Hints and Tips
DISCLAIMER: We are not responsible for anything that occurs from you putting our advice, hints, tips etc., into practice! You apply anything written here at your own risk. And whatever else you do, PLEASE UNPLUG THE APPLIANCE COMPLETELY FROM THE MAINS SUPPLY FIRST before doing any work on it!! Just switching it off is not enough!!
1. Washing machine won't empty and can't get the door open? Pull the machine out, remove the outlet hose from its pipe, and lay it along the floor into a bowl or bucket - be prepared for the water to gush out. Unless completely blocked, the machine should drain (several buckets full) and this will release the door catch on Hotpoints, some Hoovers and Zanussis and various other makes. If there is a trap at the front, remove the filter inside and clean it.
2. To drain a Bosch or Neff washing machine, remove the kick-guard at the bottom of the front panel. Inside (with most models) you will find a black rubber pipe attached to the pump, with a stopper in it. Remove the stopper and the water should flow out. Empty it into something like a roasting pan (which it will fill many times over). (Unfortunately some of the newer machines don't have this feature).
3. If you live in the area of Sussex/Surrey/Kent that we cover, use salt in your dishwasher, regardless of advice or tests telling you that you don't need to. The water does leave deposits of mineral salts that eventually cause problems - I know, I've seen them! Also you can get a nasty fungus growing in the water softener unit if you leave it without salt for a long time. Also use a dishwasher cleaner at regular intervals. You can buy these in any supermarket.
4. Liquid washing machine detergents do not carry out the "scouring action" of cleaning out the inside of the machine, as they contain no bleaching agents. Powder detergents do. Thus with repeated use of liquid detergents at low temperatures a grey slime with an unpleasant odour can build up inside the machine, and even get on the clothes. The cure is to use a washing machine cleaner or descaler and then to switch to a powder for at least some of your washes. Sometimes just doing a ninety degree wash with the machine empty and a little powder can flush it out.
5. How to keep the inside of your oven spotless (NOT for self-cleaning oven surfaces however). Clean your oven, then make up a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water. Lightly coat the surfaces of the inside of your oven with the paste. After a week or two of normal use, you will find that you can wipe out the inside of your oven with just a damp cloth and it will come up shiny and clean again with very little effort. Then wipe on a new coating of the bicarb. I got this tip from several elderly ladies who have old cookers yet keep them in show-room condition using tips such as this. Another good idea is to put a layer of cooking foil as a temporary "floor" to your oven, and just throw it away when soiled.
6. For ceramic hob owners. Use a proper ceramic hob cleaner every day (after it has cooled down!). Just a quick wipe will keep the glass spotless. If you fail to do this, the dirt and grease will combine with the glass after a while, and then there is no possible way to get rid of it, as it becomes chemically combined.
7. Beware the dishwasher tablets that tell you that you "don't need salt" in the water softener! This is untrue per actual observation over some years. I have seen dishwashers ruined by a build-up of hard and soft deposits from local water, water softeners with multi-coloured fungus growths inside, and solidified water softeners that won't let water into the machine at all. All this would have been prevented by regular filling of the water softener unit with the required dishwasher salt. In my opinion the tablet manufacturers should be prosecuted, or at least the matter reported to Trading Standards Office. So be warned!
8. If you put down a new floor covering in your kitchen, be it linoleum, tiles, carpet or wooden overlay, think of the poor engineer trying to get your dishwasher of washing machine out at some time in the future! Carry the flooring right under the machines, right to the back wall, or put the machines on a piece of hardboard at least 60cm by 60cm, shiny side up, and overlapping the floor covering at the front. The percentage of machines that struggle to pull out is very high, due to badly laid kitchen floorings. Occasionally we just cannot get the machine out at all!
9. Built-in or "integrated" appliances sound great, and can look very nice (kitchen salespeople love to talk you into it) but do realise that when they need repairing it is a different story! Any engineer will silently groan when you say "built in". Unless they are expertly fitted (on runners for instance) they can be very hard to remove and to put back properly lined up, and this will cost you extra in labour charges. Some companies will even add a surcharge for this or even refuse the job (not us however!). Also when you come to replace them the chances are that the nice "decor door" you had on the old one will not fit the new one!
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