Easy Fixes for Washing Machine Operating Issues

September 18, 2015

Not every issue with your washing machine requires a call for repair--or a trip to the store for a new machine. Some common problems can be fixed with a little know-how.

Easy Fixes for Washing Machine Operating Issues

The washing machine shakes noisily

Get it level for a quieter spin

An unbalanced load will cause your washing machine to vibrate violently in its spin cycle, but if your machine habitually wobbles across the laundry room floor it probably needs levelling.

  • Carefully pull the machine away from the wall. Place a spirit level on the top of the machine, aligned from left to right.
  • Adjust the machine's feet by turning them with a wrench or pliers; clockwise movement will raise the corner.

My washing machine won’t spin

Spread the load

Washing machines contain sensors that disable the spin cycle if the load is unbalanced. They may be triggered if the machine is overloaded (try removing some items) or if you are washing just one heavy item, such as a towel (try adding more items to balance the load). If you are washing several items, try redistributing the load more evenly in the drum. If the problem persists, try the following fixes.

  • Clean the door mechanism. Vacuum around the door catch and open and close the machine a few times to dislodge any debris that may be caught in the switch. Blast compressed air from a can through the switch mechanism.
  • Reset the machine's circuits by unplugging it and waiting 24 hours. Plug it back in and try a normal wash cycle.

If these solutions don't work, you'll need a professional repair.

Make washing machines last

Washing machines undergo a lot of use over its lifetime. Keep your machine running with the below tips.

  • Air out your machine between washes. Keep the door open and its detergent tray extended to ventilate the machine and so prevent the growth of mildew.
  • Wipe down the door seal to remove any trapped water.
  • Wash at the temperature indicated on the garments — not lower — and use the precise amount of detergent recommended by the machine's manufacturer for different loads. Too much liquid detergent can encourage the growth of bacteria in the tank.
  • Cut lime if you live in a hard-water area. Use a water-softening powder in your machine to reduce lime buildup on the heating element. Alternatively, descale your machine every three months using a dedicated descaler product or 250 millilitres (one cup) of white vinegar added to an empty wash at 60°C (140°F).
  • Check your pockets for coins, pens and — especially — children's toys. These end up in the wash all too often and can cause damage or blockages.
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