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Why Your Washing Machine Isn’t Cleaning Properly

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Doing laundry is a boring, yet necessary chore, but having an efficient washing machine can make all the difference. This modern luxury effectively removes food spillage, sweat patches, and bad odors from clothes. But is your washing machine not cleaning thoroughly?

Tossing the clothes in the washing machine only to have them come out dirty is frustrating. Why is your washing machine just spinning your clothes around and not actually cleaning them? There are several troubleshooting steps you can take to try and repair it on your own before calling in the home service appliance pros. If you have a washing machine that’s not cleaning thoroughly, here are some appliance repair tips to consider.

Washing Machine Not Cleaning Properly

Seized-up Detergent Tray

A common issue we see with washing machines is clogged detergent trays. If you can’t get the tray to work and have the detergent flush out, consider calling in an appliance repair technician. If you are using pods, put them directly into the drum. The washer needs to introduce the detergent at the right time at the right temperature. Don’t default to using cold wash only if the detergent isn’t a cold water dissolving detergent. Using the proper cycle, with the proper load size, the proper detergent quantity and quality, at the proper temperature will make all the difference.

Overloaded with Clothes and Detergent

Homeowners often overload washing machine by adding too many clothes or too much detergent. Avoid this common mistake to reduce the risk of damage to the motors, belts, and other parts that keep the machine working efficiently. The detergence we use now are enzyme based. If too much is used it will create sludge and those enzymes will break down the seals and cause premature part failures. Remember, more detergent doesn’t mean more clean and more softener doesn’t mean more fresh.

Unleveled Machine

If your washing machine is rattling or vibrating, it’s likely not leveled properly. Shaking and rattling will not only damage the surrounding walls and floors, but it can wreak havoc on the appliance. Fortunately, this is a simple fix. Start by using a carpenter’s bubble level to see if it’s level. If the bubble doesn’t center itself, you’ll need to adjust the machine. First, adjust each leg to the proper height. We recommend keeping the machine as close to the floor as possible. The lower it is, the less likely it is to vibrate. Tighten the lock nuts against the body of the machine to prevent the leg from rotating. Finally, lean against the appliance to make sure it doesn’t rock back and forth.

Faulty Appliande?

Drum not Agitating

Another reason for a washer not cleaning properly could be the washer not agitating. If it doesn’t spin the clothing, it makes it impossible to clean. In most cases, the problem is likely to be a faulty lid switch, a broken belt, or a problem with the motor. Don’t exceed your understanding in troubleshooting issues like this. Many control boards are needlessly replaced causing homeowners hundreds of unnecessary dollars.

To start troubleshooting, first check the lid switch, which is located under the lid or door on the washing machine. Close the lid slowly and listen for the click of the switch. If you hear no click of the switch, your issue may be due to a failed lid switch. A faulty lid switch will keep the motor from running in the drain and spin mode.

You’ll also want to check if the belt is broken is loose. You may need to tighten it or replace it entirely. Many machines in today’s age don’t have belt tension adjustments. If your belt has broken it most likely was from a failure of another part.

Malfunctioning Main Electronic Control Board

The main electronic control board is the brain of the operations, controlling major components. If it begins to malfunction, it could fail to control the drain pump’s function of draining water, leading to dirty clothes. Most appliances require in control diagnostics to correctly diagnose. Err on the side of not replacing your control board. Look for other avenues or have it professionally diagnosed.

Blocked Drain Pump

Another reason why your clothes aren’t getting clean enough is due to a blockage in the drain hose. To check the drain hose, detach it and remove any obstructions. Consider replacing the drain pump if it’s worn out. Most of these issues can be avoided by checking the clothing for foreign objects prior to washing them. Most drain pump failures or needlessly damaged due to foreign objects.

Incorrect Wash Setting

Believe it or not, all of those buttons on your washing machine are there for a reason. If you clothes are coming out less-than-fresh, consider using a different wash setting. Make sure to read your clothing labels to determine which setting is the best. Plus, seperate your clothing based on type, color, and bulkiness. For example, wash jeans with jeans, towels with towels, and delicates with delicates. Refer to the owner’s manual for specific manufacturer’s instruction.

Sludge and Gunk

Sludge and Gunk are direct results of using too much detergent. This will greatly reduce the life of the appliance and the cleanliness of the clothing. Ensure you are using the proper amounts of the various products. Many washers have trays that perceptually make recommendations on detergent quantity. Completely ignore the indicators. Refer to the scoop or cup that comes with the product you are using. 

This brings us to our next point:

How Do You Clean a Dirty Washer?

Although washing machines are meant to wash clothes, they also need some TLC. So if you start noticing that your clothes are coming out dirtier than they went in, it’s time to clean the appliance. There are several different cleaners that can eliminate buildup and odors in your washing machine. One of which is Affresh; Many major manufacturers, such as Tide, produce these types of products. It is much better to avoid the necessity of cleaning your washer. If your washer has a tub clean cycle use it quarterly with the recommended cleaner. This will extend the life of your washer.

Use White Distilled Vinegar

If you’d like to go the more natural route, try distilled white vinegar. Pour 3-4 gallons of distilled white vinegar in the tub with hot water. We recommend letting it sit for several days. Don’t forget to run a cycle to rinse the unit of any cleaners used.

Scrub Off Detergent

Carefully remove the detergent drawer and soak it in hot water and vinegar. If the drawer is loaded with dried up detergent, consider using a toothbrush to scrub it off. Rinse the detergent drawer well and carefully place the component back into the machine.

Check the Rubber Seal

The rubber seal of the washing machine shouldn’t be neglected. Take a damp cloth and wipe around the rubber seal of the machine to clean off excess detergent and any mildew or mold growing on it. While you are cleaning it, wipe off the surface areas to remove any extra dust and detergent that may collect on the machine over time. These rubber seals are very porous and stain very easily.

Call in the Appliance Repair Pros at iFiX, Utah

As long as your washing machine is draining, spinning and filling up with water, it should still be able to clean your clothes. If you want to clean your washing machine, fix a belt, or troubleshoot your washer not cleaning properly, call iFiX Appliance Repair. We provide washing machine repair services and can troubleshoot your appliance for additional concerns.

We can repair broken washing machines and identify other areas of concerns that need to be addressed.

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2 Responses

  1. I didn’t realize that overloading your washing machine with an excessive amount of clothes could damage certain components in it like like motors and belts. Ever since my wife and I tried cleaning all of our children’s clothes at once after our camping trip, we noticed a burning smell coming from our washing machine. Maybe we should consider getting some new parts in order to fix it.

  2. Thanks for explaining that clothes can be left dirty if the electronic control board leads to an issue with drainage. I was surprised by how dirty my clothes looked and felt after I ran a load in the washing machine early this morning. I think I’ll look for a local washing machine repair service since I wouldn’t know how to go about fixing an electronic control board!

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