The Most Common Washing Machine Problems

Let’s be honest, there’s never a good time for your washing machine to break down. For many people, a day without the use of it can cause panic. The thought of wearing a dirty shirt or the same socks two days in a row is anxiety producing. Yet what if your machine stops turning or no longer dispenses the soap properly? Is the only solution to call a repair person?  Not necessarily. At Workman’s Friend, we know a thing or two about washing machines. That’s because several of us got tired of wearing the same socks day-in and day-out. From watering covering your floor to using too much detergent, there is a range of problems that it can present. Yet the solutions may be easier than you think. Read on to learn more.

Washer Won’t Turn On

If you’ve been trying to turn on your washer without success for the last hour, there are a few simple trouble shooting techniques you can use to determine the cause. Firstly, check the power supply, using a multi-meter check the outlet voltage. If you learn that there isn’t electricity flowing into the washer then you need to look at your electrical and see if any circuit breakers may have been tripped. If nothing has been tripped then there may be a problem with the outlet itself. That’s when you need to call the professionals, in this case a trusted electrician. They’ll be able to locate the source of your power problem.

Not Draining Properly 

A drainage problem can be as simple as a clog in the drain to a complete replacement of the drain pump. The only certain thing about this kind of problem is that you’ll be made aware of it very quickly as the laundry room floor begins to fill with water.

Most often a blocked hose is the reason your washer isn’t draining properly. Remove the hose and visually inspect it for any obstructions such as a foreign object (coins, pens or socks), hair, rocks or dirt. You can use a garden hose to flush out any type of blockage that won’t come lose itself. If that doesn’t solve the problem, then call a plumber. They’ll be able to quickly and confidently locate the leak and repair it.

Doesn’t Dispense Detergent

If your washer is equipped with an automatic detergent dispenser there are usually two common problems that can prevent it from dispensing detergent.  Firstly, the dispenser might need to be cleaned. Pour a cup of warm distilled vinegar into the dispenser and run the washer through a regular cycle. The build-up of residue will be flushed through and the dispenser should work again.

Secondly, make sure you’re using the right product for your washer. If your machine was designed for liquid bleach and you’ve decided to save a few dollars by using powder bleach, you may be unknowingly clogging the dispenser. Refer to your owner’s manual to ensure that you’re using the correct type of soap for your machine.

A Smelly Washer

It’s not unusual for a washing machine to develop a moldy or musty smell. This is especially true in humid climates where most things don’t have the chance to dry properly. The washer is the perfect dark and moist place for mold and bacteria to grow. Using either bleach or distilled vinegar, pour a cup of it into the washing machine and run the ‘cleaning cycle’ without any clothes inside. Once the cycle is complete, open the machine and pull back the rubber gasket door and dry it completely with a towel. Make sure you clean your washing machine once every month. This will ensure the mold and mildew doesn’t transfer to your clean clothes or other parts of the laundry room.

The Spin Cycle

These are a few solutions to the most common washing machine problems. Despite the durability and advanced technology of today’s appliances, they can still break down whether it is due to human error or defective parts. If you are someone who enjoys wearing freshly-laundered clothing daily, then take extra care of your washing machine on a regular basis. Be alert to any changes in sound, smell or appearance of your beloved machine. It’s important to remember that if you can’t determine the source of the problem to call a professional. Risking your own safety to repair a washing machine is not worth any amount of clean clothes! 


Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream is a light-weight and odorless hand cream perfect for anyone who likes to fix their own washing machine. A simple application of our moisturizing, non-greasy formula means your hands will remain as clean and soft as your laundry.


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