8 Super Easy Troubleshooting Solutions to Fix Your Washing Machine

Laundry can be the bane of your existence. However, when your machine won’t turn on, you hear a clunking sound, or see water around the base, you suddenly remember just how very precious your washing machine really is. That’s why we’ve compiled eight of the most common washing machine issues, along with how to fix them, so your clothes can be clean and smell springtime fresh.

Issue #1: Your washing machine smells like a gym locker.

Your washing machine is supposed to help get your teenage son’s clothes smelling like daisies, but how can it when your machine itself smells like week-old socks? Or even worse, mold?

Each manufacturer has its own recommended way of cleaning your washing machine, so it is best to check your owner’s manual. However, there are a few tips that are universal.

Many newer machines have a tub cleaning cycle. Before using it:

  • Mix ¾ cup of bleach with one gallon of water, and use it to clean the door and the opening of the drum. (Always use a microfiber cloth!)
  • Continue to wash the rest of the drum with the solution or run the machine’s clean cycle.
  • Once the cycle has finished, leave the door open to allow for air drying.

To keep the smell out of your machine, try not to leave wet clothes inside. If you already have a smell, don’t fret. Just clean out the tub once a week for three weeks to help mitigate the scent. Then clean your washing machine tub once a month.

(This tip may have been inspired by Content Writer Susie.)

Issue #2: There’s a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on.

If you are running your machine and it starts walking away, don’t take it personally. It most likely means that you just need to re-level the unit. Adjust the legs, and double-check that you have the proper set up by using a bubble level.

If the problem happens only on occasion, it could simply mean that you have an uneven load in the machine. It is always best to do a full load of laundry and the Goldilocks amount when the drum is ¾ of the way full. Bonus, an uneven load can be the reason your drum isn’t spinning, so make sure you always fill your washing machine properly.

Issue #3: The cycle is done, but the water remains.

An open filter with a cap next to it - washing machine troubleshooting
When was the last time you cleaned your washing machine filter?

You hear the ding alerting you that your wash is ready for the dryer, but when you go to take it out, you notice a pool of water at the bottom of the drum.

Most of the time this is not as serious as you might think. Oftentimes, it is just a clog. Check your filter and remove any debris that got in the way. (You might even find that missing sock.) Add cleaning out your filter to your monthly to-do list to prevent this from happening again.

Issue #4: What happened to the water?

The cycle is set to start, but nothing happens. The water does not start to fill. This is another one of those problems that is usually deceptively simple to fix. Most of the time, the issue has to do with your hose.

Check the intake hose and see if there are any kinks or damage or if the connection is loose. If there is a problem, replace your hose, and better yet, replace it with a braided metal hose to prevent this issue from happening again.

Issue #5: There’s water, water everywhere.

two hands holding the ends of braided metal hoses
Do you have braided metal hoses?

Walking into your laundry room and discovering a leak is never fun. It may seem counterintuitive, but the reason your washer had no water could be the same reason you have too much water!

The problem may be the drain hose. It may have gotten punctured or the connection might have come loose. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but upgrading your hose to a braided metal hose may prevent this issue from happening again. Braided metal hoses are much less likely to burst and cause a flood.

If you already have braided metal hoses, then the next step is to take a gander at your washer’s washers. They may have become misshapen or have deteriorated. If this has happened, they will not be able to keep the water in like they once did. Replace any washers that are no longer working.

If you still can’t find the issue, contact an appliance repair professional to investigate.

Issue #6: Ripped jeans might be fashionable but holey shirts?

So this one may be a case of it’s not them, it’s you.

Check what you are throwing into your washing machine. Mixing super delicate items with heavier clothing articles like denim can cause your clothing to tear. Open zippers, hard buttons, studs, rhinestones, and hooks can also cause your clothes to tear or puncture. Always fasten, button, or hook all clothing before putting it in the machine.

Another issue could be what you left in your pocket. Sharp or hard items can cause issues for your clothing. Always remember to empty out your pockets before loading the washer.

Issue #7: Soapy shirts

If your clothes still feel soapy or gritty after a wash, this might be caused by overloading your machine. Leave some room at the top of the washer, so the detergent dispenser can evenly distribute soap over the entire load. If your clothes tend to have a lot of pet hair or dirt, run a rinse cycle after you have placed your clothes in the dryer.

If you have determined it is not you but in fact the machine that is the culprit, check the drum. Using a flashlight, visually inspect the inside of your washing machine for any dents or divots. While you are in there, look for rust. It’s best to call a professional to resolve either of these common washing machine issues.

Issue #8: You pull and pull, but the door won’t open.

a homeowner pulling a washing machine door - washing machine troubleshooting
Door stuck? There are two reasons!

Front loading washers lock their doors when water starts to flow into the drum to prevent someone from opening it and flooding your floor. However, if the cycle is over and the door still won’t open, then you have one of the most common washing machine issues. There are two main causes: water or heat.

If there is water still in the drum after the cycle has run, then you might have a clog. (We talked about this before. See tip #3 for help solving this problem. – Content Writer Megan)

The other common issue is that your machine may have become overheated. This happens when your machine has been working too hard, e.g. you’ve run load after load after load with hot water. When your machine cools down, the problem should rectify itself.

If there is no water and your machine has not overheated, there could be an error with the internal computer which requires a washing machine professional to fix.

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