Appliance care things you’re (probably) not doing but should be

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Hi, Appliance and Outdoor Power Equipment Care Nerd here reporting for duty.

An unexpected side effect to working at RepairClinic is that I’ve become observant – and vocal – about how my family and friends care for their appliances and outdoor power equipment.

When they mention an on-the-fritz appliance or small engine, we discuss troubleshooting next steps. Before they head to RepairClinic’s free repair help, I follow up with questions about their maintenance of these expensive, hardworking machines.

Those blank stares and variations of the same statement: “Well, I don’t really do much in terms of taking care…the [appliance or outdoor power equipment] has worked great until now.”

In those moments, I have sheer empathy for my dentist. I feel ya, good old Dr. Mueller who can’t bear another excuse about failing to floss one’s teeth…

Take care of those stainless-steel beauties and those powerful engines, I advise my friends and family, and they’ll reward you with big money savings, longer lives, limited repairs and reduced energy consumption.

Here are some appliance care must dos that some people find surprising. By some, I mean, most of the people in my life; until recently, they didn’t know about the benefits of doing these things. Fortunately, they have their dorky relative/friend to bestow the wisdom.


Cleaning out lint


  • Dryer lint buildup is an extreme fire risk. When I key extreme, I mean, EXTREME. Clean out the lint.

Take it from someone who gets Google alerts for any news mention of the word dryer: Don’t be lax on this. Lint buildup and heat within your dryer’s venting is a fire waiting to happen – and it happens thousands of disastrous times every year across the U.S. and Canada.

That’s why at least once per year, it’s ultra important to clean out the venting from the inside of the dryer to the outside. It’s a 20-minute, do-it-yourself job that’s a piece of cake with this long, bend-y brush.

20-foot dryer lint cleaning brush

Related info
Dryer maintenance tips

Don’t confuse this job with your lint trap filter cleanout that must be done after every load.

High five if you remember to clean it out after every load. If you tend to forget, tape a reminder note to the wall in your laundry room. It’s extremely important to the proper functioning of your dryer.

Since pieces of lint inevitably fall into the lint trap filter chute, you should use a long, bristle brush to clean it out from time to time.

Here’s one that always surprises: Do you wash your lint trap filter?

Every six months or so, clean the lint trap filter with warm water, a small amount of detergent and a soft-bristle brush. Why? It may be clogged. Around here, in the land of the repair specialists, dryer fabric softener sheets have a bad rap. They’re accused of coating the lint trap filter with the chemicals that clog up the screen, which restricts air flow and causes all sorts of dryer problems. That’s one of a few reasons we recommend using liquid fabric softener during the wash cycle in lieu of dryer sheets.



  • The black coils at the back of or beneath your fridge mean business. Clean them off every few months.

These coils are warm and oh so attractive to the dust, dirt and pet fur that are unfortunately circulating in the air in your home.

As the dust and dirt layers grow that cling to the coils, you’re dishing out more money for energy bills. The thicker the layers, the harder it is for the refrigerator to kick out the heat. Over time, dirty condenser coils will eventually lead to premature wear of key components, costly repairs and more cash out of your pocket.

Here’s the handy brush that I may gift to my family and friends this Christmas (I’m not kidding. It’s practical and potentially life saving. You’re welcome, family and friends).

long handle bristle brush

  • The rubber seal that outlines the door? Yeah, that’s the gasket and it’s kind of a big deal. It keeps the warm air out and the cool air inside of your refrigerator. Since we all open and close our refrigerator doors frequently, the gasket wears out crazy fast. As the gasket’s sealing ability weakens, the refrigerator has more warmer air to kick out out of its condenser coils. More energy is used. Fortunately, replacement gaskets are cheap and they’re easy to swap out.

Enter your refrigerator model number to find the gasket for your model.

Shop for refrigerator replacement parts

Here’s how to replace the gasket:

Related info

You vs. refrigerator
How to clean your refrigerator and keep it clean




It’s common for the paint on dishwasher racks to chip away over time. Exposed metal can rust, causing particles to clog the water inlet valve or other key components.

At the first sight of exposed metal, use touch-up paint on the racks. Consider also these handy caps to cover rusting tine tips.


Shop dishwasher replacement parts

Related info

The right way to load a dishwasher
14 surprising things you can wash in your dishwasher




Don’t leave spilled and splattered food on oven floor and walls to sit for long.  Wait for your oven to cool and wipe them up. Food particles left to sit will smoke and may eventually catch on fire.

If your oven has a self-cleaning feature, don’t run it the day before your in-laws are expected to arrive to enjoy your home-cooked meal. A self-cleaning cycle gets the oven to extreme temperatures; it’s fairly common for the door latch to malfunction. Run the self-cleaning cycle a good two weeks before any scheduled get togethers so that you can order and fix your range in the event of an issue.

Related info

Range cleaning 101

Okay, I’ll stop there and save more for another post.

What would you add to the list for appliance and outdoor power equipment care?

Please share a tip in the comments below. Some of the best advice comes from YOU.

Thanks for reading!

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