Nobody wants a noisy washing machine, but sometimes an increase in volume can indicate a bigger problem inside your machine.
Washing machines with a higher spin speed tend to make more noise, although this isn't a flat rule.
We test every washing machine for how quiet it is while washing and spin drying and have found some with low spin speeds that makes more noise than those with higher maximum speeds.
For a more detailed breakdown of each step, read our expert advice below:
Before doing any sort of maintenance on your washing machine, turn it off and unplug it. If your machine is mid cycle when it starts to play up, follow the advice in your washing machine's instruction manual for stopping and draining it.
The feet of the washing machine should be in firm contact with the floor. To adjust the feet you'll need to undo the locking nuts first, then unscrew the feet.
The washing machine should be completely level so use a spirit level and keep adjusting the feet until you're satisfied. When finished, you must remember to screw the locking nuts back into place, firmly against the machine's housing, before doing your next wash.
Washing a 'heavy' garment, such as a cotton towel by itself, or only with light garments may cause problems. The towel will absorb water and gain weight; if this then sticks to the side of the drum, it will create an unbalanced load.
Some modern washing machines can detect this and will attempt to re-balance the load or choose not to enter the spin cycle. If your washing machine does enter the spin with an unbalanced load, it could shake around in a noisy and violent fashion - possibly doing damage to itself or cutting out halfway through the spin cycle.
You can avoid unbalanced loads by washing heavy items, such as towels or dressing gowns, together to try and balance out the load in the drum.
Rogue 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.
We experimented putting £1 coins into a variety of washing machines and 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.
We also found that some coins got caught in the rubber seal. It’s a good idea to check all around and clean the seal regularly anyway, because as well as a potential place for small items to get trapped, this is where mould and bacteria can fester.
A regular scrub can help prevent build-up. If left too long, mould sinks into the porous rubber seal and is impossible to remove, meaning you may need to replace it.
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. Make sure you put down an oven tray or dish to capture water, as when you remove the cap on the hose, any water trapped in the machine will otherwise spill onto the floor.
Items that don’t get washed down into the filter will end up in the outer plastic tub that surrounds the metal washing drum.
Anything stuck here will 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 someone in to repair it.
Most modern washing machine drums are sealed shut, so there'll be no way of rescuing an item stuck in the outer drum.
The cost of replacing 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 for less than £350.
You might also want to look for a model with a lower spin speed as it's likely to be quieter, although make sure you check our rating for this. A higher spin speed should mean your clothes are dryer when the wash is finished, but we have found washing machines with a 1,200rpm do a better job than some models with a 1,600rpm spin.