• 26/11/2020


If you’ve got a front loader washing machine and you’ve never needed it repaired, lucky you! However, as much as we rely on this particular piece of equipment, especially with a house full of kids, washing machines can have a variety of issues that affects the way they work or stops them from working altogether. No matter if you have an Electrolux EFLW317TIW, a Kenmore Elite 41072, a GE GFW450SSMWW, or a different model and make, it’s bound to have one of these common problems at some point.

If you have run into any of these, there is no need to worry – these problems are all fixable and there are repairs you can even do at home for your stinky washing machine. Don’t know how to repair a washing machine? Don’t worry, neither do most people, but here are some very helpful tips for at-home washing machine repairs.

Most common problems

A washing machine is typically a heavily used piece of equipment, so it’s no wonder that after a few years, some things start to fall apart. Some machines are beyond repair or have worse problems than others, but generally speaking, there are a few issues that are common among most domestic washing machines, so chances are that you will find your particular problem listed here:

  • Washing machine won’t spin
  • Washing machine won’t drain
  • Washing machine smells bad
  • Washing machine has mold
  • Washing machine has developed limescale
  • Washing machine is making a weird sound
  • Washing machine is leaking
  • Washing machine won’t start

If your particular issue isn’t listed here or requires more work or expertise that you don’t have, you may need to bring in a professional repairman or even replace the machine altogether. Of course, it’s always better to try and fix it at home, for as little as possible.

Some of these issues have easy fixes that you can take care of yourself, at home. Here’s an overview of some tips and tricks you can put to good use:

Washing machine won’t spin

What you should check first in such a scenario is the lock on the door. When the lock doesn’t work, the machine doesn’t register the door as closed, so it won’t trigger the spin cycle. The wax motor could also be damaged, which results in the same problem of the door failing to lock and the spin cycle being prevented from starting.

Washing machine won’t drain

More often than not, this is an issue with the drain hose. It may be kinked, or it could have moved in some way, thus restricting how well the machine drains. You may also want to take a look at your water pump and make sure that it’s not clogged, so that water drains properly.

Washing machine smells bad

This is a very common problem with a solution that is, thankfully, very easy: all you need to do is add half a cup of white vinegar to an empty load with hot water and that should get rid of any residual smell you may be experiencing. You’ll also want to pull out the detergent drawer and give it a thorough clean, as it can get really smelly, really quickly. Be sure to clean the washing machine regularly (Every 2 to 3 months is fine) in order to maintain a nice-smelling machine.

Washing machine has mold

As with all appliances that rely on water, mold is a common occurrence, so here’s how you can deal with it without interventions from a professional: clove oil gets rid of mold quickly, and you only need about 10 drops in an empty load. If that’s not enough, bleach will also do the trick nicely.

Bleach is great to use on the detergent drawer, which tends to get moldy at a much quicker rate due to its regular contact with liquid fabric softener. To prevent the formation of mold, be sure to keep the door open between washes, in order to give it a chance to air out and dry. This will keep the mold at bay, as well as the damp smell.

Avoid calling for front loader washing machine repairs with these tips (Picture: iStock by Getty)

Washing machine has developed limescale

Limescale is to be expected, especially if you’re washing with hard water. You can opt for a professional product that is designed to prevent the formation of limescale, and that needs to be added in with every wash, or you can DIY it and use vinegar and lemon juice. They’re both acidic, so they’ll dissolve limescale and help wash it away.

It’s very important to prevent the formation of limescale, because in time, it will take over your washing machine and ultimately ruin it. In such a circumstance, you may be left with no other choice but to replace the machine altogether, so be sure to keep the vinegar handy and give it a wash from time to time.

Washing machine is making a weird sound

Your washing machine may be making a lot more noise than usual, and this issue can have several root causes, including problems with the drive belt, the pump or pump motor, shock absorbers, drive motor pulley, transmission pulley, pump pulley, tub bearing or similar.

Some of these parts only need to be repositioned to stop the noise, while others may need to be replaced entirely. Either way, the machine needs to be taken apart so you can take a proper look inside and see which part the culprit is. You can research the model and make of your washing machine to gain insight on which part is the most likely to start playing up over time.

Washing machine is leaking

The first thing to check in this case is the connection of your hose to the water valves; if it’s not secure enough, it will leak water everywhere. The same goes when it comes to the length of the hose – you may find that there are small fissures or places where it’s not secured, and if it bursts open, you’ll have a huge problem on your hands. If it’s faulty, you need to replace it.

If you find that suds are escaping your machine and your floor is all soapy, the problem may actually be your laundry detergent. Modern detergents are specially formulated in such a way as to be low-sudsing.

Fixing a broken washing machine can be tricky – top loader or front loader (Picture: iStock by Getty)

Washing machine won’t start

You need to start with the obvious, here: is it plugged in? Then you can move on to checking the fuses, as well as the breakers. If everything is in order so far, you can give the lid switch a clean or replace it and see if that solves your problem. Even if your fuses are all in order, the problem may still be electrical, so if you’ve tried everything and it still won’t work, looking into any electrical problems it may have is worth a shot.


Is your washing machine doing something funny? Maybe it smells funky or it’s making some horrible noise? Is it not spinning, or not draining? That can be a real pain, because it’s an appliance we rely on so much, but don’t pick up the phone to call the repairman just yet – there may be some DIY repairs you can do. Whether you’ve got a smelly washing machine or one that doesn’t work properly, you can now apply the above tips to restore your washing machine to its former glory.

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