The 5 Biggest Mistakes You're Making with Your Washing Machine

Stop making these common laundry mistakesStop making these common laundry mistakesWhat household chore could possibly be easier to do than the laundry? Just throw it in, let the washer do its thing, then toss it in the dryer, and done! Well... not so fast. Take too many shortcuts with this task and you can waste time and energy, compromise cleaning, and worst of all, risk damaging your garments. Eliminate these key mistakes to get the best results from your washing machine:

1. Overloading the washer
Today's machines are bigger than ever and it's tempting to cram in "just one more" thing -- but don't. Even super large capacity appliances have their limits. When the washer's too full, water and detergent don't reach everything, soils get trapped, and clothing doesn't get clean. And, overloading causes unnecessary wear and tear and excess wrinkling of fabrics, too.

Related: Yes, You Need to Clean Your Washing Machine -- Here's How!

2. Guesstimating how much detergent to use
To get the best cleaning, it's super important to follow the label directions and measure the detergent before adding it. Use a bit more for heavily soiled loads and if you're washing in hard water. Forgo measuring and you decrease cleaning performance, whether you add too little or too much!

3. Sticking to the same cycles and settings
When it comes to laundry, one cycle doesn't fit all. Sure, you're probably using the "Regular" or "Delicate" cycles most often, but other settings and options are worth exploring, too. They'll offer extra rinses for bulky items, hotter water for better stain removal and whitening, and even slower agitation for less wrinkling.

Related: 14 Cleaning Products That Get the Job Done

4. Forgetting to flush out the dispensers
Whether your machine is brand spanking new or has a few miles on it, there's a good chance it has at least one dispenser for fabric softener, detergent, or both, that needs cleaning. Keep these parts working their best by removing and rinsing them often. At the end of the cycle, leave the detergent drawer (and the door, too, if you have a front-load model) open so any residual water evaporates and doesn't generate odors.

5. Not replacing rubber hoses with braided ones
If you can't (or don't) turn off the water to your machine when you've finished doing laundry, the most important step you can do to prevent the damage a burst hose causes is to replace standard rubber hoses with braided ones. Braided hoses are more durable and don't dry out, crack, and split, like rubber hoses can. It's an easy and smart fix.

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