Avoid inconveniences and save money by following these simple hacks to make home appliances last longer…

No one likes it when a home appliance fails on them. It can be a costly inconvenience.

Fortunately, the SweepStars from home cleaning service company, SweepSouth have some tips to ensure that you get the most out of your appliances for many years to come:

Washing machines: avoiding overload

When it comes time to do laundry, it’s all too tempting to cram in as much washing as possible. After all, anything less than a full load is a waste of water and energy. But when you overload your machine, you place a strain on it and ultimately shorten its lifespan.

Trouble is, it can be difficult to know exactly what constitutes a load that’s full enough to be worthwhile, but which won’t put your washing machine in mortal peril.

A good rule of thumb for front-loaders is that you should at least be able to fit a fist in at the top of the load. For loads containing highly absorbent items such as towels, you may want to leave a little more room.

If, on the other hand, you have a top loader, you can use the agitator as a guide. As long as your load doesn’t reach past it (when dry) you should be safe.

Tumble dryers: bring in the vacuum

In a country with as many days of sunshine as South Africa, tumble dryers seldom get as much use as they do in countries where rain is more common.

That said, when the rainy season hits, it can be a life-saver. This is especially true of the Western Cape, where the rain tends to set in during winter, making it even more difficult to dry clothes.

The last thing you want is for your dryer to go on the fritz just before a massive cold front.

Typically, this happens because the machine burns out, often through lint accumulation. Most tumble dryer owners know to remove the lint from the trap in the front door.

What you might not know is that lint can also accumulate at the back of the drum. Here, you can extend the life of your machine by vacuuming the drum, using one of the smaller hose attachments on your vacuum cleaner.

Vacuum cleaners: empty, or change, the bags regularly

Speaking of vacuum cleaners, it can be all too easy to use them mindlessly without giving any thought to when you last emptied or changed the bag.

That’s a big mistake. A full bag is much harder on the vacuum, increasing the likelihood of it burning out.

Ideally, you shouldn’t allow your bags to get more than half full before emptying them.

Another good idea is to pick up larger items (such as small change or paperclips) and throw them away before vacuuming as they could easily damage the machine.

Remember a vacuum cleaner is primarily there to suck up dust, not general mess that’s accumulated on the floor.

Dishwashers: a little vinegar goes a long way

Dishwashers are (generally) a blessing to anyone who owns one. Used properly, they can also save you water and energy.

Unfortunately, over time, dishwashers can start to smell. While all the usual things like cleaning out the filters and wiping down the door seals can help, sometimes more drastic action is needed.

Here, as in so many other domestic situations, vinegar can come to the rescue.

Simply add a cup of vinegar to the bottom of your empty dishwasher and run it for a full cycle. It’ll clean out any old food particles and ensure that your dishes emerge from future washes smelling clean and fresh. Use this one with caution and only when really necessary in water restricted areas/periods.

Irons: they need more cleaning than you think

Another appliance which benefits from the occasional use of vinegar is the iron.

If you notice hard water build-up in your water chamber, simply pour white vinegar into the water chamber. From there, turn it on high, and let it sit for three to five minutes.  Turn it off, unplug it and pour the white vinegar out. Let it air dry and cool off then refill it with clean water and rinse.

You can also avoid this build-up by regularly cleaning your iron. When the iron is unplugged and cool, rinse out the water reservoir with hot water and wipe the entire iron down, including the cord, with a damp clean cloth. Finally, use a second clean cloth to dry the iron and store it in a cool dry place.

It might seem like a bit of a pain, but it’s a lot less annoying than having to buy a new iron.

This article was first published in All4women on 1 October 2018.