Washing machine problems

9 of the Top Washing Machine Problems and Solutions Guide

Last updated on August 31st, 2023

Washing machine problems are annoying and can happen when you least expect them.

Washing machines are robust and will often last for decades but when they have common problems that can be easily fixed most of the time.

I have been a full-time plumber for over a decade and fixed and fitted washing machines many times over the years.

In this post, I’ll go through some of the most common problems with front-loading washing machines and troubleshooting ideas.

Washing Machine Not Filling With Water

A washing machine not filling with water is usually caused by a problem with the water supply.

Here’s what you should check:

  • The water supply is turned on at the mains water stopcock for the house
  • The valve or tap connected to the washing machine hose is open and not broken
  • The washing machine hose is not kinked or damaged
  • The connections on both ends of the water supply hose are not blocked with debris
Turn off washing machine water supply
Washing machine valve turned off

A washing machine valve handle can sometimes look like it’s open but the plastic handle is damaged and not actually turning the valve when it’s moving.

To check the hose is not blocked you should isolate the water using the valve and disconnect the washing machine hose and clear out anything in the filter on the washing machine, and check the valve end also.

If all is good, you can connect the hose to the valve and open the valve slightly into a bucket to see if water is coming through.

Washing Machine Not Draining

There are a few reasons for a washing machine not draining but it’s mainly caused because of two reasons:

  • The drain hose
  • The pump filter

Drain Hose

The drain hose can become blocked or kinked and this is the first thing you should check when your washing machine isn’t draining.

You should visually check the full length of the hose for any kinks as this is a common problem.

If it’s kink-free, then disconnect the hose and check for blockages in the end and then squeeze the hose all the way up to the washing machine to check for anything solid inside that might be blocking it.

Pump Filter

The drain pump filter can get clogged with hair, debris and other objects left in the pockets in the laundry.

These filters can be easily accessed most of the time and removed and cleaned or cleared of any obstructions.

Washing machine dirty filter
Dirty washing machine filter

How to Drain a Washing Machine

You will need to drain the washing machine manually if it won’t drain after a cycle, just make sure you’ve got plenty of towels around to catch any water as things might get messy.

Here are two ways to manually drain a washing machine when you’re having problems with it:

  • Pump Filter: Open up the pump filter cover and often there will be a mini hose which you can use to drain the water into a tray, or connect a longer hose onto it and run it outside to drain.
    • You can also tip the washer back a bit and drain the water from the filter into a tray by opening the filter and letting the water out then close it and empty the tray and repeat until all the water has been drained.
  • Drain Hose: The main drain hose on a washing machine is on the back at the bottom of the washer. If you can lay this flat on the ground the water will run out of it if it’s not blocked.

Washing Machine Not Spinning

  • Door not closed properly
  • Uneven load
  • Too full
  • Drive belt loose or damaged
  • No power supply

Washing Machine Noisy When Spinning

When your washing machine is noisy when spinning, this could be for a number of reasons.

Here are some of the most common noise causes:

  • Rattling Noise: Coins or other objects trapped inside
  • Scraping Noise: Wire could be poking through the drum if it’s noisy when spinning the drum with your hand
  • Grinding Noise: Drum bearings may be worn out or damaged and need to be replaced
  • Banging Noise: An unbalanced load can cause a loud banging spin cycle where you have one heavy item causing the majority of the weight to stay in one part of the drum

Here are some things you can do with a noisy washing machine:

  1. Inspect inside the drum and check for anything sticking through the holes or laying about
  2. Check and clean the pump filter
  3. Make sure the washing machine is flat on the floor and level
  4. Open up the back of the appliance and check for wire poking through

Washing Machine Not Turning on

washing machine wont turn on
Washing machine no power

A washing machine not turning on at all with no sign of power will most likely be because of an electric supply problem.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Check that it’s plugged in and switched on
  • Check the socket is working by plugging in something else to make sure it’s working
    • If the socket is working replace the fuse in the washing machine plug
    • If it’s not working, check the house consumer unit (main fuse board) to see if it’s tripped

Washing Machine Door Won’t Open

When your washing machine door won’t open, you should check for water inside and if there is any in there, you’ll need to drain the water out before the door will open.

A stuck washing machine door will often be caused by a broken handle or jammed lock. If the handle is loose then this may mean the handle is broken and not moving the catch to release the door.

washing machine door wont open
washing machine door catch

If the handle is stiff then this may mean the lock is jammed. You can move the jammed lock sometimes with a credit card or some strong cord.

You can gain access to the lock inside by removing the top panel off the washing machine but you may have to break the lock to open it and then replace the lock.

Washing Machine Leaking

A washing machine leaking water out can be leaking from many places for many reasons.

Here are some of the most common causes of a leaking washing machine:

  • Door Seal: The rubber door seal can become worn or split and cause water to seep out from around the door. This door seal can be replaced
  • Pump Filter: The pump filter is on the bottom of the washer at the front and should be checked and cleaned thoroughly if there is any water coming from there, you can also add some silicone grease to help stop it from leaking but you might have to replace the filter.
  • Back: A leak from the back of the washer could be from the water inlet hose. You may be able the fit a new rubber washer on the connection but you can also replace the hose very easily

Smelly Washing Machine

A smelly washing machine is a sure sign it needs to be cleaned. This isn’t always the case though as other problems could be causing the smells.

A common reason for smell for me is the drains outside coming in through not having a water trap in the waste pipe.

Another cause can be the washing machines drain hose not having a trap in it.

This can be caused by not using the horse shoe clip that comes with a new washer. It needs to be clipped onto the hose before poking it in the waste stand pipe.

Washing Machine Cleaning

Regular washing machine cleaning should be carried out to keep it running smoothly, stop potential common washing machine problems, and help make it last longer.

There are a few different ways to clean it but you can’t go wrong with using distilled vinegar or baking soda put inside the drum and putting it on a high-temperature wash cycle.

Distilled white vinegar in washing machine
Distilled white vinegar poured into washing machine

You should also clean the detergent drawer by removing it and cleaning it in the sink, and also clean out the pump filter every few months or so.

Summary

Finding solutions to common washing machine problems can be easy or almost impossible.

Washing machines are pretty simple appliances inside when it comes to the parts that are in there. But if you’re not very competent then you should probably call someone who is.

If your washer is over ten years old and you’re having problems with it, you might be better off looking at replacing it.

Cleaning your washing machine regularly will help to make it last longer and less likely to cause problems.

Feel free to ask me any questions in the comment section below and I’ll try my best to help.

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Washing Machine Problems FAQs


Is it expensive to run a washing machine?

A washing machine is not expensive to run and can cost around 15p to 35p per cycle depending on how old and energy efficient it is.

Why does my washing machine spin so violently?

A washing machine spinning violently is usually caused by an unbalanced washing load where you have a single heavy item causing it to rock side to side, or by overloading the machine.

How often should you buy a washing machine?

A washing machine should last over 10 years and can last for decades. Regular washing machine cleaning can definitely help to make it last longer and there are many simple fixes.

Author

  • Steven Reid

    I am a full-time plumber and Gas Safe registered engineer. I incorporated Housewarm Ltd. in 2011 to provide heating and plumbing services to homes in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. I now blog about what I've learned over the years to help DIYers and plumbers.

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