Appliances Behaving Badly? has a 7-Step Program for Keeping them in Line

john sowden repair clinicJohn Sowden, Vice President and host of ”The Appliance Repair Show” on WJR Radio in Detroit, says many appliance behavior problems can be avoided with the following tips.

Canton, MI (RushPRnews) March 5, 2009 — Everyone’s heard of kids behaving badly, but appliances? You’d better believe it. Think about it: have you ever had your washing machine bust a hose and start flooding the laundry room floor until water starts coming through your basement ceiling? That definitely qualifies as bad behavior. Or your freezer door doesn’t latch so all the food inside starts thawing until you have to throw everything out … you get the picture.

According to John Sowden, Vice President and host of ”The Appliance Repair Show (” on WJR Radio in Detroit, “many of these appliance behavior problems can be avoided if you follow some basic procedures and maintenance routines.” Here are a few of his suggestions:

1. Clean them up – Some appliances can be cleaned with general household cleaners, but many require more specialized cleansers ( For example, if you’re trying to remove the moldy smell from your front loading washer, try a product called Affresh ( Just run it through the wash cycle and your machine will smell fresh and clean. Smooth cooktops on ranges must be cleaned with a special cleaner – if you try to use an abrasive chemical, not designed for cooktops, you could easily ruin the glass surface.

2. Change them – the filters, that is. This can range from changing the filter on your refrigerator water dispenser to changing your microwave filter or even the lint filter on your dryer. If your appliance has a filter, it’s going to need to be cleaned or changed on a regular basis. Don’t wait for something to go wrong; be proactive: for example, the filters on your water dispenser usually need to be changed every 6 months or so. The filters on your over-the-range microwave oven should be checked every few months and should be changed about once a year. Your dryer vent filter should be cleared of lint after every load. If not, it can start to become less efficient and eventually stop working, or worse, catch on fire. If it has a hole in it, replace it immediately.

3. Don’t forget to flush – Remove (flush) the mold, rust, lime, etc. from your dishwasher to prevent buildup which can eventually lead to a loss in power, water pressure, or clogged hoses and/or tubes. Anytime you have lime deposits or mold buildup in your appliance, it’s either not going to run efficiently or it’s going to smell badly, or both. For example, here is a recommended cleaning procedure for preventing buildup in your dishwasher’s hoses, etc.

Three things can be used to flush out hard water and/or soap deposits in your dishwasher:

A. Glisten ( dishwasher cleaner

B. Plain white vinegar

C. Tang instant drink in the powdered form

Here’s how to do it:

First, run the hot water at the tap until it runs very hot. Next, make sure there are no dishes in the unit, and put it into the regular wash cycle. Wait until the unit has filled and starts to circulate the water. Now, add the cleaning product (Glisten, vinegar or Tang) directly into the bottom of the dishwasher (about 4-5 cups). Let the machine go all the way through the cycle. This will clean out any soap deposits in the tank, wash system and pump assembly. This is a recommended maintenance procedure once or twice a year.

4. Don’t get hosed! This is exactly what could happen if you don’t check the hoses and connections on your appliances periodically to make sure they’re tight and secure. You really don’t want them to pop apart when you least expect it and cause a flood in your house.

5. Stop slamming the doors. This is something you may remember your dad telling you when you were younger. There’s a reason for that. If you slam the door on your microwave, for example, eventually, the catch on the door will fail to latch. If you slam the door on your refrigerator, the hinges may become weak or misaligned over time, this can result in a door that refuses to close.

6. Don’t Shock them to death: Even though you may be tempted at times, try not to shock your appliances to death. It’s a good idea to use a surge suppressor to keep power surges or lightning from damaging your appliances. Go to your local Home Depot or other hardware store, and purchase surge suppressors for all major appliances such as refrigerators, freezers and dryers. The last thing you need is to have to replace an expensive circuit board because of a voltage spike or thunderstorm activity.

7. Follow the directions: Sure, you’ve heard it a million times. But it is important, especially when you’re dealing with a machine that can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to replace: read the owner’s manual ( and follow the directions. For example, many manufacturers recommend that you use a specific type of detergent. This is especially important with front loading washing machines. They require a special HE-type detergent. This detergent doesn’t foam up as much, which is necessary for proper cleaning action.


Founded in Canton, Mich., in 1999,® is the most comprehensive online resource for do-it-yourself home appliance repair help (, parts and information. The site features more than 80 appliance brands – including Kenmore, Whirlpool, Maytag, GE, Frigidaire, and LG – across 16 appliance types (e.g., washers, dryers, refrigerators, stoves, ovens, and dishwashers). Do-it-yourselfers use the intuitive PartDetective®, to find the part they need or the leading-edge service, RepairGuru®, for customized, free repair help online. Appliance parts are stocked in a 72,000 sq. ft. facility and shipped the same business day. Visit for more information.

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