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Home & garden.

Updated: 25 May 2022

How to deal with strange sounds from your washing machine

If your washing machine has started making a worrying sound, this is the video for you.
Aaron West
Man washing clothes

There's nothing more disconcerting when doing your laundry than hearing a strange knocking, bumping or scratching sound.

Unusual sounds emanating from your washing machine can have many causes – watch our video and follow the steps below to get to the bottom of the problem.

Video: how to fix strange sounds from your washing machine

Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to fix strange noises.

1. Turn off your machine

Before doing any sort of maintenance on your washing machine, you should turn it off and fully unplug it. If your machine is mid cycle when it starts to play up, follow advice in your washing machine's instruction manual for stopping and draining it.

2. Check the rubber door seal and drum

Items that get into the drum can cause both strange sounds and a number of problems. Research and feedback from Which? members has shown the most common culprits are coins and bra wire.

Having experimented by putting £1 coins into a variety of washing machines, we found you typically have about 15 minutes to hear them rattling around and pinging off the door before the sound of the wash drowns them out. Bra wire makes more of a scratching sound.

Most of our test £1 coins remained in the drum or caught in the rubber seal - so these are the first places to check.

3. Check the filter

Some items loose in the machine can work their way down to the filter. You'll usually find the filter at the front of the machine, on the right and close to the floor. On some models, the filter will be on the side.

Follow the instructions in your instruction manual to check and clean the filter, or view the above video.

If you've still not found the culprit

The big danger is that items will slip 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. 

Our test £1 coins have been known to 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 an item does get stuck in this area, it's likely to make a very loud noise when the machine's running, especially during the spin. If you suspect an item has got caught here, stop the machine and call 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 buy a new washing machine - we've found Best Buys for less than £350.

Our expert washing machine reviews ensure that you buy a great machine that will remove tough stains, rinse detergent away and spin your clothes so they're not left sopping wet.

Fixing or replacing your washing machine

If the problem is serious, you'll want professional attention. To find a reliable repairer in your area, use Which? Trusted Traders to find one that has been assessed and checked by Which? trading standards professionals. 

You can also take a look at our guide to domestic appliance repairs to 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 the most reliable washing machine brands reveals which brands are less likely to let you down, based on the data we've collected from thousands of washing machine owners.