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Why is my washing machine noisy when on the spin cycle? Top tips to help you tackle your concerns

Close up of a washing machine spinning clothes

Noisy spin cycle driving you nuts? Then a simple home fix could bring the volume right down

Washing machines are, by their very nature, going to make some noise while running a wash cycle – even the best washing machines won’t be completely silent. The noisiest part of the washing cycle is, of course, the spin cycle. Noise levels can vary from machine to machine; but regardless of the amount you’ve spent purchasing your appliance, you shouldn’t expect to be deafened by a thunderous spin cycle. So, if your washing machine’s noise levels are reaching an unbearable peak whilst spinning, something probably isn’t quite right. In this article we’ll look at the issues that can cause your washing machine to have a noisy spin cycle and offer advice on how to correct them.

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Why is my washing machine noisy while spinning?

If your washing machine has been noisy on its spin cycle since the day you purchased it, then it’s likely to be just down to that particular machine. Every washing machine features unique internal mechanisms, meaning some machines will simply be noisier than others. However, if your appliance has suddenly become much louder then there’s likely to be a problem – and fixing it promptly will help to prevent any long-term damage to the machine.

Let’s investigate those reasons in more detail.

6 reasons your washing machine is noisy while spinning

  1. The washing machine is unstable
  2.  The washing machine is overloaded
  3. Unbalanced washing loads
  4.  A lack of regular maintenance
  5. Worn out machine components
  6. You forgot to check your pockets

1. The washing machine is unstable

The problem: “A washing machine must stand level on all four feet perfectly to ensure safe and proper operation,” explains Sophie Lane, product training manager at Miele GB. “If your appliance is unlevel, it could result in noisy operation and the potential for your machine to move around.”

Washing machines all have feet and, if these aren’t level, your machine won’t be evenly balanced. This will cause the machine to move about during the spin cycle, creating a lot of noise. It can also cause huge amounts of damage, not only to your washing machine, but also to the floor beneath. This is also one of the reasons why your washing machine might stop spinning altogether, since sensors in the machine will stop the cycle to prevent further damage.

The solution: “One highly effective way to reduce noise from your washing machine during spinning is to ensure that it’s properly levelled,” points out Vivien Fodor, laundry category manager at Hotpoint. “Top tip: use a bubble level to check if the machine is sitting evenly on the floor. If it’s not, adjust the levelling feet at the bottom of the machine until it’s balanced.”

Make sure you check your own washing machine’s manual for precise instructions, but most machines will have lock nuts on each foot that can be loosened with a wrench, allowing the bolts to be lowered or raised to balance the machine. To make life easier, use one of our recommended best laser levels to check balance, and don’t forget to tighten everything up again once you’ve finished.

2. The washing machine is overloaded

Close up of washing machine overloaded with clothesThe problem: Overloading your washing machine puts a lot of strain on the appliance. “Having too much fabric could result in a noisy spin,” says Sophie. As the machine struggles to move items around the drum for a spin, its motor will also start to struggle, causing more noise and possible damage. It’s tempting to try to cram as much into a machine as possible, but not only can this result in noise, it’s unlikely your clothes will clean properly; overloading prevents fabrics from being properly agitated and the detergent being applied evenly.

The solution: As you might expect, this is an easy fix – just don’t overload your machine. “Make sure you follow the recommended load sizes for each wash programme,” says Sophie. These will vary from machine to machine; but, as a very rough guide, we’d suggest no more than 60% full for a front-loading washer, or 80% full for a top loader.

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3. Unbalanced washing loads

The problem: “Many households have found that a noisy spin can be due to an imbalance of the load inside the drum, which causes the machine to vibrate,” explains Vivien. Large, singular items such as duvets and pillows become extremely heavy when they’re wet, sticking to one side of the drum and thumping loudly as the machine starts to spin. Sophie suggests that bath mats, in particular, can be an issue: “The most common cause is bath mats, which people often wash on their own; but the rubber side sticks to the drum and causes an imbalance. It’s best to wash a few other things with it.”

The solution: “Make sure to distribute the clothes evenly around the drum,” says Sophie. If you’re washing large or bulky items that are likely to stick, even out the weight distribution by washing more than one item at once. This will allow the drum to spin without excessive noise build-up.

4. A lack of regular maintenance

Gloved hand holding heating element with limescale build up in front of washing machineThe problem: “A lack of regular maintenance, including cleaning the drum or removing debris from the pump filter, is a common cause of noisy washing machines,” explains Vivien. Dirt, limescale and even detergent deposits can build up in a machine, and these in turn can clog up mechanisms. If your drum isn’t running smoothly, it can be very noisy during a spin cycle.

The solution: Make sure you clean your washing machine regularly and keep all the parts clean. We’d recommend running regular cleaning washes with products designed to help keep your machine free of dirt and limescale. Need more advice? Our articles on how to clean washing machine drawers and how to clean a washing machine seal provide plenty more advice.

5. Worn out machine components

The problem: “Worn out or damaged machine components – such as bearings, belts or pulleys – can produce grinding or squealing noises when spinning,” explains Vivien. When it comes to noise, drum bearings are one of the most common culprits. Round in shape, several mini balls sit inside one larger piece, and these move when the spin cycle starts. If one breaks and the mini balls fall out, you’ll hear a lot of noise and clattering during the spin cycle. (Note that if they’re just squeaking, your bearings probably just need lubricating.)

Other issues could include a damaged or broken drive belt, which is responsible for ensuring the drum rotates. If it’s damaged, it can make a squealing noise on the spin cycle. You could also have a problem with the shock absorber, motor coupling, loose machine weights…there are a lot of components to a washing machine.

The solution: If you’ve ruled out all the other suggestions on our list, it’s likely that your machine has a more serious problem, with something inside broken or damaged. Unfortunately, at this point we would recommend calling in the professionals. As Sophie says, “Book a service visit: if the appliance is level and the correct load size is being washed, the next step is to contact the manufacturer of your washing machine and arrange for a trained technician to inspect the machine.”

6. You forgot to check your pockets

Gloved hand removing coin from washing machine drain pumpThe problem: Sometimes, a noisy spin cycle is nothing more complicated than a forgetful moment on our part. The purpose of the spin cycle is to extract as much moisture as possible from the clothes that have just been washed. In order to best achieve this, the washing machine agitates the clothes inside by spinning them round extremely quickly in the drum. Of course, this fast spin will also throw around anything that you’ve accidentally left in the pockets of your clothes. And should that be something heavy – such as coins or some keys – then your spin cycle is going to sound very noisy indeed as these items are spun around the drum.

The solution: Again, the answer here is obvious – check your pockets before you put your clothes in the wash (for a completely different reason, you’ll also want to check for things such as tissues, which can otherwise disintegrate and end up scattering little bits all over your clothes). But what if you’re convinced that you heard or saw coins spinning round your machine, but can’t find anything in the drum once the spin cycle is complete? In this case, check under the seals of your washing machine; coins can often end up becoming wedged here during a fast spin cycle.

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