Common Problems With Washing Machines and How to Solve Them

cleaning washing machines

One of the most popular household appliances, the washing machine is able to ease the burden of laundry on a daily basis. But, as with any appliance, problems do occur from time to time. Here is a look at some of the common washing machine problems and what can be done to solve them.

Washing Machine Types

Firstly, here’s a quick overview of the two main types of washing machines you’re likely to own, and how they differ. 

1. Top Loader Washing Machine

The standard top loader washing machine is also known as an ‘agitator’ with a central rod designed to move clothes for increased cleaning. There are also the impeller top loader washing machines which are gentler on clothes. 

2. Front Loader Washing Machine

These are a more expensive washing machine option but they come with many innovative features for efficient cleaning, and are a very eco-friendly washing option. 

Common Washing Machine Problems

Because of regular use, washing machines may eventually start giving a few issues. Fortunately, many of these are easily corrected and, particularly with machines supplied by reputable retailers, not as common as they used to be. 

1. Strange Sounds

If the washing machine is making unusual sounds, the first thing to check is that there are no foreign objects trapped in the drum. However, if that is not the case, then it might be worth checking the seal of the washing machine as water damage might require it to be replaced.

  • Gurgling: For this sound, there’s generally something obstructing the drain line that isn’t completely clogging the hose. 
  • Clicking: This could mean that there’s an object lodged in the washer drain such as a coin. 
  • Buzzing/humming: This could also mean a foreign object is lodged, this time in the pump. If the damage is bad enough, you might need to replace the pump.

2. Won’t Turn On

This is obviously a big concern, and generally, one that is rectified easily by checking the power supply to the washing machine. It could be the outlet which will require a qualified electrician to be called out. If not the power supply, then it’s likely that the washing machine motor might have overheated and needs cooling, or the timer knob needs to be aligned. Alternatively, you might need to check the washing machine lid as most machines won’t operate if they’re not sealed shut. 

3. Water Not Draining

Drainage problems are a very obvious and messy affair, and there can be a variety of reasons that water is not draining properly. One reason is that the drain pump has worn over time and needs replacing, or it’s simply that the drain hose connection to the drainpipe is faulty or the drain hose is clogged and needs cleaning out. 

4. Drum Won’t Spin

If you’ve loaded the washing machine and it’s making all the right noises, but the drum just won’t start spinning, then you might need to check the motor coupler as this could require replacing. A major reason for this happening is constant overloading of the machine over time. Other reasons for the drum not spinning could be a faulty switch, a foreign object lodged in the drain pump, or a worn or broken washing machine belt.

5. Won’t Dispense Detergent

Another common problem associated with washing machine malfunctioning is the inability of the machine to dispense the detergent. There are generally two reasons for this:

  • Dirty dispenser: The detergent could have built up and is now unable to be disseminated in the washing machine. Clean your machine by simply placing a cup of vinegar in the dispenser and running it on a regular cycle.
  • Wrong detergent: You might be using the wrong detergent or placing it in the wrong tray. Check your user manual to ensure you’re placing the correct detergent where it needs to go. 

6. Washing Machine Is Shaking

A rattling washing machine is not only irritating, but could lead to bigger problems later on. If it’s because the washing machine is not level, then you need to check the washing machine feet for adjusting, or simply add a plank beneath the machine to level it out. If the washing machine is level but there’s still rattling happening, then you might be overloading the drum. It needs sufficient space to rotate freely. 

7. Bad Odours

Over time, your washing machine might develop an unpleasant odour, such as a musty, mildew smell. With washing machines operating in heat and moisture, this is not uncommon as bacteria thrives in this environment. It’s best to keep your washing machine clean by giving it a thorough scrubbing once a month, and running a hot cycle with white vinegar. It might be that you’re also using too much detergent in your washing machine, creating excessive suds and residue. Check the user manual to ensure you’re using the correct detergent type and quantity. In addition to cleaning out the tub, make sure you frequently clean the drain pump filter as items get caught in here and trap moisture. 

8. Leaking Water

If your washing machine is suddenly leaking water all over the floor, there are a few checks you need to make. These including checking: 

  • The hose connections to ensure they’re secure.
  • The drain hose to ensure it’s free of cracks or blockages. 
  • The fill hose to ensure it’s securely connected and not over-tightened.  
  • The water-inlet valve for leaks, build-up of rust or deposits, or any other faults. 
  • Detergent use as you might be over-using it. 
  • The door seal as front loader washing machines could develop leaks when debris builds up over time. 
  • The drain pump which has a seal on the pulley that could leak if worn. 
  • The tub seal could be faulty and need replacing. 

9. Washing Machine Door Won’t Open

Finally, if your washing machine door isn’t open, it could mean that there is still water inside the machine. They’re designed to be airtight when there’s water to prevent any leaking, so you might need to simply set the washing machine on a quick cycle so it can drain properly. 

When investing in a washing machine, it’s best to go through an established retailer with knowledge of the best washing machine ranges so that you’re certain you’re getting a worthwhile investment. Often it’s worth saving a bit more so that you benefit from a quality-built machine that won’t suffer from common problems regularly.