other sharp instruments ó to remove the frost layer.
your oven and range, too
inside your oven often and never let food debris stick
around on burners, even if it requires a bit of elbow
grease to remove.
spray cleaning fluid directly on control panels though,
which could cause them to short circuit. Instead, apply
a little onto a rag to clean that surface.
foil your oven
debate whether you should use the self-cleaning feature
if your oven comes with one, but they agree you shouldnít
use aluminum foil under the baking element.
itís a charcoal filter in an oven, a filter in some
dishwashers or refrigerators or the one in your furnace,
follow manufacturer guidelines to clean and/or replace
them as directed.
use dish soap in the dishwasher
can hamper the machineís performance by creating gunky
buildup. Use only dish detergent.
debris can clog dishwasher pumps. "Itís going to
stop up the spray arms and, in the case of emptying the
water out, itís possibly going to make the pump Ö
fail prematurely," Eader says.
overload your clothes washing machine
so adds strain on the motor, tub bearings and other
parts, besides not getting your clothes clean if water
and detergent canít swish between them. "You
shorten the life of the machine," Eader says.
follow the owner manual instructions on how much to
load. Hint: If your machine is banging around under the
weight of all of your laundry, youíve gone overboard.
your dryerís circulation
forgotten, the lint screen needs to be cleaned
regularly. Failing to do or allowing your dryer vent to
become clogged will force your dryer to work overtime
(read: retire sooner) and can present a serious fire
hazard. Plan to have your dryerís exhaust system
where you apply stain removers
it on top of washers or dryers can corrode painted or