5 Common Washing Machine Problems And How To Solve Them
We all make mistakes, but some mistakes have harsher consequences than others. Forgetting to pick up the milk at the shops is small fry compared with a blunder that could potentially ruin your clothes or wreck a pricey laundry appliance.
Here’s our troubleshooting guide for common washing machine problems with solutions to get your washer back to work.
Washing Machine Drain Problem
A washing machine not draining is one of the most common problems we encounter. It can be caused by one of the following:
– The drain hose or pump is clogged with a small item of clothing, residual gunk or other debris.
– The washer is malfunctioning and not engaging the drain/spin cycle properly. It may present with an error code – check with your product manual or give the manufacturer a call to clarify what this refers to.
– The drain pump is broken (the washer will generally make an unpleasant sound and/or start leaking if this is the case).
Solution For Washing Machine Drain Problem
Resetting your washing machine
- First, you should perform a general reset of the machine. Turn the machine off at the powerpoint, wait for one minute, and then turn it back on.
- If you see no change, you can try a Master Reset. This will reset all of the onboard componentry and is often successfully used by appliance technicians. Open and close the door of the washing machine 6 times within 12 seconds. Then, run the rinse/spin cycle without clothing to see if your problems are resolved. If it drains, problem solved! If not, let’s move onto the unclogging!
Unclogging the drain hose
- Turn the machine off at the PowerPoint. You should always do this before moving the machine or making any adjustments.
- Check that the drain hose is not kinked or bent. This can affect the washer’s draining and may be causing the error.
- Now, remove the drain hose from the back of the machine. This is usually attached with a couple of simple screws. You may need a hand to pull the washer from its spot to access the hose entry point.
- Run some water through the hose to force the clog out. An outdoor hose connection works well. You can also use a plumbing snake, stick or long object to push the clog or item out.If you aren’t able to easily remove the drain hose, run the hottest cycle on your machine without clothing, as this may loosen up the blockage and push it through.
- Once water is steadily running through the washer drain hose, re-attach it to your machine. To ensure your machine drains efficiently, make sure that the end of the hose is not more than 12cm into the drain hole, and that it’s not kinked or bent.
If none of the above fixes your washer, your best bet is to contact the manufacturer about a service call.
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The washer door won’t unlock!
This is a problem most commonly found in front loaders, as top loaders don’t need to lock their doors to keep water inside.
Front loaders need to stay tightly sealed during operation. It’s not until the end of the wash cycle that the machine will unlock automatically. However, sometimes a front loader will malfunction and remain locked, trapping clothes and water in the machine.
There are a few possible reasons for this:
– The locking mechanism could have jammed (maybe some clothes have gotten in the way).
– There could be a glitch in the washer’s computer.
– The washing machine may not be draining properly, leaving the washer door locked and the drum filled with water.
- Restart it: If you think it might be a digital problem, try the old reset trick.
Turn the washing machine off at the powerpoint for at least 60 seconds, and then turn it back on. With a little luck, the master reset should restart the wash programs.
- Run a short cycle: If you think the problem is your clothes physically jamming the lock, you can set the washer to run another short cycle. This should get the clothes moving and hopefully unjam the lock. Sure, your clothes will get washed twice, but it saves calling out a technician for a simple solution!
- Check the drainage hose: If the machine isn’t draining, it may be time to inspect the drainage hose for clogs. A kinked drain hose can also affect wash cycles.
- Contact the manufacturer: If all else fails, contact the manufacturer – they can provide you with advice, and if your machine is under warranty, arrange for a professional repairer to drop by for a visit.
Note that while there are solutions online that involve taking the machine apart, attempting this can void the warranty or limit your ability to have the machine repaired by a service technician in future.
The washing machine smells!
Washing machines get dirty and mouldy over time. That same tell-tale smell is then transferred onto our clothes, and we end up having to waste money washing them again.
A basic washing machine clean involves running a cycle while the machine is empty, allowing water and cleaning solution to run through the nooks and crannies. Many modern machines also feature a dedicated Drum Clean cycle, or you can use a Hot Cycle as an alternative.
How to clean your washing machine
- This method will clean both front-loader and top-loader washing machines.
– 2 cups vinegar- 1/4 cup bicarb (baking) soda- 1/4 cup water
- First, ensure that any residual scum or mould around the washer opening is scrubbed away.
- Mix the water and baking soda together in a small container. Add this to the detergent compartment of your washing machine.
- Pour the vinegar directly into the washing machine drum.
- Choose the hottest setting available on your washer and start the cycle. The combination of vinegar and baking soda will break down any mould and mineral build-up and have your washer smelling fresher.TIP: To keep your machine in optimum condition, run this clean every 1-2 months.
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The washing machine keeps tripping the power!
Unfortunately, this is a problem with a lot of different potential causes.
Perhaps there’s a fault somewhere in the motor. Perhaps there’s a leak, and the water is getting where the power should be. Perhaps the motor overheats when the machine gets overloaded (this is probably what was happening to mine, which is why I replaced it with a front loader).
Of course, you can also avoid the problem by just not overloading the machine. But if your family has too much laundry for the machine to manage, it may be worth thinking about an upgrade to something a bit bigger.
If the problem persists, it’s best to call the manufacturer to discuss repair.
The washing machine keeps jumping around!
Ever put on a load of washing and come back later to find the machine has somehow danced across your laundry?
Well… there’s a good chance your washer is off-balance.
When a washing machine spins, high-speed centrifugal forces are working to remove water from your clothing. If one leg of your washer is shorter than the other, this will cause the machine to move about.
It’s loud, it’s dangerous, and it’s probably damaging the machine every time it happens.How do you solve this problem?
- Check that the machine is level. Make sure that all the feet are positioned on a flat surface. You can use a spirit level to check this and adjust the legs as needed.
NB: If the washer is new, transit bolts may still be fitted to the back of the machine. Check the back of the washer for 2-3 large fixed bolts. These must be removed for the machine to operate properly.
- Simply rearranging your clothes inside the washer can make a difference. Pause the cycle if possible and spread the clothes through the drum, evenly distributing the weighty items like towels and heavy garments so there isn’t one heavy clump being spun around and around.
- If the problem persists, you might also consider purchasing a new machine. Many new washers incorporate load-balancing technology, which detects and compensates off-balanced loads, helping to protect the machine and your clothes from damage.
Wrong Washing Machine Detergent
Front loader detergent in a top loader may mean your clothes don’t necessarily get the best clean, but nothing disastrous should take place.
As for the other case, top loader detergent is engineered to foam, as there’s usually plenty of room in a top-loader drum for the suds to expand and soak through the laundry.
If you’ve used top loader detergent in your front loader, stop the cycle if possible, and set the appliance to drain. The door won’t open until the drum is empty of water. If for any reason it’s not possible to stop and drain the machine, see if you can switch over to a shorter cycle to minimise soap build-up.
NB: High-Efficiency (HE) top loaders are designed to work with low-foaming detergents, so be careful which detergents you use here.
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Ensure you clean the lint filter regularly.
The serial number can be found at the back of the machine, under the lid (top loader), or by opening the door (front loader) and checking on the inside of the door.
Transit bolts lock the drum in place to stop it from moving about and being damaged during transit. You must remove these bolts to ensure the machine operates properly and stays balanced.