In This Article

Help appliances live longer

Last reviewed: January 2009
Man cleaning dust from a refrigerator's compressor coils


  • Place heavy pots gently on smoothtops to avoid breakage.
  • Never cover drip pans with foil, which can short-circuit the burner.
  • Keep reflector bowls beneath burners shiny, which helps them reflect heat.
  • Periodically clean gas burner ports with a needle.
  • Don't poke the igniter or spray it with cleaners.


  • Clean dust from compressor coils every few months (shown above).
  • Clean door gaskets with mild detergent and water.
  • Check gasket seals by closing doors on a dollar bill. Replace gasket if the bill falls out.
  • Keep door-opening to a minimum. Every time you open the door, cold air escapes and is replaced by warmer, more humid air.


  • Check door seals for damage. If heat is escaping, adjust or replace the gasket.


  • When loading, make sure no dishware can touch the spray arms.
  • Inspect spray arms for debris that can clog holes.
  • If the dishwasher has a manual-clean filter, clean it regularly, per manufacturer's instructions.

Washing machine

  • Remove grit from screens where the hoses attach to the water supply.
  • Don't load beyond the washer's recommended capacity.
  • Install the washer on a level and well-supported floor.
  • Heed detergent directions.


  • Clean lint filter after each use to keep air flowing freely.
  • Each year, clean the entire exhaust duct to prevent fire.
Posted: December 2008 — Consumer Reports Magazine issue: January 2009