How to Make Your Washer and Dryer Last Longer

How to Make Your Washer and Dryer Last Longer

A few small adjustments in your laundry room routine can go a long way in extending the life of your appliances

By Kimberly Janeway

How long do you expect your washer and dryer to last? Some CR readers are frustrated, reporting that their machine needed repair within the first three years, while others are thrilled that their washer is still going strong after 28 years.

“After reading so many horror stories with the new machines, I’m okay keeping my 20-plus-year-old Frigidaire set that I have had serviced two times,” a reader once told us. “We will expire together.”

If only life were so neat and tidy.

Most major manufacturers say you can expect your washing machine to last at least a decade. However, we surveyed CR members’ experiences with more than 100,000 washers and 87,000 electric and gas dryers purchased between 2011 and 2021—and found that’s not always the case: Around 20 percent of washing machines and 16 percent of dryers broke or stopped working as intended within that time period.

In this article, we discuss expert-backed strategies that will make a difference in the life of your washer and dryer. And because some brands make machines that users find particularly dependable, we also highlight top-scoring washers and dryers from the most reliable brands.

5 Keys to a Longer-Lasting Washer

1. Keep it level. The drums on modern washers can spin up to 1,600 rpm. To keep the machine from vibrating excessively and damaging itself, the washer needs to sit dead level, feet firmly on the floor. “If your washer is unsteady, extend one foot at a time,” says Richard Handel, who runs CR’s laundry appliances test lab. “Once the washer feels stable, use a level to check it front to back and side to side, adjust as necessary, then tighten the lock nuts on the feet.”

2. Don’t overdo the detergent. A surplus of suds makes the washer work harder and could trigger extra rinse cycles, extending wash time, wasting energy, and reducing life span. Use the correct type of detergent in the amount recommended by your washer’s manual. Newer washers use a lot less water than those made 15 years ago, and high-efficiency (HE) detergents, which produce less suds, are formulated to work with water-saving front-loaders, HE top-loaders, and even certain agitator top-loaders.

3. Clean the dispenser drawer. Remove it and clean it on a routine basis. When detergent builds up in the dispenser, it can cause suds galore, making the washer work harder.

4. Try to prevent mold. It thrives when it has food and water, and washers provide plenty of both, with detergent and fabric softener residue serving as food sources. To minimize mold, run the tub-clean feature regularly—the recommended frequency varies by machine, from once a month to every 50 cycles. If your washer doesn’t have it, run an empty load on the hottest setting with a cup of bleach. When the front-loader has done its job, wipe away moisture inside the door and on the rubber gasket, and gently pull back the gasket to clean away any residue and to dry the surface. Between loads, keep a front-loader’s door ajar—as long as young children aren’t afoot—or a top-loader’s lid open. Open the dispensers to give them an opportunity to dry.

5. Inspect the water-fill hoses. Replace when cracked or brittle. If a hose bursts, the flood can damage your appliances and floor.

Best Washers From the Most Reliable Brands

A brand’s reliability and owner satisfaction for washers might vary, depending on the type of washer. Here, we feature a front-loader, two top-loaders (including a high-efficiency model), and a compact washer.


CR’s take: The LG WM3900HWA not only excels in washing performance but also is impressively energy- and water-efficient. What’s more, LG is among the most well-liked brands in our user surveys, with Excellent ratings in both predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. The only downside is that this washer is a bit less gentle on clothes than some others.


CR’s take: The LG WT7150CW is both a CR’s Best Buy and a Green Choice—combining wallet-friendly pricing with impressive energy and water efficiency. The HE top-loader aces our cleaning tests and does so rather quietly and with little vibration. It doesn’t have the gentlest touch, however. Nevertheless, LG’s HE-top-loader owners are pretty happy customers—based on our survey data for this category of washers, the brand received an Excellent rating for predicted reliability and a Very Good score for owner satisfaction.

Miele WWH660WCS

CR’s take: If you have space limitations and don’t mind a capacity of just 2.3 cubic feet, the Miele WWH660WCS is an excellent choice. This compact front-loader is a mere 24 inches wide and 25 inches deep. It cleans thoroughly and gently, though with some vibration. It’s also both highly energy- and water-efficient. Miele’s compact washers earned an Excellent rating for owner satisfaction and a Very Good rating for predicted reliability, based on our survey data.

Speed Queen TR7003WN

CR’s take: Speed Queen top-loaders have a reputation for being easy to repair and lasting a good long while. In fact, the brand earns an Excellent rating for both owner satisfaction and predicted reliability for this category of washers, based on our survey data. What’s more, the TR7003WN cleans well, while vibrating very little. However, it’s not the most gentle on fabrics, nor particularly water- or energy-efficient.

3 Keys to a Longer-Lasting Dryer

1. Clean the lint trap. It may seem obvious, but this is something to do before every load to ensure that the air flows freely. A blocked lint trap requires the dryer to run longer, adding to wear and tear on the machine.

2. Replace an accordion-style duct. Plastic or foil accordion-style ducts can sag, enabling lint to accumulate in low points and in the ridges. If lint builds up to the point where it restricts airflow, your clothes won’t dry and conditions are ripe for a dryer fire. Replace the duct with one that’s rigid metal. It has smooth walls, allowing the air to flow and reducing the buildup of lint. (If you can’t find a rigid metal duct, then a flexible metal duct should be your second choice.) To join sections of duct, use metal clamps or foil tape, instead of sheet-metal screws; the latter can catch lint and cause buildup inside the duct.

3. Keep the duct clear. Once you have the right type of duct in place, clean it at least once a year. Disconnect the duct from the dryer, then vacuum the dryer vent with a long-handled attachment. Next, use a special brush made for cleaning dryer ducts: Feed it into the duct, vacuuming up chunks of lint as you move it back and forth. “Where possible, separate the duct into shorter sections for better access,” says CR’s Handel. Reassemble and attach the duct to the dryer, ensuring that all joints in the duct are properly connected and held with clamps or foil tape.

“If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, you can call a dryer vent cleaning service,” Handel says.

Best Dryers From the Most Reliable Brands

LG dominates when it comes to predicted reliability in dryers—earning an Excellent rating for electric, gas, and compact models, based on our survey data. Here, we highlight a top-scoring LG from each category.


CR’s take: The LG DLEX9000V is an electric dryer that is easy to use and delivers impressive drying performance. It’s also among the quietest electric washers in our tests. It has a spacious claimed capacity of 9 cubic feet.


CR’s take: The rather pricey gas-operated LG DLGX9001V receives only middling scores for ease of use, but it dries clothes well and with very little noise. It’s also quite sleek, with a large claimed capacity of 9 cubic feet.


CR’s take: Despite its compact size (a mere 24x26-inch footprint and a claimed capacity of 4.2 cubic feet), the ventless LG DLHC1455W dries well and makes very little noise. However, it earns only a middling score for convenience. (Testers found that its automatic dryness control failed to recognize already dry loads.) And based on our member surveys, LG, as a brand, received only a middling score for owner satisfaction in the compact-dryer category.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article also appeared in the August 2019 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2022, Consumer Reports, Inc.

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