Five Common Washing Machine Problems and How to Solve Them

Five Common Washing Machine Problems and How to Solve Them

There’s nothing like the fresh, clean smell of just washed clothing. Washing machines, when in good repair, deliver sparkling clean clothes and linens. But sometimes your washer may need a little help. If you notice your machine isn’t operating as well as usual, check out these tips. 

Always keep your owner’s manual handy for locating the different parts of your machine and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for correct operation and safety. 

Problem #1 – My Machine Won’t Turn On

What do you do if you press the “ON” button or turn the dial and nothing happens?

Assuming the power cord is plugged in, the first thing to check is whether your machine is actually getting power.

  • Try plugging a lamp into the outlet to see if it works. If there is no electricity…
  • Check to see if a breaker tripped. 
  • If the breaker isn’t tripped, you might have a dead outlet (in which case, the wise move would be to call a licensed electrician). 

The next thing to check is the lid switch. This is a fairly common problem in top loaders. The switch is generally under the lid and activates the washer to start when the door is properly closed. If it is broken, the washer may not start at all.

A simple way to check the lid switch is to set your washer in the “ON” position. Use the blunt end of a pen and push it into the hole of the switch to trick the washer into starting. If nothing happens, you may need a repair person to replace the switch.

Your machine will turn off if the motor overheats. If this starts to happen, your best bet is to call in an expert.

Problem #2 – My Washing Machine Has an Unpleasant Odor

A musty or mildewy smell is a fairly common problem in your washer’s tub. 

Be sure to correct this as soon as possible because mold and mildew can lead to corrosion at some point. 

There could be various sources of an unpleasant odor in your washing machine:

  • To prevent mildew and mold, clean your washing machine every month. Periodically check the area around your washer for mold or mildew. A strong mixture of water and vinegar (a spray bottle is handy) and a clean cloth can be used to wipe down the machine. Do a full wash without laundry in hot water and add 1 to 2 cups of vinegar. 
  • Too much detergent creates excessive amounts of suds. This will leave a dirty residue that will eventually build up. Using the correct amount of detergent and fabric softener will keep problems to a minimum. Check your manual for the correct amount of detergent recommended per load.
  • The drain pump filter should be cleaned frequently. Small particles can get caught here causing water flow too slowly. This creates an ideal location for mold and mildew growth. Check your owner’s manual for instructions.

Problem #3 – My Clothes Are Coming Out of the Washer Streaky, Hairy or Just Not Clean

There could be different reasons for items coming out of the washing machine streaky or fur-laden or simply not as clean as you’d like them to be:

  • Avoid overloading your washer. When your washer is too full, clean water can’t get into all the nooks and crannies of your clothing and can’t pull out the dirt, hair, and other debris. Consult your owner’s manual for specific load maximums.
  • Less detergent is better. Instead of cleaning your clothes even better, too much detergent may redeposit lint and other debris back onto the clothing. Always follow the advice in your owner’s manual and use the soap dispenser if there is one on your machine.
  • Wash pet-related items such as blankets, and cat and dog beds, separate from the rest of the clothing. Use a lint brush or roller to remove excess hair before loading into the washer. 

If the pet load is especially dirty, clean the washing machine tub by hand after the wash.

Problem #4 – My Washing Machine Vibrates and Shakes, or Moves Across the Floor

When your washing machine is running, particularly during the spin cycle, it may shake or vibrate. If the vibration is intense, the machine may even move across the floor. High efficiency machines have a faster spin cycle than top-loading machines so are more prone to vibration and walking. 

It’s important to fix the problem of a “walking” washer because it can become detached from the water line or the drainage line, or it might strain at the power cord and cause an electrical fire.

  • Your machine may need to be releveled. Use a bubble level to assess the level of the machine from side-to-side and front-to- back. Readjust the machine’s level by turning the machine’s legs up or down. 
  • If your washer-dryer is stacked one on top of the other, check your connecting straps. If they loosen, they may cause the unit to shake. Tighten the connection straps or replace the straps if necessary to avoid the dryer falling off the washing machine.
  • Consider purchasing an anti-vibration pad. Pads that are at least three inches thick generally do an excellent job of reducing shaking and vibration. 

Problem #5 – My Washing Machine Will Not Spin

With this common problem, the basin has been drained of water but will not spin. If your machine refuses to spin it could be a sign of motor problems but it might also turn out to be a simple problem that’s easily solved. 

  • Often items that are heavy such as towels, blankets and jeans will imbalance the machine. However, mixing light and heavy items is an almost sure way to cause an imbalance in your washer basin. This will cause your machine to stop spinning. Redistributing the clothing should correct the problem. Avoid mixing light and heavy items together in the same load.
  • Be sure not to overload the machine. For a conventional top loader, don’t pack items past the agitator. For a front loader, you can pile items fairly high, but not past the last row of holes at the front.
  • Check the machine’s level on the floor. An out-of-level machine will stop spinning. Check the machine’s level with a bubble level and bring the machine back to level by adjusting the legs. 
  • Check the drainage and the drain hose. Small items may clog up the machine’s drainage system. Check your owner’s manual to see if you can check the washer’s drain pump without removing it. Finally, the drainage hose that leads from the back of the machine to a drainage point may be clogged.

Some simple maintenance should keep your washer lasting many years. However, some repairs should only be done by a professional. 

If your washing machine is in need of professional maintenance or repair, call C&W Appliance Repair at (855) 358-1496 or submit our online service request form for prompt service you can count on.


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