Learn 11 do-it-yourself ways to extend the life of the appliances, furniture, and personal property you love and use most.
We’re not shy when it comes to a DIY, especially if it can help us save some cash on our big-ticket home goods. But if you’ve never been one to roll up your sleeves and get a little elbow grease, you might be wondering how to extend the life of your most used and loved items like your refrigerator, dishwasher, and washer and dryer — without the help of a trained (read: expensive) professional.
Ahead, we’re sharing 11 of our favorite ways to keep our appliances and furniture as good as new. They’re approved for beginners and handy people alike — and can end up saving you big in the long run!
1. Washing the lint filter in your clothes dryer.
You already know to clean the lint filter in your clothes dryer after every cycle. But taking the time to give it a little extra care can extend the life of your dryer and prevent dryer fires. Just pull out your lint filter and remove the excess lint as usual. Then, place it into hot water and soak for 10 minutes. Use a sponge, rag, or brush (and a little liquid detergent) to scrub your filter and remove excess residue. Rinse with clean water, let it dry, and repeat every 6 to 8 weeks!
2. Use cleaning tablets to prevent dishwasher buildup.
If you’re noticing cloudy glasses, residue on your dishes, and just generally feel that things aren’t looking as clean as they used to, it might not be that your dishwasher is on the fritz. It could just need a deeper clean! Consider trying out a dishwasher cleaning tablet — one that is designed to dissolve buildup and remove foul odors. Using a tablet once a month can help keep your dishes shining... and save you the cost of replacing a major kitchen appliance.
3. Give your leather and wooden furniture a little TLC.
Your prized leather couch or your wooden coffee table may have seen better days, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to start shopping for a replacement just yet. Consider a leather balm and a wood polish to restore its color and finish. (The leather balm works just as well for leather seats in your car, too!) Also, if you can help it, avoid placing these pieces in direct sunlight — it can cause imperfections to appear much quicker.
4. Make your shower head shine again.
Descale (in other words, remove a coating or layer) your shower head from buildup and limescale by submerging it in a bag of vinegar for a few hours (or overnight, if you can). Tip: to create bubbles, add some baking soda.
5. Keep your mattress spotless.
A mattress cover is a great way to keep your mattress fresh and free of spills, stains, and smells. Some even provide an extra layer of softness or firmness, and some are made to be waterproof. (Which could come in handy if you’re known to enjoy coffee or wine in bed.)
6. Keep your appliances clean.
This might be a no-brainer, but appliances like your fridge, freezer, oven, and range all work best when they’re spot-free. Taking the time to routinely clean the inside and outside of your appliances can help you avoid tougher messes in the future — and potentially, an unexpected repair bill.
7. Don’t overload your washing machine.
Stuffing your washing machine can actually do more harm than you might realize. Though it’s tempting to try to fit as much as you can in one load, it could end up costing you in the long run. Besides, it’s much harder to get clothes cleaned if water and detergent can’t get between them.
8. Scrape your plates.
We’re incredibly thankful for the time-saving wonders of a dishwasher. But before you jump to loading it up after a family meal, take a moment to scrape off any excess food debris. This could clog dishwasher pumps... which can be as expensive as it sounds to fix.
9. Don’t forget about your refrigerator's gasket.
If you didn’t already know, your refrigerator's gasket is the plastic strip that seals the door to the fridge, keeping cool air in, conserving energy, and increasing its lifespan. For a better seal, wipe it clean from time to time to remove residue. Coating it with a thin film of Vaseline can help, too.
10. If it has a filter, remember to replace it.
Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning and replacement guidelines for anything in your home — especially the big-ticket items.
11. Look into a personal property protection plan.
From appliances to your garbage disposal, a personal property protection plan can cover the stuff that keeps your home running smoothly. It’s different from a manufacturer’s warranty, and not the same thing as your homeowners or renters insurance policies (because they don’t cover as much as you think — more on that here!). It’s a way to cover any damage or malfunction caused by normal wear, tear, and you know... life stuff. A plan like this one from Kasasa Care (in partnership with Cover Your Assets) is a great option.
Personal property protection plans are also a great hack if you’re saving for something big. (Because dropping $1,000 on a new refrigerator unexpectedly could really put your big plans on hold.) But for $6.99/month, for example, you can rest assured that if something were to happen to your major kitchen appliance, it would be repaired or replaced. Plus, it’s backed by a 5-day service guarantee, so you don’t have to be without your fridge for long!
Between a little elbow grease and the help of a protection plan, the things we all love and use most in our home can keep on running for years (and years) to come.