Drum paddles or "lifters" which can and do break are the plastic (usually grey or close to white) inserts that you see in the washing machine drum where you would place your clothes to be washed.
About Washing Machine Drum Paddles
If they are made of a suitably high quality of plastic then they are usually fine and don't break. Added to which, if they are designed correctly as they are on some washing machines then they can be removed easily allowing access to clear out trapped items that may have found their way between the drum and outer tank of the washing machine.
However, poorer quality plastic and, especially what is viewed as "customer misuse" is a common reason for the drum paddles to break.
The most common cause of smashed drum paddles and, often, damage to the drum itself, is washing items that really shouldn't be in a CLOTHES washer, such as mop heads, training shoes and suchlike that people think are okay to machine wash. But even children's shoes can not only smash the plastic drum paddles but they can also dent the inner stainless steel drum itself.
Please remember that a normal domestic washing machine is designed to wash clothes and noting else, it is not designed to wash items such as those mentioned and similar.
Of course you can also get a washing machine (Miele make some) that have metal drum paddles however it is important to remember that whilst these are tougher as a general rule, that the machine is still not designed to wash anything but clothing. There is of course the other obvious disadvantage, they cannot be removed to gain access to trapped items in the tub.
Replacing Washing Machine Drum Paddles
The customer removable ones, like the ones on the ISE10 mentioned earlier, are a breeze to change as it's one retaining screw in the centre usually then they simply clip off. Normally they will be keyed and slid either forwards or back to simply lift out.
That's the easy ones.
The harder ones can involve removal of the drum, which means stripping down the machine almost totally just to remove a plastic paddle! The reason is that the retaining screw can be on the underside, the part that faces onto the outer tub or tank. It is incredibly annoying to say the least when you find this to be the case.
One trick is to release the sump hose (watch out you will get water out it) and to see if you can access the retaining screw through that. If you can then it becomes a reasonably straightforward job to swap the old broken drum paddle for a new one.
If you do have to strip down the machine to access the drum paddles and the machine is a few years old we would almost always replace the tank seal or tub gasket as well as the bearing seal at the same time. There's absolutely no point in stripping the machine down to that degree and not doing it.
The Usual Suspects
The Indesit Company
The ones that break, often, are notoriously Indesit, Hotpoint, Creda and Ariston machines of which there are several versions of these plastic paddles. The plastic paddles fitted to these machines get smashed with alarming regularity. Whether this is down to the plastic used, the drum design or people washing items that they shouldn't be is totally open for debate but you can bet that the manufacturer will automatically default to the "It's the way you've used it" argument. We also have to remember that between it's brands the Indesit Company sells thousands upon thousands of machines every year in the UK, so they are common.
The good news is that these are relatively cheap to buy (you can buy them in our shop from this link) and pretty straightforward to replace.
Beko Washing Machines
Some Beko models also seem to suffer from smashed drum paddles, with the most common being this common drum paddle used in some WM and WMA series machines.
Once again however, they are pretty easy to replace and not too expensive.
Other manufacturers do have this problem as well but not as prolific we find as the examples above but we do regularly sell paddles for the following machine makes:
As well as many others. A lot of these we do on enquiry as it is very easy to get the wrong paddle or paddles for some of these machines due to changes during production. Often even with the correct model number there has been changes that can only be determined by using the serial or production codes.
If you need any help with replacing drum paddles please use our forums for support and, if you need help getting the correct drum paddle for your washing machine or washer dryer please contact us by email using the link below.