Tips on using household appliances wisely

10 August 2016 ( 03 November 2016 )

It’s important to remember that our appliances need a bit of TLC to work efficiently and safely.

The experts from AMDEA (The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances) give us a few tips that will help us save time, money and energy, as well as keep us safe in the home.

Golden rules

With any new appliance, no matter how straightforward you think set up should be to muddle through, it doesn’t hurt to carefully read and follow the care and installation instructions - and keep the booklet safe.

Don’t be tempted to use extension leads or adaptors for large appliances. They should be plugged directly into a wall-mounted socket outlet.

Register your new and old appliances at, so that manufacturers know where to find you if a safety repair is needed. For a clean bill of health, you can check your older appliances against the recall listing on


Do I really need to clean out the dryer filter after every use?

Yes. Get into the habit of cleaning the filter of fluff, lint and any other debris after every use; not only does leaving it pose a fire risk, but the machine will have to work harder to dry the clothes, using up more money, and taking more time. 

For condensing dryers you also need to clean the condenser at intervals.

Can I leave my washing machine and tumble dryer on at night?

Local fire services advise people to avoid leaving a dryer, washing machine or dishwasher running unattended or overnight. 

While it is extremely unlikely that anything will go wrong, if it’s going to worry you, don’t do it. 

You can check on to see if your appliances are due a safety repair. 

Can I leave clothes in dryer when the cycle finishes?

Ideally, items should be removed from the dryer immediately after the end of the cycle, as if they're hung up immediate;y, wrinkles will fall out, making the clothes much easier to iron.

Can I open dryer mid-cycle to see if laundry is dry?

No, it’s very important that you don’t do this, as the programme finishes with a cooling cycle designed to reduce both the temperature and the amount of creasing. More modern machines will not release the door lock until the machine has cooled down but older machines may not have this function.


Does it matter how I stack the dishwasher?

Yes, for both safety and efficiency. 

The most important safety consideration is to point knives, forks, and other sharp items downward in the utensil basket.  Separate knives, forks and spoons into their own compartment of the utensil basket and it will be much quicker to sort the clean cutlery.

For crockery that’s more likely to be clean after the cycle, it’s suggested that you load the bottom rack with dinner plates and pans, with mugs and glasses at the top.

At the end of the cycle empty the bottom rack first, to avoid stray drips.

Are dishwasher salt and rinse aid treatments essential?

Yes. Depending on your machine and hardness of water, you may need to top up on a monthly basis. Most dishwashers have indicators showing when this is needed. If you let it run out, you might start to notice white streaks on your glasses, meaning that you'll have to wash them again, or wash them by hand in the sink - wasting you more time and money. 

Do you need to clean the dishwasher filter?

Yes. Check the filter regularly. Consult the cleaning method described in the instruction booklet but as a rule the inner filters can be cleaned under the tap with a soft brush. The outer metal filter just needs rinsing with hot water.

Can I open my dishwasher door mid-cycle?

Surprisingly, yes! Many homeowners are scared that gallons of water will pour out like a waterfall on to their kitchen floor if they do this. This cannot happen as only the bottom of the dishwasher tub (below the level of the door) fills with water.

Saga Home Insurance provides cover that goes beyond what you might expect. For more information and to get a quote click here.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.