By Katie Mortram
Is your washing machine shaking violently? Here’s how you can stop it
When it comes to laundry day, there’s nothing worse than suddenly hearing a relentless smashing and crashing from your washer as it tries to spin. Even the best washing machines can suffer from this problem. It can occur for a number of reasons and, depending on the severity, it can range from a slight vibration, all the way up to a thrashing as your washer throws itself around and ‘walks’ out of the bay.
Such a commotion shouldn’t be ignored. It can not only damage the floors, but your washing machine as well, which won’t help it last longer. Luckily, there’s only so many reasons for your washing machine behaving like this, and we’ve broken them down so you can find the root of your problem. Here’s how to fix a shaky washing machine.
Need to invest in a new washer, but not sure which type to buy? Check out our guide on front load vs top load washer and 11 things to look for when buying a washing machine.
Why is my washing machine shaking?
1. Uneven weight distribution — If your washing machine is only shaking occasionally, this is usually caused by an uneven distribution of weight in the drum — this can happen if you’re washing one large item, such as a pillow, or if a bedsheet wraps around the load to form a large heavy ball. As the washing machine attempts to spin, the load is thrown across the drum repeatedly at speed, which is what makes the machine shake.
Some washers are smart enough to detect when the weight is causing the machine to shake and will deter the spin cycle until it is better distributed. That’s why sometimes you can open a washer’s door to find the load still sopping wet inside. However, some models will force a spin cycle, which can cause a lot of damage — both to the machine and to your floor. Once the washing machine reaches full spin speed, it tends not to shake, but when it slows down or picks up speed to spin again, that’s when you will notice it.
2. Washer is uneven — If your washing machine is constantly shaking with everyday loads, then you might be facing another issue. Sometimes, the machine itself can be uneven. If your washer is off-balance, it will shake with every cycle, particularly as it builds up to spin. You can tell if this is the source of the problem with a spirit level, or you can see if you can manually tip the machine from side-to-side with a bit of pressure. If you can rock it, it’s uneven.
3. Transit bolts aren’t removed — A shaking washing machine can also be caused by a failure to remove the transit bolts. Transit bolts are used in the transportation of washing machines to keep the drum in place. If you forget to remove these on installation, it can cause a serious racket as your washer spins and can even damage the concrete block which holds the appliance down.
4. Blocked filter — Vibration can also be caused by something as simple as a blocked filter. A washing machine’s filter is designed to catch anything which washes out of your clothes, and stops it from entering the water hose. If something metal has been caught in there, such as coins or bobby pins, be prepared for some noise throughout the cycle.
5. Something is broken — It could also be that something is damaged in your washing machine. Any number of faulty parts, from the shock absorbers to the suspension rods and pads, could cause a washing machine to shake aggressively.
How can I stop my washing machine shaking?
1. Even out the load — If you’re dealing with an uneven load, you simply need to even it out. If you’re trying to wash a pillow, add another pillow or some towels to bulk out the load. This will help it spin as it picks up momentum. If your washing machine has failed to spin, wring out the excess water and break up the load before returning it to the drum and running a spin-only cycle.
2. Even out the washer — If you’ve noticed your washer is uneven, then you need to adjust the feet to balance it. Disconnect the machine, both power and water, and with two people, pull it out of its bay. First, take a look at the flooring to inspect for damage — it needs to be level and solid. Next, check to make sure the foot pads aren’t loose or damaged. These rubber pads help to reduce the vibration and can be found under the washer’s feet. If necessary, replace them.
Move the washing machine back into place and use a spirit level to check whether it’s still uneven. You can also tip it back and forth manually to check if it’s balanced. If the feet need adjusting, loosen the lock nuts on each foot using a wrench. Then, rotate the bolts clockwise to raise and counterclockwise to lower that corner. Leave the spirit level on top for reference. Once the appliance is even, tighten each of the lock nuts to secure it. Run a quick wash as a test to check that it’s now even.
3. Remove the transit bolts — Removing transit bolts is something which should be done on installation, however if you’re in doubt that they were removed or you’re installing the appliance yourself, they’re quite easy to spot. Looking at the back of your washer, they’re the rather large bolts that surround where the outside of the drum would be. All those bolds need to be removed with a wrench before running your washer, but don’t throw them away as you will need them again if you ever want to move the appliance. Your washer may also come with plastic caps to fill the holes after. Follow your manual for full instructions.
4. Clean the filter — If you suspect a blocked filter, it’s quite easy to resolve. Your filter can be found behind the small panel at the base of your washer. Switch off the machine, open the panel and hold a shallow dish under the hose/dial. Loosen it slowly and drain it — this may take a few trips to the sink. Once that’s done, you can fully remove the filter to collect and wash away any debris. Check to see that no debris is left behind in the reservoir before replacing. For full details on how to clean a washing machine, check out our guide.
5. Call a professional — If all else fails and you think something is broken in your washer, then it’s time to call in a professional, or opt for a replacement altogether. Check if your washer is still under warranty before attempting any repairs.
For more washing tips, tricks, and how-tos, check out our guides on best clothes dryers, when you should and shouldn't use the quick wash setting and what do laundry symbols mean?
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Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice!She has tested and reviewed appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be air purifiers, as the information provided and the difference between performances is extensive.
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How can I make my washing machine less shaky? ›
An overfilled wash basket may be the cause of a shaking washer. Try removing some items and evenly dispersing the remaining load. Washing one large, bulky item or something very absorbent like a comforter can also throw the washer off balance. Add other items to equalize the weight and stop the washer from shaking.Why is my washing machine shaking so violently? ›
If you've noticed your washer shaking a lot, the problem could be an overloaded tub, improper installation or leveling issues. During spin cycles, shaking can usually be attributed to an unbalanced washer.Why is my washer level but still shakes? ›
In some cases the problem may be caused by worn-out shock absorbers in the washing machine. If you find that the washing machine is completely balanced, but it still shakes, then this may be the case. In this situation it's advised to contact a professional appliance repair company to replace the shock absorbers.How do I balance my washing machine load? ›
The key step in loading to not pile all the clothes or linens in the center. Evenly distribute the dirty clothes around the edges of the wash plate. This will help balance the load, allow the clothes to move around evenly and give you the best cleaning results. And, never overload the washer with too many garments.Do washer vibration pads work? ›
From there, it gets more expensive. Several companies sell anti-vibration pads that slip under the washer feet. Consumer Reports magazine found that they did little good. However, a three-inch-deep platform under the entire washer, known as the Steadywash, did reduce vibrations into the floor, which is your issue.Will a washer rebalance itself? ›
Top-loading washers automatically adjust to level. If something has shifted, you can relevel a top-loading washer by tipping the washer forward, then placing it back on the floor. Front-loading washers level by turning a leg to raise or lower it.How do I know if my balance ring is bad? ›
If a balance ring is damaged, it can cause the washer to shake. Balance rings can be checked on top-loaders by removing the tub cover. On front-loaders, the outer tub will need to be disassembled to access the rings.How do you fix an unbalanced drum in a washing machine? ›
- Step 1 – Make sure the washer isn't overloaded. ...
- Step 2 – Make sure the washer is sitting level. ...
- Step 3 – Adjust the washer legs. ...
- Step 4 – Inspect the shock absorber. ...
- Step 5 – Inspect the suspension springs.
There are a total of three pulleys, so that if one side of the frame moves up, the other side moves down. This system supports the weight of the heavy components, letting them move in such a way as not to shake the entire machine.Is it OK for washing machine to shake? ›
Your washing machine needs to stand level and balanced on its feet to function properly. An unbalanced appliance will vibrate and shake during operation. Try rocking the appliance from side to side or back and forth. If it's rocking a lot, your flooring or appliance's feet may be uneven.
What can I use to stop vibration? ›
- Rubber. Rubber is an ideal material for vibration damping applications. ...
- Polyurethane. Polyurethane is a newer material option in the vibration damping space. ...
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) ...
- Technicon Acoustic Products.
Rubber is widely regarded as the best vibration-reducing material as it can be manufactured with high damping coefficient properties, sustains its performance and can be highly resilient with low levels of creep.Can washing machine vibrations damage house? ›
Not only do washers that vibrate too much make a racket but they can also cause structural damage in your home.How can I stop my washing machine from moving when spinning? ›
- Make sure the washing machine is level. Figure this out with a good old-fashioned bubble level. ...
- Attach some non slip, anti-vibration pads to the bottom of your washer's legs. ...
- Take precautions to balance your washer load every time you do laundry.
Several companies sell anti-vibration pads that slip under the washer feet. Consumer Reports magazine found that they did little good. However, a three-inch-deep platform under the entire washer, known as the Steadywash, did reduce vibrations into the floor, which is your issue.Why does my washer walk when it spins? ›
If the feet are not level or if the floor is uneven, then the washer will wobble. When a washer wobbles, it tends to walk. Walking is the simple result of centrifugal force that is unevenly distributed. Uneven legs can cause the feet to 'skitter' and pull the machine across the floor.Why is my Whirlpool washer shaking violently on spin cycle? ›
Overloading. The most common reason a Whirlpool washer vibrates during spin cycle is being overloaded with clothes. It seems counterintuitive to not make use of every inch of the washer when running a load. The problem is, overloading the washer can damage the machine, not to mention your clothes won't get as clean.What causes a washing machine to walk? ›
The spin cycle during wash and rinse can throw a washer's load out of balance and cause the machine to walk across the room. This usually happens because the machine has too many heavy things causing an imbalance in the load or because the washer wasn't level to begin with.