Skip to main content

Adding some extra life, to those items that keep our lives moving forward.


Photo by - boymk  source;
Summer is over and fall fast approaching, which means that the holidays are coming as well. During the holidays, it seems as though everything needs to be perfect for all the guests to see, everything from the carpets being clean, nice glistening furniture to beautiful center pieces to adorn the dining room table. But what some tend to forget about, are the appliances that we use for our food and that keep our nicely mended holiday clothes, clean. Here are some ideas, to help those appliances last a bit longer.

Consumer Reports Magazine has some great advice that starts with getting out the vacuum, and vacuuming underneath and in the back of the fridge. Most new refrigerators have a fan and coil underneath that can collect dirt during operation, so one of the important steps is to remove this dirt and debris to help it maintain peak performance.
Dust will clog up the fan and compressor, which will cause them to work harder and possibly wear out prematurely. A refrigerator with a clean fan and coils, can last up to several years longer than if it is not well maintained. Another good idea is to check the gaskets around the door, to make sure it has a good seal. To do this, close a dollar bill in the door. If it falls out, the gaskets should be replaced. Running a refrigerator with leaky gaskets, can make it work harder and wear sooner than it should. If you have mildew from the refrigerator on the interior or door gasket, use a soft cloth dampened in a mild water-and-ammonia solution: 1 gallon of water mixed with ½ cup of ammonia. After doing this, rinse the interior with a mix of water and baking soda (Do not use abrasive cleaners, bleach, or concentrated cleaning agents).

Dishwasher. Some moms have little ones that are at the age where they really want to help mommy and daddy and can sometimes be confused by the dish detergent and the dishwasher cleanser. When that happens your kitchen is filled with bubbles. To help fix that problem try using some shortening. Remove the dishes from the dishwasher, along with as much of the bubbles as you can, and put two or three tablespoons of solid shortening in the bottom of the machine (below the dish rack) and turn it on for one complete cycle. Then add dishwasher detergent (without the dishes) and run another complete cycle.

Stove. If the stove’s grease filter sounds like it’s choking, it probably is. This filter protects the motor fan by collecting dirt, dust, and grease. If it has never been cleaned (it’s clogged), there may be dirt and grease on the motor fan too. To clean this, remove the filter and either soak it in soapy water or wash it in the dishwasher. Let it dry completely before putting it back under the hood. Some stoves and hood-mounted microwaves have two filters. Never place aluminum foil under your burner drip bowls, or under your ovens baking element. This can cause the stoves burners to shorten out. Instead, replace the drip pans with new ones. Elements will work more efficiently because they will reflect more heat energy towards the pan and you will get better cooking results.

Washing Machine. Washing machines can start to shake a lot on the spin cycle, which can damage the drum. The drum will wear out the bearings, and this is one of most expensive part of the machine to repair. Washing machines typically have adjustable legs that will allow you to make sure it doesn't rock. They legs should have a thumbwheel for turning. If not, you may need to use an adjustable wrench. So make sure that it's level and the shaking is very, very minimal. Also check the rubber water hoses, if they are more than 5 years old you should replace them before they burst (preferably with braided metal hoses).

If your washing machine is taking a long time to fill, the reason is probably a clogged inlet screen. These are tiny screens that are at the back of the machine, where the water hoses attach. They keep dirt and particles from entering the machine. First unplug the appliance and shut off the water at the water-supply valves, which can be located behind the washer. Remove the hot and cold water hoses on the machine end and place them in a bucket to prevent water from spilling all over. Use a pointed tip of a fingernail file to remove both screens. Replace them with new inlet screens, re-connect the hoses, turn on the water-supply valves and plug in the appliance.

Dryer. Clean the lint filter after every load. If the lint filter isn’t cleaned regularly, the drying time increases. This wastes hydro and costs more. Clean the duct leading outside, at least once a year. Lint can accumulate in the duct, which can cause an increase in drying times. It can also pose a potential fire hazard.

Vacuum Cleaner. Simple maintenance can keep it going longer. Belts often break, but it's cheap and easy for the owner to replace. When you buy a belt, buy two belts. Then you have a spare and the cost should be around five dollars. If you have a bag model, don't let the bag get jam-packed. Change it before it’s overstuffed, this will reduce the stress on the motor and can help it last longer as well

Consumer Reports says that it is a good idea to check your owner's manual for more tips on how to maintain your appliances. You can find specific recommendations for cleaning your refrigerator coils and replacing the belt on your vacuum, so you don't waste your money. Anything that you can do to maintain your appliances will help extend their life and cost you less money in the long run.


  • Phyllis 5 years ago

    As the old nuns I worked for many years ago used to say, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do." They replaced nothing at all while it still had useful life left in it, and as long as repairing something was possible, they had it repaired instead of buying a new one.

  • Ana 5 years ago

    Great information! Some I had no idea about.