she filled the washing machine and switched it on

Whether your washing machine isn’t cleaning your clothes lượt thích it used to tướng, or you keep finding leaks after each cycle, don’t ignore the signs that something's wrong with your machine.  

Some washing machine problems can be solved very easily using a few tools or even just by tightening a hose, while others may need the work of a professional. Read our tips and advice on how to tướng fix some of the more frequent faults.

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If your washing machine spends more of its life being repaired phàn nàn it does washing clothes, it might be time to tướng buy a new one. 

We’ve pulled out our best washing machines so you can quickly find a great model you can rely on.

Washing machine not cleaning

My washing machine doesn't clean my clothes

A washing machine that doesn't clean your clothes is far from ideal. But it happens – and more often phàn nàn you'd think.

One of the most common reasons is a blocked detergent line or tray. If your detergent and softener can't reach your clothes then how can the washing machine wash properly? To add to tướng this, if there is a blockage, eventually detergent, germs and even mould will build up and transfer onto your laundry. This will also happen if the filter is clogged or the drainage pipe is blocked.

Try cleaning out both the detergent drawer and filter before starting your next wash cycle. If it's still not working, you might need to tướng kiểm tra the drainage (see below).

Other reasons might include: 

  • Overloading – if you try to tướng squeeze too many items in one wash, you could be left with no clean clothes at all. Overloading means the clothes can't move around the machine, dirt can get trapped between items of clothing and it leaves little room for the detergent to tướng disperse.
  • Using the wrong detergent or selecting the wrong wash cycle – certain detergents work best at specific temperatures, sánh kiểm tra this before buying. On the other hand, certain wash programs will be designed for specific garments - silk for example. Opting for the wrong cycle might result in an underwhelming wash.

Why won't my washing machine finish its cycle?

If your machine is relatively modern, it should display an error code when it fails to tướng finish a wash cycle. If sánh, kiểm tra the manual to tướng help you find the best way to tướng tackle the problem.

When an error code doesn't appear, other causes might include:

  • Faulty heating – If the machine turns off in the first half hour, the water may not be heating up correctly, which will signal for the machine to tướng stop mid-cycle. On the other hand, if the cycle stops past 30 minutes the water may be overheating, again forcing the cycle to tướng come to tướng a halt. The most likely cause for this is a faulty thermistor.
  • Drainage – If your machine cannot drain the water between each cycle then it could force the machine to tướng come to tướng a stop prematurely. Check for blockages in the pump filter and the drain hose.
  • Faulty connection – If there is a faulty connection your machine could turn itself on and off randomly. This can be hard to tướng determine sánh it's wise to tướng điện thoại tư vấn out a technician.
  • Overheating – If you have used your machine consecutively for the past five hours it might just be overheating. Give it a break and try again later.
  • Leaks – Some machines will stop mid cycle if they suspect a leak. If you see water coming from anywhere on the machine kiểm tra the hoses, pump and door seal.

My washing machine won't advance to tướng the next cycle

The most likely reason why your washing machine won't advance to tướng the next cycle is a faulty timer. The timer controls each step of the cycle, moving the process from wash to tướng rinse, and then spin. So if the timer breaks, the cycles can't automatically move on.

Washing machine control dial

The good news is that you can easily replace it yourself or hire a tradesperson to tướng tự it for you – just make sure you buy a timer that is compatible with your washer make and model.

Other possible causes include:

  • Door latch or interlock – The interlock is activated when the door is safely closed with the latch. It allows the machine to tướng know it's safe to tướng start the wash or to tướng advance to tướng the next cycle during a wash. If this breaks, the machine won't know if and when it's ready to tướng carry on.
  • Drainage – The drain pump removes excess water from the drum during each step of the wash cycle. If the drain pump is broken and either can't remove the water or indicate that it's done, then the machine won't continue to tướng run rẩy. Strange noises coming from the machine during (supposed) draining is a sure sign there's a problem.

My washing machine won't spin

If your washing gets to tướng the over of each cycle but refuses to tướng spin, it could be down to tướng something as simple as overloading your machine, causing it to tướng become unbalanced. If you've jammed in too many heavy towels, for example, the weight can affect the sensors and shut off the machine. Re-balance the load and try again.

Need a bigger washing machine sánh you can fit more in one wash? Check out our reviews of washing machines with an extra-large drum capacity.

Washing machine drum advice 483368

If it's not a problem with overloading, it could be one of these issues giving you a washing machine that won't spin:

  • Broken door latch or interlock – When the door closes fully the latch will be secure and that will signal to tướng the interlock that the door is closed and it is safe to tướng to move on to tướng the next step in the cycle – for example, the spin. The interlock will then ensure that the door stays shut while the wash is in progress. If either of these are broken or worn away then the washing machine will not get the green light to tướng start spinning. You can kiểm tra this by pressing the latch – if it doesn't click, it's broken. Also look at the plastic parts around the door lock, if they are worn or corroded the signal might not be working.
  • Drive belt – Find out if the drive belt is the root of the problem by opening the door and trying to tướng spin the drum. There should be some resistance – if the drum turns easily then the belt might need replacing.
  • Drain block – If the drum cannot drain then the spin cycle will not begin. If you can still see water inside when the spin should be starting this is a clear sign you need to tướng kiểm tra your pipes for a blockage.

Other causes include a faulty drive motor or pump. If you're still not sure on the cause điện thoại tư vấn in a professional to tướng inspect your machine.

Washing machine isn't heating the water

Most modern washing machines will display an error code on the control panel if there's a problem with the heating system. You can then tìm kiếm for this error code along with the make and model of your machine to tướng find a fix.

It's also important to tướng note that just because you cannot feel the heat through the washing machine it doesn't mean the water isn't hot, as most machines are insulated. If the clothes are being effectively cleaned and there's no error code, then the heating is probably fine.

Smelly washing machine

Why does my washing machine smell?

You spend sánh much time using your washing machine to tướng clean your clothes you forget that it might need a wash itself from time to tướng time. Smells can come from a dirty door seal or a mouldy drum or detergent drawer.

But the first thing to tướng kiểm tra is the filter and the drain hose for any blockages. Put towels on the floor to tướng soak any excess water and pull out the filter (normally placed at the bottom of the machine). Remove any material or debris.

Before checking the drain hose, grab a bucket because there could be a gush of water when you detach it from the waste trap under the sink. Inspect both the hose and the trap for anything that could be clogging it up.

If it's clear, then you might need to tướng give the machine a good clean. Mould, built-up grime and detergent can all contribute to tướng bad smells. 

Follow our five easy steps and watch the video clip on How to tướng clean a smelly washing machine.

Washing machine has a burning smell

A burning smell coming from your washing machine can indicate a potentially dangerous situation. Immediately turn off the machine and unplug it.

The burning smell could be down to tướng a broken drive belt or motor but it's important not to tướng try and attempt to tướng fix the machine yourself unless you're qualified. Instead, điện thoại tư vấn out a professional to tướng diagnose the problem.

Filling and draining problems

My washing machine won't drain

If your washing machine won't drain  the excess water, then it will either be caused by a blockage or the pump is broken. You can kiểm tra which is more likely by listening to tướng the machine during a cycle. 

If you can hear the pump running but the water isn't draining, then it's a blockage. If you can't hear the pump, something's wrong with it.

Whether it's a coin, key or loose sock, blockages are common in washing machines. 

First unplug the washing machine and lắc down some towels – water will leak out. Next, inspect the pump filter, which is typically situated at the bottom of the machine, and clear it of any debris.

Now, inspect the drain hose. Typically attached to tướng the waste trap under the sink, the drain hose will be connected via a spigot. 

Unscrew this and empty the excess water from the hose into a bucket or sink. Look in the hose and the waste trap for blockages and remove if necessary.

If none of the above works, kiểm tra the pump itself for small items of clothing or material that might have wrapped around the impeller. 

Still nothing? The pump may be broken and need replacing or you could have an electrical fault. A technician can help with this.

If your washing machine is broken, kiểm tra out our list of the best washing machine brands for 2023.

Why is my washing machine leaking?

First, kiểm tra your detergent. Using incorrect products or too much soap can result in excess suds that could cause the drum to tướng overfill and leak.

Next, ensure the machine is completely level – if it's not, water can seep out.

If the machine's still leaking, then it's time to tướng inspect the hose. Tighten the connections and look for any cracks or rips. 

If water still leaks during the next cycle, you might need to tướng change the water inlet filter screens or the O-rings in the water hose. Any build-up of debris or general wear and tear can cause these items to tướng fail and leak.

If the hose itself is leaking, then it will need to tướng be replaced. It's also wise to tướng kiểm tra the water pump, too.

If the leak is slightly smaller and coming from the front, this could be the washing machine door. The seal around the dome can become worn with age, resulting in leaking and/or condensation, but it's easily replaceable.

My washing machine is overfilling

The most common reason for a washing machine overfilling with water is a broken water-level pressure switch. The pressure switch uses air pressure to tướng sense the water level in the machine and tells your washing machine when to tướng stop. If the switch has broken or is blocked then the machine will not know when to tướng stop filling.

There is also a tube attached to tướng the switch. If this has come away from the switch the machine could also risk overfilling. 

Unplug your washing machine, unscrew the top panel and inspect the pressure switch. Each machine will be different sánh kiểm tra your manual beforehand.

Another possible culprit could be the water inlet valve. This electronic valve controls the filling of the water. If the valve is faulty and doesn't close during each cycle once the water is at the appropriate level, it will overfill.

Why is my washing machine sánh noisy?

Whether your washing machine hums, buzzes or vibrates, if the noise is excessive then it's probably something you shouldn't ignore.

Leaving your washing machine to tướng make a racket even though it's still running could result in breaking the machine completely.

The possible causes include:

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  • Worn drum bearings
  • Unbalanced washing machine feet
  • Obstructions in the outer tub and inner drum
  • Heavy wash loads

If you think your washer is creating a commotion, follow these easy steps on How to tướng fix a loud washing machine.

Strange noises coming from a washing machine are a slightly different concern to tướng the machine simply being loud. Sounds such as rattling, scraping or knocking shouldn't be ignored, even if they're quiet.

Research and feedback from Which? members has shown the most common reasons for strange washing machine sounds are coins and bra wires. We experimented by putting £1 coins into a variety of washing machines, and found you typically have about 15 minutes to tướng hear them rattling around and pinging off the door before the sound of the wash drowns them out. Bra underwiring makes more of a scratching sound.

Why does my washing machine shake, move and vibrate?

If your washing machine won't stop vibrating or even moves around the room during a wash, it probably needs levelling out. Every washing machine has to tướng sit level on a flat surface – and if it isn't it will shake, especially during spin cycles.

Check if the machine is aligned using a spirit level. If it isn't, adjust the feet underneath accordingly.

If the feet are level, then it might be the surface causing the issue. Uneven flooring can create a shaky machine sánh you can try sitting it on a sturdy piece of wood or old desktop and manoeuvre the corners to tướng even it out.

Unbalanced washing loads can also create lots of movement. For example, squeezing in eight large bath towels and a bed sheet is too much for a 6kg-capacity washing machine – it's bound to tướng vibrate.

If you've just moved house or your washing machine is new, make sure you have removed the transit bolts. These bolts are fitted to tướng the rear panel of the machine and help to tướng lock the drum in place while it's being moved. 

Machines typically have three or four bolts that must be removed before you can use it. If they aren't taken off this will cause vibrations and could eventually cause irreparable damage.

Watch: How to tướng fix strange sounds coming from a washing machine

Turn off and fully unplug your machine before you tự anything. If your machine is mid-cycle when it starts to tướng play up, follow advice in the instruction manual for stopping and draining it.

If you suspect something is stuck in your washing machine causing an odd noise, kiểm tra the rubber seal and drum - our tests showed that coins are most likely to tướng get stuck here

Afterwards, kiểm tra if lost items have ended up in the filter. Follow the instructions in the manual to tướng kiểm tra and clean the filter, or watch the video clip above.

If the culprit still can't be found, you run rẩy the risk of it slipping between the rubber seal and the metal drum and fall into the surrounding plastic tub. Items that don't get washed down into the filter can be flung about violently by the drum's rotation, especially during the spin cycle. 

The £1 coins we use in our tests have been known to tướng be flung with such force by the drum that it's penetrated the outer plastic tub, which can potentially flood your kitchen and write off your machine.

If something does get stuck in this area, it's likely to tướng make a very loud noise when the machine's running, especially during the spin cycle. If you suspect an item has got caught here, stop the machine and điện thoại tư vấn a repairer. 

The cost of removing the drum assembly for many washing machines is very high, and combined with the call-out cost, it may work out cheaper to tướng buy a new washing machine - we've found Best Buy washing machines for less phàn nàn £400.

Washing machine door problems

My washing machine door won't lock

If your washing machine door refuses to tướng lock, then you firstly need to tướng inspect the door and the handle – is there any visible damage that would mean the latch won't operate?

If the door looks fine, then the most likely culprit is a faulty door interlock. This can be repaired. Keen DIYers should find this process relatively simple but always kiểm tra the instructions for your specific model.

One other, slightly more difficult fix would be repairing the control board. If the interlock is fine but the control board isn't connecting with it, then the machine won't know when to tướng start. Calling in a professional to tướng test this should be your next course of action.

My washing machine door won't open

There are plenty of reasons why a washing machine door might refuse to tướng budge, including:

  • Drainage – As with all washing machines, if the excess water cannot be drained away from the drum adequately, not only will the cycle stop but the door will also lock. If you can visibly see water left in the drum at the over of the wash then it's likely you have a blockage in the drain hose or the pump. See above for how to tướng drain water from your machine.
  • Door damage – If the door, handle or latch has any damage this could cause the machine to tướng cease opening. Inspect your door before calling out the repair man.
  • Faulty interlock – The interlock is a mechanism further inside that keeps the door shut while a wash is in process. If this is damaged, the washing machine won't know the wash has stopped and therefore won't signal that the door can be opened. Diagnosing and replacing this can be tricky, sánh it's worth calling a professional in.

How to tướng open a washing machine in an emergency

Opening your washing machine door in the sự kiện of an emergency isn't easy – or quick. And, depending on your model, there might not even be a solution.

For safety reasons, most machines lock as soon as the cycle begins and not open until after the cycle has completed.

However, some machines have an emergency drain or unlock feature that you can use if the power cuts out.

If your model doesn't have this feature, you can also push the pause button. Once the water has drained away, you'll be able to tướng open the door. You can then restart the cycle by pressing the start button again.

Washing machine has a dodgy detergent drawer

Detergent drawers are prone to tướng build-ups of mould, detergent residue and - in extreme cases - a Black jelly-like substance.

As well as looking unpleasant, if it builds up it can prevent detergent from being washed into the machine and water entering the drum.

Most problems with detergent drawers can be fixed by giving them a good clean, and manufacturers recommend you tự this regularly anyway. If your detergent drawer is actually broken, replacements can be bought from the manufacturer.

Remove the drawer completely from the washing machine, then while wearing gloves, use lukewarm water and washing-up liquid to tướng give it a good scrub. You'll also want to tướng clean the gap where the drawer sits in the machine, paying particular attention to tướng the holes in the top.

It's also worth doing a service wash on your machine, which means running a very hot wash or a special program - kiểm tra in the manual for details. Doing this once a month will help to tướng keep dirt and grime at cất cánh.

The only downside to tướng this is that washing on hot temperatures costs more. In our tests, we measure how much water and energy each machine uses, sánh we can give you an average running cost. 

Washing machine won't turn on or off

My washing machine won't turn on

When your washing machine won't turn on, the first thing to tướng kiểm tra is the connection and the socket. Is it plugged in? Does the socket look damaged? Can another appliance get power from the same socket? It might not be a fault with the washing machine.

Once you've confirmed that the electricity supply isn't the problem, kiểm tra the standby switch on the machine. Does it depress normally? Does it stay depressed? Does it look broken? If sánh, replacing the power switch could tự the job.

If the display panel is lit up and you can select program but the cycles won't start, then the door latch might be to tướng blame. This latch indicates to tướng the interlock, and therefore to tướng the machine, that it's safe to tướng move onto the next cycle. If it has worn or broken, the machine won't proceed with a wash. You can attempt to tướng fix this yourself, but if you're not keen on DIY, điện thoại tư vấn a local tradesperson.

Another mechanical issue that could be at fault is the door interlock. This isn't the spring that latches the door shut but the electrical mechanism further inside that keeps the door shut while a wash is in process. Diagnosing and replacing this can be tricky, sánh it's worth calling a professional in.

My washing machine won't work after moving house

Before you tự anything, make sure you have removed the transit bolts. These are the bolts in the rear panel that keep the drum locked while the washing machine is being moved. If your machine is vibrating or not running correctly and these are still in place, that's why.

If the bolts have been removed and it's still not working it might be an issue with the installation.

Our guide explains How to tướng install a washing machine properly – take a look.

It's also worth noting the problem might not be anything to tướng tự with the move. Check our other common problems to tướng help diagnose the flaw.

My washing machine won't turn off

If the power to tướng your washing machine won't turn off then your standby button may be faulty. But if the wash cycles won't stop and instead continue after every spin, then it's probably down to tướng the timer or control board.

The timer will signal to tướng the machine when to tướng move to tướng the next phase of the cycle, while the control board will signify what program to tướng use. If either of these is damaged or worn, the machine may continue to tướng run rẩy until it's manually stopped. Both parts can be replaced, but the latter should be done by a professional.

If the pump or drain is blocked, therefore stopping the removal of excess water, the machine will also continue to tướng run rẩy – it won't advance to tướng spin or finish until the water is drained. Check both for obstructions before paying for a call-out.

Washing machine won't fit under our worktop

Most front-loading washing machines are designed at the standard dimensions of 85cm high and 59.5 to tướng 60cm wide. And most kitchen cabinets are also designed to tướng accommodate this size.

But if you're struggling to tướng fit the machine under your worktop, you could try lowering the machine's adjustable feet to tướng gain an extra few centimetres.

Getting help fixing your washing machine or replacing it

If the problem is serious, your washing machine will need professional attention. To find a reliable repairer in your area, use Which? Trusted Traders to tướng find one that has been assessed and checked by Which? trading standards professionals. 

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You can also take a look at our guide to tướng domestic appliance repairs to tướng find out the average costs for a range of jobs, as quoted by Which? Trusted Traders from their years of experience. 

If you're considering replacing your washing machine, our guide to tướng the most reliable washing machine brands reveals which brands are less likely to tướng let you down, based on the data we've collected from thousands of washing machine owners.

If you already know what type and brand of washing machine is for you, then head straight to tướng our washing machine reviews.