9 Tips to Extend the Life of Your Home Appliances

Ebonee Williams
Written by Ebonee Williams
Updated October 13, 2021
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Show your workhorse appliances a little TLC, and they may stick around a bit longer

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You rely on so many of your appliances daily, so when one breaks, it can be frustrating, not to mention costly.  

While we’d love our appliances to last forever, unfortunately, they don’t. But, with a bit of extra care, some can outlast their warranty. To make sure your appliances stand the test of time and continue to work properly, follow these nine tips.

1. Keep Your Refrigerator and Freezer Clean

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It’s easy to forget to wipe down your fridge and freezer when you clean the rest of your home, but it’s more important than you might think. Make sure you shut off the appliance, and then remove the shelves before applying a cleaning solution to the walls and shelves. Wipe them down then rinse with water, and let them dry before adding your food back in. You should do this once every two or three months. 

This cleaning schedule is also the perfect time to get rid of any old leftovers. Leaving behind leftovers for long periods can cause not-so-tasty bacteria to grow in your refrigerator.  

Besides keeping the inside of your appliances clean, you should also make sure that the outside stays clean too. The condenser coils are incredibly important to your refrigerator’s well-being. These coils usually sit on the top or bottom of the fridge, and they can easily get dirty. When they become dirty, the refrigerator can’t cool off properly. To clean the coils, use a damp cloth with soap. But if that doesn’t work, try using a condenser coil brush to get them squeaky clean. Don’t forget to clean behind your fridge since this area accumulates a lot of dirt and grime but is often neglected.

2. Defrost Your Freezer

Modern freezers are frost-free, so you won’t have to worry, but if you have an older model, you’ll have to defrost it at least once a year before the frost grows half an inch. Knives and other sharp tools can ruin your freezer, so make sure you use a plastic or wooden scraper to remove the frost. 

3. Clean Your Oven and Range

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Make sure to clean your oven and range about every three months. You can use the self-cleaning feature, but not for deep cleaning major messes. This feature can be dangerous and potentially start fires if there’s a lot of buildup. You’ll want to get those spots with gloves, a sponge, and a cleaning solution. 

You can make your own solution by combining baking soda, vinegar, and water, or you can opt for store-bought oven cleaners. The DIY mixture can also be used to clean the burners on your oven. It may be good to clean this part more frequently, especially if you notice that the flame becomes more yellow or patchy. These are signs that buildup could be hiding in the burners.

4. Don’t Line the Oven Floor With Foil

You can place heavy-duty aluminum foil on a rack below whatever you’re cooking to catch anything that may drip. However, don’t use aluminum foil to line the oven floor because it may cause heat damage. 

5. Replace Filters

Whether it’s a charcoal filter in an oven, a filter in some dishwashers or refrigerators, or the one in your furnace, follow manufacturer guidelines to clean and replace them as directed. Dirty filters can clog your appliances and either make them work harder or prevent them from working at all. 

Oven Range Hood Filter

These filters, located right above the oven range, can get dirty quickly, especially if you cook often. To clean the range hood filter, you’ll first need to remove the filter and then let it sit in a soapy solution for about 10 minutes. You can DIY your solution with hot water and soap made to remove grease. If there’s still leftover grease on the filter, use a sponge to remove the remaining buildup. You should do this every one to three months. 

Air Conditioner Filter

Most air conditioner window units have some sort of indicator to let you know when it’s time to change or clean the filter. If you happen to purchase one that doesn’t have this feature, make sure to change your filter about once a month. Cleaning this type of filter is pretty simple. After taking it out of the unit, use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of any dirt. Next, you’ll want to wash it with mild soap and warm water before putting it back in your air conditioner. 

Furnace Filter

Some have disposable filters. In this case, you’ll just have to buy a new one. But for furnaces that have reusable filters, you can wash them the same way as you would the air conditioner filter every few months.

6. Properly Load the Dishwasher

Place all silverware and dishes in the right way, without anything sticking out, so nothing jams the door or damages the dishwasher. 

7. Scrape Off Plates Before Loading Them in the Dishwasher

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Food debris can clog dishwasher pumps and stress out your machine, so make sure your plate is clear of any large bits of food before you load it in. However, you don’t have to give every dish a rinse before putting it in the dishwasher. Just be sure any excess food or sauce is off your plate, and you’re typically good to go.

8. Don’t Overload Your Washing Machine

Filling up your machine past the fill line adds strain on the motor, tub bearings, and other parts. This mistake shortens the life of the machine and prevents your clothing from getting as clean as possible.

Instead, follow the owner’s manual instructions on how much to load. Hint: If your machine is banging around under the weight of all of your laundry, you’ve gone overboard.

9. Improve Your Dryer’s Circulation

Neglecting to change your dryer’s lint screen will force your dryer to work harder and can potentially cause a fire. Plan to have your dryer’s exhaust system cleaned annually, as well, so it doesn’t become clogged.

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