Are You Accidentally Ruining Your Washer and Dryer?

Are You Accidentally Ruining Your Washer and Dryer?

You know to dilute the bleach and empty the lint trap, but there’s much more to the art of doing laundry. Keep reading for the top ways to protect your washer and dryer—and all the delicate items they clean.



The more items you cram into the washing machine, the less chance they have of moving around in there and actually getting clean. A good rule of thumb: Don’t wash a load of laundry that’s bigger than what will fit into your dryer.


Ecofriendly laundry detergent is friendly to your clothes, and to your washer.

Several of Consumer Reports’ highest ranked detergents (including offerings from Method and Seventh Generation) are affordable and easy to find at major retailers. Another solid option that’s a bit more budget-friendly is Tide Plus Bleach Alternative HE Liquid.


These easy-to-follow instructions from Good Housekeeping will leave your washer sparkling: Select the largest load size, fill the tub with hot water and one cup of bleach, and run a cycle. Many newer machines have a designated self-cleaning cycle. Don’t forget to remove any components like dispensers and drawers so you can dust them off and rinse them under hot water.



Use the regular/high-heat setting for whites, denim, towels, sheets, other linens, and items that are pre-shrunk; do not use this setting for clothes that you just washed in hot water. Use the permanent press/medium-heat setting for colored items, as this prevents fading and wrinkling; do not use this setting for delicates like undergarments and anything made of lace. Finally, use the delicate/low-heat setting for knits and all delicates—as the slower speed is gentler on these super-fragile fabrics.


If you’re in a rush to wear a shirt you just washed, toss a clean dry towel into the dryer with the wet clothes. It will help absorb the moisture, allowing the clothing to dry more quickly. Another trick: To get stubborn wrinkles out of your clothes without using an iron, toss them in the dryer with a clean damp towel and then let the dryer run for 15 minutes.


Bust out your clothesline or drying rack for cottons, polyesters, silks, and fabrics that generally do not stretch. Lay items like knits and wool sweaters on a flat surface until completely dry. And if you’re not sure whether something can go in the dryer, always err on the side of caution and let it air dry—this way, you’re protecting both the dryer and the clothing.

Finally, ensure that a washer or dryer breakdown doesn’t derail your day by protecting it with a plan from SIMPLR. Not only will that cover mechanical breakdowns and wear and tear failures, but it also offers a $25 laundry cleaning service reimbursement.

There are 20 comments for this article
  1. Belinda Yount at 9:28 pm

    Good Info but PLEASE change the font color to something more contrasting with this blue background for the visually limited. This brown color, while pretty, is VERY hard to read without eye strain

  2. Sandra at 6:08 pm

    I was also told by a repair man not to use dryer sheets due to their clogging ability of the lint trap that can lead to fires (Side-note on fires in general: Fires in newer constructed homes tend to go up in 5 minutes where as older construction (1970’s and prior takes 15 minutes.)

      • Jay Tee at 10:19 pm

        Because everything in a new home is made out of engineered materials that contain glues and other extremely flammable compounds!

      • jennifer at 6:59 am

        Most are prefab. And made with contractor grade supplies. Aka the cheapest they can get. That’s why it cost much more to build yourself

      • Glow at 12:30 am

        I’m not sure but probably because newer homes are not mad with as solid supplies. Vintage supplies are of much more quality than the average person can afford to replace or recreate.
        I’ve learned this the hard way. Lol I like be in a brick 1900 home. All wood is oak. The Window crew, broke my original sill and molding. The replacement is an eyesore compared to my beautiful original natural oak. And MUCH easier to mar and scratch.

      • Common sense at 6:42 am

        Old homes are made of real wood. New ones have a lot of particle board like OSB and that glue Is like an accelerant. Plus think of burning a log compared to a bunch of little pieces of wood

  3. Mlancey at 8:19 pm

    If you have an HE washer, and accidently pick up, or find on sale, REGULAR laundry detergent. Don’t worry, just add WHITE VINEGAR to the REGULAR DETERGENT before adding it to your machine. I use, for a large load
    1 cup detergent
    1/2 (half) cup white vinegar

    • Jane Foster at 3:38 am

      I see two issues with this.
      The first, utilizing vinegar on any kind of frequent/reoccurring basis may do more harm than good. It is acidic and therefore may cause premature “aging” of your washing machine components.
      The second is that HE washers use less water than your standard unit. It is wholly cycle based and they all use load-sensing technology. Therefore, using regular detergent with whatever additive you choose may “work” for one cycle selection but not for another.
      In closing, if you buy an HE washing machine, use it as it was designed. They’re expensive, but most work really well, and in their life expectancy will likely save you what you paid for it in energy and water usage.

      • Glow at 12:23 am

        I don’t know about HE but my whirlpool are old a and HAPPY. Lol I’ve been WASHING them with vinegar for all of the 30 Years iVe had them!
        In fact, I regularly use vinegar in my iron and coffee pot, copper bottom pans, etc
        It’s been very gentle for me.

      • Giuliana at 6:01 am

        These days, washers have an 11-14 year life expectancy (front/top loaders). My front loading HE machine is over 14 years old and hasn’t had a problem, so I’m already 3 years over its anticipated lifetime. I use white vinegar for wash, prewash, and fabric softener, lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide (instead of bleach), and a tiny bit of eco-friendly HE detergent. When needed (we’ve got assorted furry animals & sweaty boys!) I add baking soda directly to the tub. I use the delayed start option several times a month, and run the self cleaning cycle monthly (with vinegar and baking soda). I’d bet that no laundry detergent, HE or not, doesn’t leave some kind of buildup inside the washer

        I think it’s insane to pollute the planet just to clean clothes!, and I limit chemicals everywhere I can, because I have no control over the toxicity of everything everywhere else. Our skin absorbs up to 60% of what we put on it. What’s on YOUR skin, and what’s THAT worth to you?

    • Tspotter at 4:28 pm

      The font color comment was VERY important. If you think it was stupid, you obviously have never lived with someone who is aging and experiencing diminished eyesight. I wish Web designers would consider older readers when setting up their sites! Remember, we’ll all be older soon and we’ll have the same struggles.

    • Glow at 12:18 am

      Don’t be rude. Lol it’s not stupid. I’m in advertising and there are some colors that are hard for visually impaired individuals to see. That’s why if you Have an iPhone, you can set it to show the contrast on every screen.

    • Giuliana at 6:08 am

      The color combination used may indeed be difficult to read for someone with vision problems. I don’t have any, so I can’t say for sure. However, I can state unequivocally that the only stupid comment on this page (at this time) is YOURS. Not only is it stupid, it’s also inconsiderate and ignorant. Grow up!

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