This Canadian University Student Helped 100,000 People Keep Their Washing Machines Working
Tech News

This Canadian University Student Helped 100,000 People Keep Their Washing Machines Working

Not everyone knows this, but the iFixit Technical Writing Project (iTWP) has gone global! While most of the 98 universities we’ve worked with are located in the U.S., we’ve had the privilege of collaborating with a few international universities as well. One shining example is York University in Toronto, Canada, where our partnership has been going strong for the past four years.

We have many excellent alumni from York University, but Ishmeet Cheema really stood out. She is someone who loves to learn, flex her repair skills, and help others—all qualities we admire here at iFixit. What’s even more impressive is that the guide she wrote, How to Clean a Samsung DC68 Washing Machine Filter, has been viewed over 100,000 times! 

While Ishmeet’s guide demonstrates a maintenance procedure rather than a repair, it’s clear from the community response how important this type of guide is. Performing regular maintenance, such as clearing and replacing filters, helps extend the lifespan of our things by preventing the need for more difficult—and potentially much more costly—repairs in the future.

We took some time to ask Ishmeet about her contribution to the repair wiki, her experience as a student participating in the iFixit Technical Writing Project, and her perspective on repair. 

Portions of the Q&A have been edited for clarity or conciseness.

Meet Ishmeet, the Creator of the 100,000-View Guide

iFixit: Tell us a little about yourself.

Ishmeet: Hi! My name is Ishmeet Cheema, and I completed my Bachelor of Commerce in Information Technology and graduated from York University in October 2023. I was born in Toronto, Canada but my family is from India. From a young age, I had an interest in computers, technology, and building and repairing things. My dad also studied Information Technology, which increased my passion to pursue this degree. 

Ishmeet at Niagara Parks in Ontario, Canada

iFixit: What got you interested in building and repair?

Ishmeet: I credit my mom. She has an interest in learning new things and building stuff. For example, last summer we built a shed for our backyard and a gazebo for our deck. These are just two of the many projects we’ve worked on together. These creative endeavors not only keep me busy but also serve as a great form of exercise. (After working on the shed outside, I would sleep like a log!)

iFixit: What are you up to now? 

Ishmeet: Currently, I work as a technical administrative assistant, performing everyday tasks, leading interviews to reduce operational expenses, creating reports, handling clients, etc. During the iTWP, I developed some very important skills such as organization, time management, prioritization, and planning which I use daily in my current job. In addition, the problem-solving skills I developed come in very handy when communicating with clients. 

iFixit: Tell us about your experience with iFixit’s Technical Writing Project.

Ishmeet: Working on the iFixit Technical Writing Project was very enlightening because I learned more about this community and the thousands of repair guides posted that help people every day. My team and I helped create an information page for the Medec Neptune Anesthesia machine. I also wrote a repair guide on the Samsung DC68 washing machine. I posted instructions on how to correctly clean the filter to ensure the machine operates effectively. 

Device Page

Medec Neptune Anesthesia

Repair guides and service information for Medec Neptune anesthesia machines. The Medec Neptune Anesthesia is a ventilator designed for infants, adults and neonates (new-borns).

View Device

iFixit: Does a particular moment or memory stand out to you while working on the project?

Ishmeet: One memory that stands out was when I had to empty the drain hose and then remove the filter. I was so surprised to see the amount of dirt that had accumulated. I realized I should have done it a while back because the clothes I washed may not have been cleaned as effectively.

The dirty filter from Ishmeet’s team’s guide

iFixit: What did you find most valuable about the experience?

Ishmeet: Understanding how important proper research and writing skills are when creating repair guides. You need to make sure you are using language that is professional but also simple and easy to understand so anyone can follow the repair guide. I would say images are also a very valuable part of repair guides because as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” So anyone, regardless of their understanding of the written instructions, should be able to follow the guide simply by looking at the images.

iFixit: Do you have any advice for future students participating in the iTWP?

Ishmeet: Definitely ask different people in your household or your friends to read through your guide and follow along with the images. When I first planned out the instructions for my guide, I asked my uncle to read through it, and there was some terminology that I had to change to keep it simple and self-explanatory for the reader. Another important piece of advice is to regularly check the comments for any questions posted after your guide is published because you could really help other users.

iFixit: What was the most surprising thing you learned during the project?

Ishmeet: How many people in the community rely on these guides to help repair their everyday objects that would otherwise end up in the trash. I realized this after finding out my repair guide had over 100,000 views. I was surprised yet elated to know how many people I have potentially helped with this guide.

iFixit: How does it feel to have helped so many people?

Ishmeet: Honestly, I had never imagined when I posted this guide that it would reach so many people and become so popular. I feel very grateful that I have helped so many users in the community! When I read through the comments, I felt very fortunate for the opportunity to work on this project and help people around the world. This is why I also try my best to respond to the comments as much as I can. 

iFixit: Did the iTWP change your perspective on repair? 

Ishmeet: It definitely changed my opinion about repair, the importance of being sustainable, and not filling up landfills with devices that can otherwise be easily repaired. Before participating in this project, I had the typical mindset of many people in the world. I would just throw things away and get something new and didn’t want to put in the effort or time to repair it at home. However, after this project, I have become much more aware; and my family and I are willing to try and repair the device instead of just throwing it away.

iFixit: Can you give us an example? 

One recent repair that I did a couple of weeks back was when the zipper for my bag broke. With the help of an iFixit guide showing how to realign a backpack zipper, I was able to fix my bag successfully. 

iFixit: What are the biggest challenges you face when it comes to repairs?

Ishmeet: Personally, when it comes to repairing something, the beginning is always difficult because you don’t really know where to start, and there is also a fear in your mind that you may end up destroying the device instead of fixing it. Oftentimes, when I try and repair something in my house my first thought is always how I should start, and what if I end up ruining the product? However, following iFixit guides always helps because they take you step by step through the process! 

iFixit: What’s your best piece of repair advice? 

Ishmeet: Always Google it first! If you are scared to attempt a repair, many online guides, whether on iFixit or YouTube, offer details about the device’s parts along with videos taking you through the process.

iFixit: In a word, what does repair mean to you?

Ishmeet: Reconstruction 

iFixit: What’s one fun fact about yourself that you’d like to share with our readers?

Ishmeet: I love to try new and creative things! My hobbies include painting, dancing, listening to music, traveling, and reading.

Looking for more fantastic guides created by university students like Ishmeet? Check out our Featured Student Guides page.