Common washing machine problems and how to solve them

Washing machine problems plague the best of us. Read on to find out how to give your machine some TLC.

Updated

Washing machine with pile of clothes

Especially in winter’s damp and muddy weather, washing machines can be an absolute lifesaver. If they’re not on top form, though, doing laundry can be tough, and your clothes can even get damaged.

Here are two common washing machine problems and how to solve them, as well as tips on how to keep your washing machine in good condition.

Your washing machine does a lot of hard work, but we often forget it needs to be cleaned and maintained, too! Luckily, many common washing machine problems can be remedied with what you already have in your home and your clothes will smell fresh again in no time.

My washing machine is not washing properly

When your washing machine isn’t cleaning clothes, the most common reason is that it isn’t draining properly, leaving dirt from the first wash in the drum so it’s still there after the last rinse. This means you need to clear your washing machine’s filter. You should be able to find this behind a small panel on the front of the machine.

  • Put a towel on the floor first, as there’s often dirty water trapped in the filter. Then, simply unclip or unscrew the cap under the panel, and remove whatever’s clogging the filter: coins, jewellery and old tissues are common culprits.
  • It may also be that there is mould and soap scum in the drawer of your washing machine that is causing an unpleasant smell to filter through into the wash. Give the drawer a good scrub with warm, soapy water, using an old toothbrush to get into any awkward corners.
  • If there’s mould growing, wipe it off first with a specific mould and mildew product. Choosing a good quality laundry product with a great scent will help keep laundry smelling fresh too – Persil have a great range of formulas to suit all machines.
  • You might also want to run a hot, damp cloth sprayed with antibacterial cleaner around the rubber seals on the door and around the drum – mould can build up in here and come off on your clothes when you pull them out so it’s important not to overlook this area.

My clothes come out of the washing machine smelling mouldy or damp

If there’s dirt or mould trapped anywhere in your machine, the smell of it can seep into your clothes and ruin them over time. Learning how to get rid of washing machine smell will really help you get the most out of your clothes.

You can clean grime out of your washing machine drum by pouring 500ml of white vinegar – yes, the same stuff you keep in the kitchen– into the empty drum and running a hot wash. The vinegar breaks down any caked-on dirt and helps to neutralise mould spores and odours hanging around in the drum.

How can I keep my washing machine in good condition?

So now you can solve the problems you’re most likely to have with your washing machine. Probably, though, you’re now thinking “wouldn’t it be much better if I could stop problems developing in the first place? What can I use to clean my washing machine on a regular basis, and how can I keep it in good condition?”

Luckily, you don’t need any special products to clean your washing machine on a regular basis. Unless mould and caked dirt are already present, running a hot wash through an empty machine every couple of weeks should keep it nice and fresh. Pair that with a regular scrub of the drawer, and the machine should be clean pretty much all the time.

There are also a few simple things you can do to avoid problems. To help keep the drawer clear, make sure you aren’t using too much washing powder or fabric softener, as products your machine can’t use will build up in there. Most detergent bottles give handy recommended measurements on the caps.

To keep the filter clear, it really helps to check all the pockets of your clothes before you put them in the machine too. Filters don’t usually get blocked unless something’s wandered in there!

And there you go – isn’t it simple? With these easy instructions, days of half-washed laundry and worrying about your washing machine are over – and if you follow our maintenance tricks, the times you’ll have to do a deep clean should be few and far between.

Originally published