5 On Your Side

Regularly clean filters to keep appliances working longer

Posted December 26, 2017 4:43 p.m. EST
Updated December 26, 2017 6:08 p.m. EST

Whether it’s a vacuum, microwave or dryer, keeping the filters clean will help those appliances last longer and work better.

“In general, if air can’t get into the motor, a machine has to work harder. This puts strain on the overall appliance, making it less effective and can mean you’ll have to replace it earlier than you should have to,” said Consumer Reports Home Editor Paul Hope.

Over-the-stove microwaves have filters beneath them to catch grease in the air. Clean it with warm, soapy water twice a year to keep the fan working properly. Cleaning the microwave can also help prevent a sticky film on kitchen cabinets.

Homeowners should check the owner’s manual to see if their microwave filter is dishwasher safe.

Homeowners should also make sure to clean their dryer’s lint filter between every load, otherwise it not only works harder and takes longer for clothes to dry, which uses more energy, but it also poses a fire hazard.

If a vacuum is overheating, losing suction or blowing dirt into the air, clogged filters could be the culprit. Manufacturers tell Consumer Reports most people don’t know where the filters are. Check around the bag for small, washable filters and open the back panel to inspect the paper filters meant to catch fine particles.

“If you have a bagless model, you’ll need to clean or replace the filters more often,” Hope said.

Consumer Reports says that for people suffering from allergies, a good vacuum with a HEPA filter can remove plenty of pollen, dander and other allergens that have settled on the floor.

For homeowners who use humidifiers, they should remember to remove the filter, rinse and dry it to improve air quality and the unit’s performance. Cleaning the filter will also prohibit the growth of mold, mildew and mites.