A broken washing machine can really stink.
While I’m sure there’s nothing you’d love more than to put dirty clothes in a washing machine and have them come out smelling worse than they did before, we’ve created this guide to help you fix that problem, and others like it, when they happen.
That means that you don’t necessarily have to devote yourself to washing your undies in the sink if you want to live a life free from stench.
All you need to do is read this useful guide for washing machine repairs. Whether your washer drum isn’t spinning like it should, or your clothes are coming out smelling even worse than before, we’ll give you the tips and advice you need to find the right solution.
Remember to be safe and sensible. Turn your washing machine off at the mains before you start working on it. The last thing you want is to hit a button and end up jamming your hand in some complicated machinery!
- Fix or Nix: Time to Put Your Washer Out to Dry?
- Washing Machine Woes: Common Troubleshooting Tips
- Washing Machine Sounds, Smells, and Stains, Oh My!
- Washing Machine Must-have Maintenance Tips
Fix or Nix: Time to Put Your Washer Out to Dry?
Ah, the beloved washing machine. So important to our daily lives, and yet so often taken for granted.
Unfortunately, just like any other piece of tech in your home, your washing machine can’t last forever. While some machines will prove themselves to be the little washer that could, plowing through your laundry year after year until they can simply take no more, others will be more likely to suffer from a faster breakdown.
Ultimately, the important thing to remember is that you will need to make the choice to put ol’ rusty out to pasture at some time or other. So, how do you know whether it’s time to give up the ghost?
How Old is Your Washer?
First, ask yourself how old the washing machine is. While it’s tempting to avoid buying a new washer whenever you can if you’ve been clinging to the same device for more than ten years, there’s a good chance it’s in need of replacement. Fortunately, since new, more efficient models seem to come out almost every few months, you could find that switching out your washing machine actually saves you some cash in the long-run.
Are you Still Under Warranty?
If your washing machine has caused you nothing but heartache lately, you might be tempted to simply dump it. However, check to find out whether your appliance is still under warranty first. If it is, then you might be able to get a service scheduled with an authorised technician, to get your washer working just as good as new. If you’re already past warranty, on the other hand, remember that tech appliances aren’t like a good wine – they don’t get better with age.
The unfortunate part of having a malfunctioning washer is recognising that you’re going to have to spend some money one way or another. Either you’ll need to pay out for an entirely new machine, or you’ll have to get the item repaired. The key is figuring out which option is cheaper for you in the long-run. If you’ve got a major repair to deal with, and your appliance isn’t under warranty, then it might be worth spending a little more in the short-term to buy a new washer and save yourself future heartache.
Do You Just Need a Little Elbow-Grease?
Since paying for a professional to come out and repair your washing machine for you can be pretty expensive, it’s worth thinking about whether you can fix your washer yourself (something we might be able to teach you how to do right here in this guide). There are plenty of problems with washers that can be repaired without any technical know-how or specialist skills. Make sure you double-check that it’s not a DIY drama before you spend the extra cash.
How Desperately Do You Need a Washer?
If you’ve got a big family, and your laundry is piling up more and more by the hour, you might not have the time to wait for a repairman. That might sound like a bit of a far-fetched excuse for getting a new washing machine, but remember that you can always get the old machine repaired at a later date, then sell it on to someone new online.
Fix or Nix: It’s Up to You
Ultimately, whether it’s time to say farewell to your old appliance or not is something that’s entirely up to you. No-one but a professional can tell you whether you absolutely need to spend out on a new machine, and even then, you’re free to ignore this advice and keep struggling with the same old tired washer problems for another few months.
Hopefully, with the guidance above, you’ll be able to figure out for yourself whether your washing machine is really past its best-by date, or whether it just needs a little TLC before you load up your laundry.
Washing Machine Woes: Common Troubleshooting Tips
If you’ve decided that you want to keep your old washing machine around for a little longer, then it’s a good idea to think about whether the problems you’re facing are DIY issues or something that needs the expertise of a professional.
If you’ve got a guidebook, brochure, or pile of product information about your washing machine, grab it now. Most of the time, these documents can be useful when it comes to figuring out what’s going on with your appliance. If you’ve double-checked everywhere from the utensil drawer to behind the fridge, and you still can’t find your owner’s manual, you could always try looking online for a copy.
Don’t worry if you’re fresh-out of washing machine information. You’ll still be able to use this guide to troubleshoot your most common washing woes.
Problem 1: The Washing Machine Isn’t Working
There’s a difference between a washing machine that doesn’t work properly and a washing machine that doesn’t work at all. If you flip the switch on your washer and nothing happens, then there could be a problem with your circuits. The first things to check in this instance are:
- Your fuse box
- Lid switch
- Circuit breaker
Once you’ve checked that the machine is getting power, you’ll be able to start troubleshooting other potential issues. For instance, make sure that there’s electricity flowing from the outlet by plugging a small appliance into the same socket. If that’s fine, then the problem might be with something else.
For instance, is your washer in a pause cycle, with the lid open? Washers cannot agitate or spin when the lid is open. There’s a “lid switch” probe on your washer that can sometimes get broken or dislodged. Double check to see that this is working properly to lock your washing machine door.
Problem 2: The Washing Machine Isn’t Spinning
If your washing machine seems to start up fine, but it doesn’t spin when you add your clothes, detergent, and water, start by making sure that the lid is properly closed. This means double-checking that little plastic part that convinces the washing machine that your door is locked and ready for a cycle. If the switch is fine, check that the washer isn’t in a soak cycle, and remember that you can alter the water level to ensure that the control switch doesn’t get stuck.
If you or your family notice a humming when your washing machine is on, there may be something stuck in the drain pump, and this will require you to call out a specialist for repair. If none of these things is the problem, there’s a good chance that there could be an issue with your machine belt. The belt in your washing machine controls the agitator, but sometimes it can shake loose, leading to problems with the overall machine. Once again, you’ll need a professional’s help with repairing a damaged or broken belt.
Problem 3: The Washing Machine Won’t Drain
The last thing you want is to open the door on your washing machine and discover it’s still full of water. If there’s a drainage issue with your appliance, the problem might have an obvious solution. Begin by checking the drain hose on your appliance for any kinks, and go through any lint filters in the drain hose. This could simply be blocking the water from draining.
If there’s nothing in your washing machine that could be preventing drainage, then the issue may be with your pump. Sometimes, a washing machine pump will seize and lock up. If the motor is still running, it may continue to try and turn the pump, causing the belt to break. If your pump could be jammed, you’ll need to drain the tub, remove the hose, and look for any obstructions. If you can’t find any issues, then you’ll need to call for help.
Problem 4: The Washing Machine Won’t Finish the Cycle
If your washing machine starts running fine, but suddenly stops and refuses to go any further (like a petulant child) in the middle of your wash, there’s a good chance something went wrong with your timer. To check whether there’s a problem with your cycle settings, take off the control panel and look for any signs of corrosion or scorching.
You can also double check to see if the washing machine is showing any error codes on the digital display. Many washing machines now come with error codes that you can look up in your user manual if something goes wrong.
Problem 5: The Washing Machine is Leaking
Finally, a leaky washing machine can be a common problem for some homeowners. Unfortunately, no-one likes a soapy washing-room floor. If your washer is only leaking during a spin cycle, then there’s a good chance your problem links back to a leaky drainage hose. Over-sudsing is also a common problem in homes that use water softeners. Start by reducing your amount of detergent, and this could reduce some of your leaking problems.
In some cases, leaks can occur around the door seal too. This sometimes happens because of build-up of dirt and soap around the seal itself, which stops a proper seal from occurring. Make sure that you wipe the seal down carefully, and make sure the edge of the gasket is clean and secure.
Additionally, keep in mind that parts of plastic bleach dispensers can sometimes crack and break off, causing leakage during the washing machine “flush”. This is because bleach is a highly corrosive chemical. Using a lot of bleach can lead to rust stains and problems with steel parts. Think about switching out to oxygenating bleach instead.
Sounds, Smells, and Stains, Oh My!
If you’re not facing any of the problems in the previous chapter, but your washing machine is still acting up – don’t worry, we’re not finished offering up solutions just yet. Sometimes, the biggest problems with washing machines come down to how they sound, smell, and perform. If your washing machine is keeping you awake at all hours of the night with its clunking and clattering, or it’s simply not dispensing detergent as it should be, check out the following tips.
Help! My Washer is Too Noisy
A noisy washing machine is usually a sign that a foreign object has gotten somewhere it shouldn’t. This might be a few coins from your jacket pocket or a misplaced lipstick. If the problem is a foreign object, then it’s a simple fix. On the other hand, there’s always a chance that sounds could be a sign that parts need to be replaced. Check out these simple fixes before you call a repairman:
- Gurgling: If your washer is gurgling, this is a sign that something is obstructing your drain line. Open the machine and check the drain line to look for any obstructions.
- Clicking: If you hear a “clicking” noise, then an object could be lodged in the drainage area of the washer. This might be a coin or something small, so check the drain and remove any loose objects.
- Buzzing/humming: If you hear buzzing or humming, then the problem is probably with an item that’s lodged in your pump. You will need to replace your pump if the item caused any serious damage.
Help! My Washer is Vibrating!
Maybe your washing machine isn’t overly loud, but it is vibrating like crazy, causing you to worry about damage around, and inside of the machine. Too much shaking can easily dislodge parts within your appliance, so make sure you get your vibrations under control. The possible causes for washer vibration can range all the way from unbalanced loads, to feet that aren’t level. Check the following factors:
- Feet: Make sure the feet on your washing machine are firmly in contact with the floor. Balance or level the washer and tighten the nuts to make sure that the feet and legs can’t shift over time.
- Floor: Check the floor for any issues with sagging. You might need to add a few pieces of plywood to the mix to make sure that your washer is completely level.
- Laundry: Finally, think about rearranging your load of laundry. Sometimes, the way you load your laundry can lead to shifting.
Help! My Washer Smells!
It’s not unusual for washing machines to develop mildew-based or musty smells after a while. Sometimes, this can happen both in, and around the appliance, and it’s often caused by problems with bacterial and mould growth. Washing tubs provide a perfectly dark space in which bacteria can start to thrive, this is why most washers will develop a “bio-film” which is a type of decaying matter that builds up over time.
Some washers are more prone to smells than others, and over time, your problem can get worse if it’s left untreated. In fact, the stench could even spread into your laundry! Check the following things for smell problems:
- Temperature: Hot water can kill the mould problem, so try giving your washer a rinse through.
- Detergent: Too much detergent will lead to excess suds, and cause dirty residue to build within the basket and other parts.
- Drain filter: The drain pump filter needs to be cleaned at least once a month! Small items can get caught in this filter and create a home for mould growth.
Help! My Washer Doesn’t Dispense Detergent
A washing machine isn’t much good at getting rid of stains when it’s not dispensing detergent. If you have an automatic dispenser, there are two common issues that could cause problems with your system, these are:
- The dispenser needs cleaning: properly cleaning your dispenser with a cup of distilled white vinegar will clear away any clogs to help your dispenser work like new.
- Incorrect products: Using the wrong type of bleach or detergent might make it harder for your washing machine to perform as it should. Make sure you’re using the right substance.
Must-Have Machine Maintenance Tips
Hopefully, these tips have helped you to figure out some of the problems with your washing machine. However, if you want to keep future issues to a minimum, then you’re going to have to show your appliances some love. Don’t worry if you’re not used to caring for your machine – it’s pretty easy to get to grips with a few simple steps for maintenance.
Just remember to:
- Clean Your Washing Machine: If you’re constantly asking yourself why your washing machine stinks, there’s a pretty good chance you need to clean it. All you need to do to get rid of the smell problem is turn off your machine, and give the three key parts of your machine: the drum, drawer, and filter, a thorough wipe-down. Once you’re done, you can run an empty wash on a warm temperature, with a standard dose of detergent.
- Load Correctly: Making sure your washing machine is properly loaded can help you to keep your clothes and appliance in a better condition. You should fill your washing machine loosely to allow the detergent and water to circulate properly.
- Replace water hoses: Regularly check your hose for bulging, fraying, cracking, and leaks that might cause problems with performance. Replace a hose if you find a problem or around every three to five years for preventative maintenance.
- Move the machine: Make sure you have at least four inches of space between your wall, and the washing machine, this will stop hoses from kinking.
- Keep the machine level: A washing machine that isn’t level can vibrate during the spin cycle, which can damage both your machine and the floor! Balance your washer by turning the legs clockwise to lower them, or counterclockwise to raise them.
- Prevent odors: Leave the washing machine lid or door open in between loads to dry the unit out and make sure it keeps smelling fresh. With front-loading washers, think about wiping down the rubber seal before your next load.
- Clean the lint filters: Always make sure that you take the time to clean out the lint filter on your machine. This will help to make sure you don’t get any clogs or drainage problems in the future.
And there you go!
All the simple and effective troubleshooting tips you need to fix your washer.
While this guide might not be a complete insight into every conceivable problem that might happen within your washing machine (there are all kinds of issues out there), we covered all of the most common issues that we respond to when helping our clients.