Probably the single biggest cause of problems that people have with washing machines, especially with a new washing machine, are the users themselves. Although the word "probably" is used loosely as we know that the biggest single problem with washing machines are users.
You see there are just so many things that users can get wrong and they have to get three main elements to all come together to work in harmony to get clean clothes that are not damaged. A misunderstanding of any of the three can lead to people having issues that will, when there is an issue, will be invariably blamed on the washing machine.
An awful lot of people think that this is easy and that somehow, as if by magic, assume that the washing machine will simply sort stuff out for them but that is largely not true. You as the user have a very important role to play and many things are completely under your control, not the washing machine's.
All too often as service engineers we see this and the washer being blamed for all sorts of things because many people simply refuse to accept that they did something wrong, it had to be the washing machine's fault or, the manufacturer should have done something to prevent them doing things wrong.
An astonishingly high percentage of problems we see are down to the user, even if they do not want to admit it.
In some statistics from manufacturers as high as 85% of supposed service calls or faults reported in the first few months of ownership especially can be purely down to users misuse or misunderstanding.
If the issue that you have is not an actual fault though you could end up with a bill for the visit so, please try to make sure you check all that you can before calling for service.
Here we're going to look at the most common mistakes that people make that lead to problems in the hope that you either avoid making the same mistakes or, you can understand the situation that you may find yourself in later.
Washing Machine Installation
Many issues start with the installation of the washing machine from even the simplest of tasks such as ensuring that the machine is connected to the services correctly so that it fills and drains properly, that the washing machine is installed in a suitable place and that the transit bars are removed correctly.
You can find out more on how to avoid the issues that are often caused by these common mistakes in the following articles more fully:
Please do note that although many people think that little consideration has to be given on where a washing machine is installed, how it is installed and so on that all too often this complacency leads to problems. It is also often fair to say, if we were allowed to do so, that you probably do not know better than the people that made the machine and the people that repair them.
Three Elements To Clean Your Clothes
There are three things that are used in harmony with one another to clean your laundry in an automatic washing machine or, they should be used together in harmony but often are not;
- The clothing itself
- The detergent
- The washing machine
Note the order that the above are in. It is important because the washing machine doesn't have that much bearing on the results you get if the first two elements are incorrect for some reason.
Think on it this way, if you put the wrong fuel or oil in your car it won't perform as it should will cease to work or, it will go wrong in time. Or indeed if you choose to drive a standard saloon car across a field, it probably will not end well for the car. Same thing really in many ways and, in exactly the same way as the car maker will not want to know because you messed it up, washing machine manufacturers are similarly disinterested when users do crazy things. Some common sense is required.
Before you begin you have to understand what sort of fabrics it is that you are washing and, sometimes, this will extend beyond simply sorting whites/lights from darks which we have seen people not do then blame the washing machine for causing dye transfer.
So, start with making sure that you are using the correct cycle or program on the washing machine for the fabric you want to clean.
Bear in mind that there are many, many more poor quality garments than there are poor quality washing machines as well.
Next, use the correct detergent.
We see over and over people with shrunken wooolens or synthetics because they use the wrong detergent or wash cycle, sometimes both. You need a specific detergent for some of these items, not standard detergents and if you use those you may well irreparably damage the laundry.
We see bleached out laundry because people do not understand that you have to use colour powder or liquids for coloured items.
Overdosing, under-dosing, poor quality detergents, softeners… there's a lot you can do wrong.
Now those two elements are completely under the control of the user and, if you get it wrong, then you can damage your laundry really rather easily but that does not make it the fault of the washing machine or, the washing machine manufacturer.
The washing machine is a primarily mechanical device that does the same thing over and over again and, it does what you tell it to do. If you tell it to do the wrong thing for the wrong sort of fabric or, you put the wrong detergent in the machine then you will almost inevitably have a problem.
What the washing machine cannot do is selectively think to itself that it doesn't much like this sort of garment or load and act up due to it. Bluntly, most of them don't have the intelligence to do so.
But, if you don't read the care labels or use the correct detergent on a particular wash then yes, you will get one wash that goes wrong.
Loading A Washing Machine
People would be astounded by the number of issues that we get with overloading on washing machine.
Vibration, noise, burning, poor cleaning and all manners of issues get caused by people stuffing as much as possible into their washing machine on the assumption (wrongly) that they are getting more done.
What they are actually doing is straining the devil out the bearings and getting less than optimum wash results.
Correctly loading your washing machine is vital to getting the best results and having the machine last longer.
Checking For Objects
Over the years we've seen some amazing things being pulled out of people's washing machines.
Of course there are the ones that you would expect such as kids toys like Lego and such but we've also had toys including model cars, plane (yes) and even Play Doh and other goo stuffed into the detergent drawer. Now, as a parent, it's your responsibility to keep the kids away from your appliances and not cause harm to them, not the manufacturer's even although some people protest otherwise.
Coins are very common, especially small coins that lurk in the corners of pockets that block up the pump and cause draining problems.
Nails, hair grips, rubber bands and all these sorts of things are largely to be expected as they are small and easily missed.
Also be aware of small items of clothing such as underwear, kids socks and so on especially if you overload as this will push these items where you do not want them to go and cause blockages.
If your machine gets a fault (usually not draining) due to these kinds of things then it will not be covered by your warranty normally. Some extended warranties cover it but not all so do be aware of this as it could lead to an unexpected bill.
Then there are the things you do not expect in a washing machine.
We have seen knives, as in kitchen cooking knives. Shower curtains, rubber mats, plastic backed mats, shoes and all manners of strange things that people sometimes appear to assume are machine washable.
Worse, some of these objects can cause massive damage to your washing machine and that may well not be covered by your warranty but some home insurance accidental damage policies will cover it.
Washing Machine User Error
As you can see, there is a lot to go wrong when using a washing machine and, in large part, a lot of it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with your actual washing machine as such.
Sure, the quality of the washing machine has a bearing on things but it is entirely dependent on you ensuring that you do your bit correctly first. The bottom line is that you will only get the best performance possible from your washing machine if you do it all properly.
Should you choose to ignore all the advice and instructions then, don't be shocked when things don't go well and you have issues.