Common washing machine problems and how to care for your machine

Washer won't drain

There’s no doubt that the washing machine is one of humankind’s greatest inventions. Just throw your dirty clothes in the drum with some detergent (and fabric softener if you’d like), and they’ll come out looking all clean and fresh!

But unfortunately, like other home appliances, a washing machine can also encounter technical problems.

If your washing machine isn’t cleaning clothes like it used to or makes an unusual noise during each cycle, the chances are that something is wrong with it.

Read on to find out more about signs your washing machine may need repairs and how to avoid them.

5 Common Washing Machine Problems

Here are five signs of a faulty washing machine:

1. The washer won’t drain

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 properly engaging in the drain/spin cycle. It may present with an error code

  • The drain pump is broken (the washer will generally make an unpleasant sound or start leaking in this case)

2. The washing machine vibrates or makes noise

If your washing machine is humming, buzzing, or vibrating more than usual, it can be a sign of a bigger problem.

The possible causes of excessive noise or vibration include:

  • Unbalanced washing machine feet

  • Heavy wash loads

  • Worn drum bearings

  • Obstructions in the outer tub or inner drum (coins, etc.)

3. The washing machine smells

Your washing machine is supposed to clean your clothes, but it can’t do the job well if it’s dirty. Yes, that’s right.

The primary cause of a smelly washing machine is a dirty door seal or a mould, mildew, and bacteria-infested drum or detergent drawer. This usually happens when:

  • You use a low-efficiency detergent, and the small amount of water cannot rinse it properly. As a result, the drum gets coated with a layer of soap scum.

  • You haven’t dried the inner drum for a long time.

4. The washer door won’t unlock

This problem is usually found in front-load washing machines, as top load ones don’t need a lock to keep the water inside.

A front-load washing machine needs to stay tightly sealed during operation. The door unlocks itself once the cycle is over. However, sometimes it might malfunction and remain locked.

There are a few possible reasons for this: 

  • The locking mechanism is jammed (maybe because some clothes got in the way)

  • There is a glitch in the washer’s computer

  • The washing machine is not be draining properly, leaving the washer door locked and the drum filled with water

5.The washing machine won’t finish its cycle

If your washing machine is relatively modern, it should flash up an error code when it fails to complete the cycle. You can check the manual to decipher the problem.

Some common causes might include:

  • The water is not heating up properly – or is overheating – due to a faulty thermostat
  • The machine is unable to drain water properly between each cycle
  • There might be a faulty connection, forcing the machine to turn on and off mid-cycle
  • The door latch is damaged or broken

How To Identify Common Washing Machine Problems

Washing machine problems can seriously disturb your daily household routine. Luckily, it’s quite easy to identify most of the common washing problems, so you know when it’s time to call the technician.

Here are some ways to identify the problems we’ve discussed above:

  • Check if the power plug is loose or the break has been flipped
  • Inspect the drain pipe for any blockages or breakage
  • Check the detergent dispenser for mould, mildew, bacteria, or any other kind of buildup
  • Pull the knobs off of your washer control panel, flip them over, and check for dirt or damages
  • Test the lid switch/door switch by closing and opening it two to three times
Washer won't drain

How To Care For Your Washing Machine

Follow these steps to protect the integrity of your washing machine and avoid the problems mentioned above:

  • Deep clean the machine regularly (depending on your usage) using an effective machine cleaner or professional help.
  • Don’t keep the machine too close to the wall, as this may cause the hoses to bend and kink, which could affect the water flow.
  • Regularly inspect the water hoses for any crack, leakage, or obstruction. If you notice a problem, hire a technician to fix it.
  • Empty and wash the lint filter regularly to keep collecting debris and particles efficiently.
  • Choose a high-efficiency detergent that’s suitable for your machine model. Also, make sure you put the right amount of detergent in every cycle.
  • If your machine has dispensers for detergent and fabric softeners, wash them regularly.
  • Leave the machine door open for 15 to 30 minutes after each cycle to prevent bacteria and mould build up. Use a towel to dry the inner drum for best results.

Get Help From Expert Washing Machine Technicians Today

Taking care of your washing machine can help you prevent many problems, but some problems are inevitable as your machine ages and faces wear and tear.

If you follow the above practices but still encounter a problem, don’t stress. Inspect your machine for any visible signs of problems, and then proceed accordingly.

You can fix some of these problems by yourself, especially if you’re into DIY, but we recommend calling a technician as a washing machine is a delicate appliance. 

You might end up doing more harm than good in an attempt to fix it yourself. It might cost more, but will ultimately save you from a bigger problem, or changing your washing machine altogether.