Appliances

How To Remove Stains From Your Dryer Drum

Seems like no matter how careful you are to check all of the pockets before laundering clothes, sometimes things just get overlooked. If you have small children, then you’ve probably found some really weird things in your washer or dryer at one time or another!

Some things that get left in pockets can ruin a whole load of clothes, it can also melt to the inside of your dryer and transfer to other loads that you do. And, some stuff seems almost impossible to remove once it’s melted on to a hot, metal dryer drum!

I try to check all of the pockets before I wash anything. But, sometimes I just get in a big hurry and although I check pockets, I guess I just don’t check them real good. It’s not so bad now, but when my kids were younger I was always finding something besides clothes in the washer or dryer.

Crayons:

If the inside of your dryer is rainbow colored from crayons, don’t despair you can get it off the drum. There are several ways to clean the colorful waxy residue off. One method is to use WD-40 or a similar spray lubricant.

Spray the lubricant on a damp rag, don’t spray it directly on the drum, it is flammable! Wipe the melted crayon with the rag to remove the crayon, you may have to repeat the process with more lubricant added to the rag. Once you’ve gotten the crayon off, clean the interior with a clean damp cloth to remove as much of the lubricant residue as you can.

As an added precaution, you can throw some dry rags into the dryer and run it for a few minutes. Then check them to make sure there’s no color remaining. If you have a gas dryer, leave the door open and let it set overnight before running the dryer to make sure the lubricant can evaporate.

Gum:

Next to crayons, gum is probably the worst gooey mess you can get in a dryer. Gum can be removed in the same way that you remove crayons. A product called Goo-Gone is also an excellent way to get rid of gum. And, just like magic erasers can get lot’s of things off the walls, it will remove the last traces of gum and crayon left in the dryer.

Another great way to remove gum or crayons is with an ordinary dryer sheet. Turn the dryer on for about ten minutes to get the stain warm, then use a damp dryer sheet to rub the stain off the area. Spray fabric refresher will usually work as well.

Ink:

If you’ve overlooked an ink pen and it’s all over your dryer drum, try some hairspray! While working at a clothing store years ago, I learned a trade secret! Hairspray will literally dissolve most types of ink. Spray enough hair spray on a dry rag to wet a area of the rag and rub the ink until it comes off.

You don’t want to spray the hair spray into the holes in the drum. But, you can soak a rag with it and lay it on the spot for a few minutes to dissolve it. An all purpose spray cleaner will also remove ink sometimes depending on the type of ink it is.

Dye:

Everyone has probably had something fade in their dryer at one time. A brand new pair of jeans, a black shirt or something that has left a shade of dye on the drum. One of the best ways to remove dye is to clean it with a damp cloth and diluted bleach solution.

Make sure that you rinse it thoroughly with a clean damp cloth to remove any left over bleach. Those amazing magic erasers will also remove dye from your drum. You can also use nail polish remover or a damp dryer sheet.

You have to be careful when using any type of cleaning fluid inside your dryer drum. Some household cleaners contain flammable chemicals. While you need to be more careful with gas dryers, even electric dryers can catch fire if the fluids get down into the vent holes. Make sure that you don’t let anything drain down into the holes and you rinse the areas thoroughly with clean water.

You Can Fix an Overflowing Dishwasher

A dishwasher can surely save you lot’s of time in the kitchen, but if it’s constantly overflowing, it can make lot’s more work for you to do. And, it can also damage your floor covering and if left un-repaired, it will eventually cause your flooring structure to rot.

There are several things that can cause a dishwasher to fill up with too much water and overflow onto the floor. The most common cause is the float switch, they can sometimes just suddenly start sticking. Another problem could be the electrical that starts and stops the water running into the dishwasher.

Since the float switch is the most common culprit, check it before checking the switch. The float switch is generally a cylinder shaped plastic piece that is usually on one side of the front of the dishwasher, it could also be toward the middle near where the sprayer is.

There may or may not be a protective cap over the float switch on the model of dishwasher that you have. If there is remove the screws and take the cover off so that you can get to the float switch. The switch should easily move up and down without any resistance. If it sticks, check to see if there is any debris like food particles or soap accumulated on the switch.

If the switch isn’t moving freely take it off, the float switch should just easily slide off of the shaft. Use a bottle brush to scrub the inside of the switch to remove anything that you can see. Then clean the outside of the switch with a brush.

Slide the float switch back onto the shaft and check it to see if it moves up and down more freely. Test the dishwasher to see if it still overflows by doing a load of dishes. If it does, then you probably need to just replace the float switch.

Before working with anything electrical or anything that has running water, make sure that you turn both off at the source. If you can’t get to the plug for your dishwasher to unplug it from the outlet, go to the breaker box and turn the breaker off. Try to start the washer to make sure that there’s no power running to it before attempting any repairs.

If you do need to replace the float switch, you’ll need to remove the panel on the front bottom of the dishwasher. Some panels just snap on to hooks and some are attached with screws. Once you get the panel off, find the float switch.

You’ll need to remove the wires that are attached to switch. Make sure to wrap a piece of masking tape around each wire and mark it so you’ll know the correct place to re-attach the wire. You can easily remove the wires with a pair of needle nosed pliers.

Depending on the type of screws that your model has, you’ll either need a socket and nut driver, or just an ordinary screwdriver to remove the old switch. If you’ve not already purchased a new float switch, take the old one with you to compare and make sure that you get the correct one.

To install the new switch, you just follow the same steps in reverse order. Once you’ve gotten the new switch in place and re-attached the wiring, put the service panel back on the front of the dishwasher. Plug it back in or turn the breaker back on and run the washer to make sure it’s not still overflowing.

How To Unclog an Ice Maker

It’s really convenient to have a ice maker built into your refrigerator. No more filling ice trays, spilling water on the floor and freezer bottom and you usually won’t run out of ice with an automatic ice maker. Ice makers are generally maintenance free, but now and then they might get clogged.

If you’re ice cubes are suddenly much smaller or hollow, then it’s a good sign that your water line has gotten clogged. But, it could also be a sign that the thermostat isn’t working properly or that you have a faulty, or clogged inlet valve.

You’ll probably never have a clog if your refrigerator has a water filter built in or even added to the water supply line. But, if you didn’t install a water filter, there are often lot’s of particles in tap water that will eventually cause a clog.

The first thing you should check is the water supply line. Both metal lines or rubber lines can get kinks or crimps in them. This especially could be the problem if you’ve recently moved your refrigerator to clean behind it or for some other reason.

Just follow the water supply line from where it starts all the way to where it connects into the refrigerator and make sure there’s not a problem. While you can easily move a rubber line to get kinks out of it, metal lines aren’t so easy to deal with.

Trying to bend a metal line back into place can easily cause them to break. Make sure that you turn the water off before trying to repair a metal line. Use some pliers and gently squeeze the line to try to remove as much of the crimp as possible. If it’s too bad, you’re better off just replacing it before it breaks and leaks all over your kitchen.

To check you inlet valve, turn the water off to the refrigerator and pull it away from the wall far enough to get behind it. There’s an access panel at the back of the refrigerator that you need to remove. It will either take a regular screwdriver, or a socket and nut driver.

The inlet valve is where your water supply line attaches to the water line inside your refrigerator. With an adjustable wrench, disconnect the lines and remove the fitting. There will be a clamp that you’ll need to compress and slide out of the way to remove the water hose line.

You will also see two wires connected to the inlet valve. Wrap a piece of masking tape or some other tape around the wires and mark them so you’ll know where to hook them back up. Use needle nose pliers to remover the wires from the valve body.

Most inlet valves are attached to the refrigerator with screws, if yours is fastened to the refrigerator, remove the screws and take it loose. There will be some bolts, usually four that hold the fitting to the inlet valve.

When you remove the fitting you should be able to see the filter screen underneath it. You can use the tip of a knife or a small screwdriver to pry the screen out, be careful not to damage it unless you intend to replace it with a new one.

You can flush most of the clog out of the screen with running water and use an old toothbrush to loosen any debris that might be stuck. If there are any holes or any damage at all to the screen you really should replace it. Holes will allow large particles to flow into the ice maker itself and can damage it.

Once you’ve gotten the screen cleaned or replaced, you’re ready to put the inlet valve back together. Just follow the same steps in reverse that you did to take it off. When you’ve got it back on the refrigerator you can turn the water back on and plug the refrigerator back in.

Just notice the ice make to see if it’s making solid ice and making the ice the right size again. If it’s not then you might have a problem with the thermostat or the inlet valve itself might be bad.

How To Light The Pilot Light In a Gas Water Heater

If you have a gas water heater, but don’t have any hot water, then the pilot light has probably just went out. The wind, drafts and even fluctuations in the gas supply can sometimes cause the pilot flame to go out.

To check the pilot light you’ll need to take the cover off of the bottom. Make sure that you turn the knob to Pilot before removing the cover, this will keep the water heater from kicking on while you’re looking inside the bottom of the water heater.

If there’s a small flame burning at the end of the gas supply tube, then the problem isn’t caused by the pilot light. But, if you don’t see a flame you’ll need to re-light the pilot.

If the pilot light is lit, but you still don’t have any hot water, check to see if the burner is igniting. Turn the hot water on and let it run for a few minutes. While it’s running watch inside the burning chamber to see if the flame lights.

Don’t get too close to the opening of the burning chamber, you won’t need to be up close to see the large flame that surrounds the top of the burner. If the burner don’t light, then the thermostat is probably bad and will need changed.

The instructions should be on the water heater itself, but if they’re not don’t worry. The steps to lighting a pilot light are basically the same for each model. You can use a fireplace match or if you have one, you can use one of the long lighters used for grills or fireplaces.

Turn the water heater control knob to off and wait at least five minutes for any gas to clear from the air. If you’ve waited awhile and can smell gas, don’t do anything else. This means that you have a gas leak and you will need to find and fix it immediately.

If you don’t smell any gas then you can proceed to re-light the pilot. If you can’t see the end of the gas supply tube, use a flashlight. The supply tube starts at the control valve and goes into the burning chamber of the water heater.

Once you’ve found the end of the supply tube and gotten into a good position to be able to see it, turn the knob to pilot. Place the lit match or lighter at the end of the tube and hold the reset button on the control valve down.

The gas will quickly light and you’ll see the small flame at the end of the tube. Don’t release the reset button yet, you’ll need to hold it down for about a minute or so to make sure that the flame stays lit.

If the pilot light keeps going out after you’ve lit it, then you may have a faulty, or loose thermocouple or there could even be a clog in the gas supply line. Check the connection of the thermocouple at the control valve and make sure that it’s tight.

To change a thermostat you will need to turn off the water and gas going to it and completely drain the water heater. After the gas is off, disconnect the pipes and thermocouples. Turn the old thermostat counter clockwise to disconnect it. Install the new one, hook all the lines back up and check for gas leaks.

The flame for a water heater pilot light should only be burning about half an inch high and the tips of the flames should be a blue color. If the flame is lower than that, it could be the reason that it’s going out so easy. If the flame is higher, you should adjust it down to half an inch.

Simple Repairs For Refrigerator Leaks

A leaking refrigerator doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to replace it. There are some things that you can check and repair yourself. The first step is to find out where the water is coming from, then you’ll have an idea of what is causing the leak.

Anywhere that you have water your bound to eventually have a water leak. If your refrigerator has an ice maker or ice and water on the door, it has a constant supply of water. And, even if you don’t have a ice maker, your refrigerator is almost constantly creating condensation!

If the leak is coming from the back of your refrigerator it’s probably the water lines that run to your ice maker. Pull the refrigerator out from the wall and check the water line all the way to the source of the water and check the fittings to make sure that they’re still tight.

There’s often washers inside each of the fittings that sometimes just get worn out and need to be replaced. If you find a hole or damaged place in the line it will need to be replaced. Turn the water off at the source, remove the line and replace it with a brand new one.

If the water line is good and the fittings are tight and you still have a leak, it is probably a bad component inside the ice maker. You may be able to order the component and replace it, but it might be cheaper to just get a new ice maker depending on how old the one you have is.

If you have water running out from under your refrigerator, it’s most likely the drain pan. You will need to remove the grill at the front bottom of your refrigerator to get access to the drain pan. The grill should just snap out of place, there aren’t any screws to remove.

All refrigerators have drain pans to catch condensation from your refrigerator. Under normal conditions the refrigerator fan, air or heat in your kitchen causes the water to evaporate and you rarely have to even bother with the drain pan.

Slide the drain pan out and carefully inspect it for any cracks or holes. If you can’t find anything wrong with the pan, clean it and slide it back into place. If the drain pan is damaged you will just need to replace it.

If you’re having a problem with water gathering in the bottom of your refrigerator, it’s most likely a clogged defrost drain that’s causing the problem. The defrost drain is usually under the bins in your refrigerator and allows the condensation from your refrigerator to drain into the drain pan.

Check the defrost drain to see if there’s anything blocking the tube. Sometimes a piece of food can fall into the bottom of your refrigerator and get caught in the defrost drain. Just simply remove anything that you find stuck in the drain.

Spills can also cause a blockage in the defrost drain, especially if they’re thick or sugary. Foods like syrup, ketchup, barbecue sauce can drain into the tube and plug it up.

If there’s something down inside the defrost drain that you can’t see you can usually wash it out, or dissolve it by pouring some hot water into the defrost drain. Make sure that your drain pan is empty before pouring water into the drain or it will end up all over your floor.

If you’ve noticed a lot of condensation around the edges of your refrigerator doors, it’s probably worn gaskets. Bad refrigerator door gaskets not only let condensation leak out, they also let your cold air leak out and can waste a lot of electricity.

You can replace the gaskets by yourself, but they normally have to be special ordered for your specific model at an appliance store. There’s an article on this site to tell you how to replace your refrigerator gaskets!

The Most Common Reasons Your Dryer Don’t Work

With today’s busy lifestyle there’s very few homes that don’t have a dryer. Washers and dryers are one set of appliances that get used a lot, but if you have kids it can seem like your washer and dryer never stops running.

Seems like when you’re in the biggest hurry to get clean clothes is right when you toss a load into the dryer and nothing happens. Maybe the dryer just won’t start, it’s been running for an hour and your clothes are still wet, or they’re way too hot!

Before you call a professional repairman, there are a few things that you can check yourself. Many of the causes of common problems are just simple things that you can do yourself.

If your dryer just won’t start when you push the button, check the power breaker first. Things can sometimes happen that the breaker is overloaded and it will throw without your knowledge. If you’re lucky you’ll just need to turn the breaker back on and your dryer will be ready to go.

There’s also the possibility that the thermostat, timer, start switch or terminal block is bad. About the only way to really check these parts is with a VOM meter. You will need to check them while the electricity is on to see if the parts are getting any power.

If you’ve never did anything like this yourself, you may want to call a professional or find someone that has done this type of repair before. Working with live electricity can be very dangerous and isn’t for the amateur do it yourself handy person.

Sometimes you might open your dryer door and realize that your clothes have gotten to hot to handle! This is a dangerous problem that should be taken care of immediately. A dryer that gets too hot could easily catch fire and the results could be devastating.

Probably the most common reason that your dryer overheats is a bad thermostat. The vent could also be clogged and the dryer isn’t getting the air circulation that it needs. Another problem could be that theĀ  heating coils need replaced.

If you’ve thrown a load of clothes in the dryer and turned it on and nothing happens, then the dryer belt is most likely the culprit. After years of usage belts can just snap or become stretched and too loose to turn the drum.

The drum roller could also be bad and just need to be replaced. The roller is what turns the drum and can be found underneath it. If the roller is still good, it is probably the dryer pulley or even the motor.

You go to the dryer to get you nice clean, dry clothes out, but they’re still soaking wet! It could be as simple as a blown fuse, you can check the fuse by holding it up to the light and looking for a broken filament.

A bad heating coil is one of the most common reasons for a dryer with no heat! A bad temperature switch, timer or thermostat can also be the reason that your dryer doesn’t have any heat.

You will need to use a VOM meter to check the electrical parts of any appliance. The VOM meter has probes that you touch to electrical terminals to see if they’re getting the electricity they need to operate. You can follow the instructions that came with your VOM to properly check these parts.

There are many different brands of appliances and it’s best to have a diagram of your particular model to replace any parts that have gone bad. But, having an idea of what the problem might be is a great place to start.

How To Do Simple Repairs On Your Dishwasher

A dishwasher is a very convenient time saving appliance that is a staple in most modern homes today. They’re generally very durable appliances that will give your years of usage, but from time to time simple things can go wrong with them.

There are some more serious problems that can occur with your dishwasher that may require a professional. But, you can fix a lot of the smaller things that can go wrong with them yourself.

Anytime anything goes wrong with your dishwasher, always check the most common causes first. But, no matter what the problem is, make sure that you always unplug the dishwasher before attempting any repairs.

If your dishwasher is leaking from the bottom it’s most likely a problem with one of the hoses, or it could be a connector that’s worked loose. You’ll need to pull the dishwasher out and tilt it over to check to make sure they’re tight.

If they are still tightly in place, check the dishwasher tub for any rusty spots or holes. If you find a small hole in the tub you can repair it with an epoxy that is especially made for dishwashers. You can find this epoxy at most appliance stores and you just mix it according to the directions.

Gaskets can be another cause for leakage from the bottom of your dishwasher. The heating element has a gasket that can become loose or can get bad overtime and need replaced. Unscrew the element and carefully unlock it from the brackets, replace the gasket and put the element back into place.

If the water has stopped draining from your dishwasher, it’s usually as simple as a clogged strainer. Refer to your owners manual and find the location of the strainer and check to see if it’s dirty. Some dishwashers have the strainer sitting in the bottom of the tub and on some it may be in one of the corners.

Another thing that you can check if the water isn’t draining out is the hoses. Look to make sure that they’ve not gotten a kink or have somehow became bent. Hoses can also become clogged sometimes, so take them loose to make sure that they’re clear.

When you dishwasher seems to be running fine, but there’s no water flowing into the tub, check the float switch. The float switch should be clear of obstructions and raise up easily. If you’re a little more experienced at home repair, you can check the switch with a VOM meter to make sure that it’s getting electricity.

The water inlet valve could also be stopped up with something. First turn the water off and disconnect all of the wires, the pipe and the hose. The valve can be pulled out by removing the screws, remove the inlet valve filter and make sure that it’s clean and reassemble.

If your dishwasher has quit getting your dishes as clean as they should be, often it’s just the fault of your dishwasher detergent. Old detergent can weaken and loose it’s ability to perform well. Another cause could also just be the way you’ve loaded the dishwasher.

Dishwashers perform best with really hot water, wait a while to use it if someone has just showered. If you use a water conditioner or softener, it could affect the efficiency of your dishwasher if it’s needs refilled.

If your dishwasher won’t turn on don’t panic, it could be as simple as a thrown breaker. You can also check the junction box at the rear bottom of your dishwasher. Open the box and check all of the wiring for breaks, loose connections or any corroded areas.

The control timer could also cause the dishwasher not to fill up with water. But, first you should check the door latch switch. If the switch just isn’t closing, you can adjust it by taking the switch loose and repositioning it.

The proper way to check the door latch switch and the control timer is with a VOM meter. If you’re not familiar with using a VOM meter, it’s a tool to check to see if the electrical part is getting electricity to it. A lack of electricity running through a switch or timer is a sign that the motor is part is probably bad and needs to be replaced.

How To Replace Refrigerator Door Gaskets

Usually the rubber moulding or gasket around your refrigerator doors will still be good when your refrigerator no longer works. But, there are times that the gasket has became hard or brittle while the refrigerator itself still works fine.

Sometimes the gasket can become damaged if the door is accidently shut on something. It can also become dry and brittle faster if you have an extra refrigerator that’s kept in a garage or other outside building without heat.

If the gasket is bad or gets damaged in some way it doesn’t provide a tight seal. This will let the cold air leak out and your refrigerator will be kicking on almost constantly. Not only will this waste electricity and cost you money, it will make the motor work twice as hard to try to keep the right temperature.

There’s no need to run out and buy a new refrigerator when this happens. As long as your refrigerator still works, you can just purchase a gasket kit and replace it yourself. Depending on your model the kit should only run around $50, which is a whole lot cheaper than replacing the refrigerator!

Just because the gasket still feels soft and looks good, doesn’t mean that it’s not leaking cold air. If you’ve noticed that your refrigerator seems to be kicking on more often, check the gasket for any flaws.

If there’s any condensation or black mold on the gasket you can be pretty sure that it is leaking. The condensation is caused by the cold air hitting the warmer air of your kitchen. And, as the condensation sits on the gasket it will eventually begin to mold.

A really good way to check the gasket is by shutting the door on a piece of paper. Pull the paper out slowly, if it slips out easily, your gasket needs replaced. But, if you have to pull slightly to remove the paper then the moulding is fine. Try this all the way around the refrigerator and freezer doors.

If you’ve decided it’s time to replace the gasket, you will need to write down the make and model of your applicance to purchase the exact gasket kit you need. You may be able to just go pick a kit up, but it’s more likely that the appliance store will have to order one for you.

Run the sink full of warm water and place the new gasket in it to soften it up, this will make it much easier to work with. In the meantime, you can remove the old gasket.

Usually the gasket is held on by retainer screws, these can be seen by lifting the gasket up. You’ll need a hex key to loosen the screws, don’t remove them only loosen them enough to pull the old gasket off.

Start in a corner of the door, this will give you a guide to get the new gasket on correctly. Line the corner of the gasket up with the corner of the door. Work your way around the entire refrigerator door placing the gasket behind the metal retainer.

Once you’ve gotten it all in place, lightly tighten the screws. Close the door and make sure that the gasket is lined up, open and close the doors several times to check that the gasket isn’t moving out of place. Then go back and tighten all of the screws.

The new gasket might give a little resistance when opening the refrigerator or freezer doors. If you have to give it a little jerk to get the doors open you can apply a thin coating of petroleum jelly around the gasket.