Understanding Your Washing Machine’s Lint Trap

While most of us are aware of the lint trap inside a dryer, you may not be aware that your washing machine may also feature a lint trap. Just like a lint trap in your dryer, the one in your washing machine is designed to collect the lint from your laundry that has the potential to clog up your drain or septic line over time. Neglecting your lint trap has the potential to lead to plumbing problems, costly repairs or even water contamination. So, here we’ll explore all you need to know about your washing machine’s lint trap.

The Importance of a Washing Machine Lint Trap 

The lint trap in your washing machine is designed to prevent the pipes and septic system in your home from becoming clogged with washing machine debris. Much of the lint from your clothing, bedding, linens, and towels consists of non degradable particles that can accumulate and stick inside pipes, leading to wastewater backing up inside your home.

The trap is designed to filter biodegradable material, but this is not its primary purpose. It will also filter any material that won’t break down inside your septic system. For example, your washing machine filter can remove fibers created when polyester or nylon items are washed that are almost impossible to break down. It can also catch pet fur and hair that can ball up and create problems.

How to Find Your Lint Trap

Unfortunately, finding your washing machine lint trap can be a little tricky. Depending on the make and model of your appliance, it can be in a different location with different instructions to remove it for cleaning. The best way to find your lint trap is to check your owner’s manual for your specific appliance. It should be shown along with instructions for cleaning. If you can’t locate your owner’s manual, there are some locations that are common for several manufacturers. This includes:

  • Along the rim of the washing machine drum
  • The center of the washing machine agitator
  • The end of the washing machine drainage hose

Cleaning the Trap

It is recommended that the lint trap in your washing machine is cleaned at least every three months to ensure that your appliance continues to work at its best.

Once you have located your lint trap, you’ll need to pull it out of its housing. You should notice a layer of wet lint, hair and other debris on the film. You should be able to wipe this debris off using paper towels, but sticky residue can be removed using a small brush, such as a toothbrush. Be sure to keep all of this material out of the drain and put it in the garbage. Don’t be tempted to flush it down the toilet as it can cause a clog.

If your lint trap is particularly dirty, allow it to sit in hot water for ten to fifteen minutes. This should enable any detritus to loosen and be wiped off before you replace it in the machine.

What if Your Machine Doesn’t Have a Trap?

Some washing machine models don’t have a trap. Instead, they rely on a pump to pull any excess lint out of the machine. This is more common on front loading or high efficiency machines. To avoid clogs and potential problems, run a maintenance load each month, where you select a higher temperature program and run the machine empty to prevent any lint from accumulating.

If your washing machine is struggling to cope with your laundry requirements and you’re considering an upgrade, you can explore the options with this online laundry appliance collection, or speak to a home appliance specialist for further guidance.

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