1. DON'T OVERLOAD IT
You may be tempted to put in one extra-large load of laundry rather than dividing into two or three smaller loads. But large loads put an additional strain on the bearings, drive, and other vital mechanical components, which could eventually shorten your washer's lifespan. It also makes the entire washing process less efficient: soap residue is more likely to cling to clothes because the water can't effectively circulate through the jam-packed load.
2. USE THE RIGHT LAUNDRY DETERGENT
Most modern washing machines are high efficiency (HE), meaning they not only use less electricity but less water too. That means you should look for laundry detergent that's compatible with high-efficiency models. These detergents are specifically designed to produce fewer suds, reducing the amount of residue left behind after a wash cycle.
3. DON'T LEAVE WET CLOTHES INSIDE
It's always a good idea to remove loads of laundry immediately after the cycle ends. If you allow damp clothes to sit in the machine for several hours, you're creating the ideal breeding ground for bacteria, which means musty smells and unsightly mildew. As an extra precaution, leave the washer door or lid open when it's not in use (but take care to ensure children and pets aren't able to climb inside).
4. CLEAN YOUR WASHING MACHINE REGULARLY
One of the most important ways to maintain your washer is to simply clean it on a regular basis. That includes cleaning the interior of the washing machine, cleaning the detergent dispenser, and finding out how to keep the filters and hoses clean. A lack of regular cleaning will soon lead to unpleasant odors coming from your washing machine and, eventually, mechanical issues.
5. MAKE SURE IT'S POSITIONED CORRECTLY
With all the shaking and vibration caused by spin cycles, there's a good chance your washing machine may shift over time. Make sure it's always at least four inches from the wall to prevent pipes from kinking. If your washer has a tendency to "walk", it's not level. Balance it by turning the legs clockwise or counterclockwise as appropriate—this will protect not only the appliance itself but also your flooring.