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5 Simple Ways to Add 5 Years to Home Appliances (and Save Yourself Mucho Money)

Don't let your money go down the drain.

Your home appliances get a lot of wear and tear from everyday use, and you depend on them to keep your home running efficiently. Our easy expert tips will add years of maintenance-free life to your fridge, washing machine, and more.

Keep a garbage disposal humming with ice cubes

Over time, the blades on your garbage disposal can become dull. The solution: Ice cubes. Putting a few ice cubes in your drain and running the garbage disposal can sharpen the blades and remove bits of trapped food, according to Better Homes and Gardens. And consider tossing in a few citrus rinds with the ice to kill odor-causing bacteria.

Fend off fridge failure with a straw

The coils of your fridge, located on the bottom of the appliance, are used to vent heat from the motor. They tend to collect lint, dust, and hair over time — debris that can eventually cause the fridge to overheat — which is why it’s a good idea to vacuum the coils every six months, according to Mark Soto with The trick to getting your vacuum into the tight space? Remove the kickplate from the bottom of the fridge, then tape a drinking straw to the end of your vacuum’s hose attachment. This will allow you to get the suction into even the tightest nooks and crannies under the fridge and safely remove all the gunk that’s gathered around the coils.

Ensure a smooth-running coffee maker with vinegar

Calcium in tap water can clog your coffee machine. ” … the easiest, least expensive, and cleanest way to get rid of [mineral] deposits is simply with white vinegar,” says Sheryl Ryan from Pour a full pot of ½ water and ½ vinegar into the water chamber and run a half brew cycle by turning the machine off halfway through. Let it sit for an hour before finishing the cycle. Pour the solution out and repeat with water once or twice to rinse the machine.

Boost a dishwasher with a toothpick trick

Your dishwasher’s nozzles can get clogged, causing leaks. The fix: Remove the bottom spray arm by pulling it up and use a toothpick to scrape out gunk from each hole. Put the arm back, then run a cycle with no dishes or soap to give it a complete rinse.

Prevent washing machine hiccups with baking soda

It’s easy to clean your washing machine, thankfully. Simply soak a rag in bleach and wipe down the inside of the machine along with the rubber door gasket. Next, run a hot water cycle; once the tub is filled with water, add ½ cup of baking soda. This process will help prevent mineral buildup, keeping your machine running smoothly.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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