Easy fixes for washing machine starting and filling issues

June 30, 2015

A problem with your washing machine can be overwhelming, but don't make a call for repair just yet. Many common issues are easily solved with a little elbow grease and a little know-how.

Easy fixes for washing machine starting and filling issues

My machine won’t start

Check your power and the door lock

  1. Make sure that the machine is plugged in. Test the wall socket with another appliance — for example, a lamp — that you know is working. If the socket is dead, check the circuit breaker or fuse that protects the outlet.
  2. Push the door firmly shut. Your washing machine is fitted with an interlock that prevents operation unless it is closed.
  3. Make sure that your domestic water supply is on — turn a nearby tap to check.

Why won’t my washing machine fill up?

Check the water inlets

If water is coming out of your kitchen taps, but not filling the washing machine, you'll need to check the inlet hoses. To do so, you'll need to move the machine away from the wall.

  1. Washing machines are awkward to move safely. Begin by tilting the machine backwards; slide a piece of hardboard (wood fibre board) under its front feet. This will allow you to slide your machine across the floor without causing damage. Then, open the door of the machine and put your hand at the top of the opening. Gripping the inside edge of the door frame, pull the machine away from the wall until you have enough room to get access to the inlet hoses at the rear.
  2. Make sure the water hose is connected to the washing machine and ensure the inlet valves are open. Check that the service valves between the water supply and your machine are open, too.
  3. Straighten out any kinks in the water hose and restart the machine.
  4. If it still doesn't fill with water, or fills only slowly, try cleaning the filters in the inlet hoses.


Before working on any electrical appliance, check that it has been disconnected from the main power source and that you can see the plug. Never risk working on a live appliance.

My machine won’t empty

Drain out the water and clear your outlet filter

A partly blocked outlet filter will make your machine smell stagnant and will eventually stop it from draining, trapping your wash in soapy water. The filter is usually located behind a hinged panel at the bottom of the machine.

  1. Run the machine's drain cycle a couple of times to remove as much water as possible from the drum.
  2. Lay an old towel on the floor and tuck it under the front of the machine to catch any splashes.
  3. Place a shallow but wide container — a baking tray is ideal — under the filter, then release the filter by twisting its handle or grip-point. Allow the water to flow out gradually; you may need to empty the container a few times.
  4. Switch off your washing machine and unplug it. Remove the filter from the machine and clean it with a stiff brush under running water. While the filter is out, feel carefully within the filter chamber and remove any stray objects, such as coins, buttons or small toys, trapped inside.
  5. Replace the filter and check that it's tightly in place. Close the filter cover and try the machine again.
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