Washing machines are one of the great time and effort-savers of the past century. For millennia, doing laundry meant hard, tedious labor that took hours to complete and hours or even days for the clothing to dry. Now, with some sprinkles of detergent, a few hampers, and a flip of the switch, we expect our clothes to be washed, dried, and ready to go in under an hour.
Even so, however, traditional means of washing and drying clothes have at least one thing on washers and dryers – noise levels. For as convenient as they may be in every other way, washers and dryers can be downright noisy. Running your laundry should never leave your home feeling like you’re living inside a jet turbine.
Thankfully, there are ways to fix that.
Here are a few reasons why your washing machine may be making too much noise, along with what you can do to make it quieter.
1. Human Error
Let’s rule out the possibility that you aren’t just misusing your washing machine. For as horrible your washing machine may sound, the solution may be as simple as taking out a few coins or reloading it properly. After all, pockets full of change or other accoutrements and overloading the washer are two of the most common causes of noisy washing machines.
To cure the second one (we’re sure you can figure out how to take spare change out of the washer yourself) try following these tips:
- Different washers have ways to load them. Trying to load a front-loading washer the same way as you might a top-loader can lead to clothes getting wrapped around the machinery inside, which in turn can cause whirring or other unfortunate noises.
- You will also want to consider your washer’s capacity as well. Overstuffing your washing machine can be another cause of clothes getting stuck in the machine.
- By the same token, underloading a washing machine can allow buttons and zippers to clank against the sides of the washer. Without more clothes in there to cushion them, this can produce a loud rattling noise.
- This is an easy one, but overlooking it could lead to a lot of noise, so check to make sure you have closed the door (front-loader) or lid (top-loader).
2. Check for Worn Out or Broken Down Parts
Once you have checked the above points and made sure that it’s not yourself but your machine that’s at fault, you can start to consider ways to identify and repair the problem parts. Some of the most common problem parts for causing loud noises in washing machines include:
- Tub bearings
- Drive pulleys
- Clutches and drive belts
- Drains and pumps
- Shock absorbers (front-loading units) or springs or agitator directional cogs (top-loading units)
To identify which parts are responsible for your washer’s noise, you’ll want to be on the lookout for some telltale signs.
For example, one potential way in which washing machine parts can be damaged is by the spinning of the drum within the unit itself. If the bearings, shock absorbers, or other parts rub up against one another, they can begin to corrode or otherwise become damaged.
Sometimes, the sound itself can tell you the nature of the problem. If the noise is coming from the drums and the sound only gets worse over time, chances are it is an issue with one of the bearings wearing out. Unfortunately, bearing problems are not easily fixed. At best, you are looking at a tedious replacement or repair process on your own, and at worst (and more likely) you’ll have to call a professional repair team.
3. Check Your Washer’s Feet
One of the most important things to realize about your washing machine is that there are any number of different ways it can be causing noise. While most of our examples so far have involved parts getting jammed or stuffed with clothing, the machine being too full or underfilled, or otherwise having broken parts which need repairing or replacing, sometimes the smallest irregularities can cause big problems – and a lot of noise.
That’s why, if you are still having problems with your washing machine’s noise level, you may want to consider giving its feet a look. While they are some of the most commonly overlooked aspects of your washer, they can nevertheless cause noisy disruptions.
One potential problem could be that the washing machine’s feet are on uneven ground, or they are uneven themselves. The former of these is obviously preferable. If your washing machine’s feet are uneven, in most cases you simply need to rearrange your machine’s placement so they stand on even ground.
If one or more of the feet themselves are uneven, however, you will have to even them out yourself, or else replace them entirely. Naturally, the former is more cost-effective and less-labor intensive and therefore preferable to the latter.
4. Adding Anti-Skid Pads
Another potential problem related to your washing machine’s feet is the potential for them to go skidding across a hardwood, tile, or other smooth surface. In this case, getting pads for the bottom of your washer’s feet is a good solution.
These pads are not simply a small piece of felt. They are durable, specialized rubber pads which attach to the bottom of your washer and work to reduce the vibrations that they make. These types of pads also act like platform shoes for your washer to an extent, raising it above the ground ever so slightly so as to help remove it from whatever is causing the bad vibrations between your washing machine’s feet and the floor.
One of the best things about these kinds of rubber pads is the fact that they are able to maintain their grip better than felt or any other fabric. That is because the bottoms of these pads are designed with the same kind of rubberized anti-skid design as tennis shoes. What’s more, not only do these pads work to reduce friction, but they also do so in such a way as to reduce scuffing without causing any on their own.
These pads are also simple to install. You simply place them over your washing machine’s feet as you would slip shoes over your own feet, and voila.
5. Adding Anti-Skid Mats
The Beach Boys may have sung about “Good Vibrations,” but when it comes to minimizing washer noise, you want to minimize vibrations however possible. This is related to the above point about mats, pads, and other means of reducing friction between your washer’s feet and the floor. That said, it isn’t just your washing machine’s feet that can be the culprit here, noisy “bad vibrations” can occur from top to bottom of your machine.
Having already looked at anti-skid washing machine feet, anti-skid mats are the next most natural choice to consider when trying to quiet a noisy washing machine. These are available in several different sizes, and you’ll want to make sure that you are finding one that fits comfortably below your washing machine’s feet. The last thing you want is for some of it to peak out from beneath the washer, thus causing the unit to be uneven once more and cause all the aforementioned noise-related problems associated with that issue.
As with the pads, the best anti-skid mats are made of sturdy rubber. What’s more, it isn’t just any rubber that is used in the construction in the best anti-skid mats, but compressed rubber. This distinction matters because its compressed nature gives it extra sound dampening capabilities. As such, not only can it stop skidding between your washing machine’s feet and your floor, but it can work to quiet the unit’s vibrations on the whole.
It is able to do this by absorbing those vibrations.
One final pad-related suggestions – if your washing machine sits against a cupboard, dryer, wall, or other surface, try padding or attaching mats to the sides as well as the feet. This can reduce noise caused by the machine inadvertently hitting those other surfaces.
6. Multipurpose Mats
In addition to its role as a sound dampening agent, these mats also do a great job of protecting your floor from scratching. What’s more, they can be used with not only washing machines, but other appliances with vibration/floor-scratching problems, including your air conditioner or electric generator.
All of these units give off a fair amount of heat, but given the fact that rubber is a natural insulator and the best anti-skid mats can resist more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit, these mats should be up to the task of protecting your floor and reducing those bad vibrations to nil.
7. Add Blankets
If you do not wish to invest in anti-vibration pads and mats, there are a few home remedies that you can employ to try and quiet your machine, one of the easiest being simply laying down blankets or mats across the area in question. This can help reduce the friction between and, thus, the noise caused by your washing machine’s feet and the floor, or any other vibrations that may be resulting in loud noises.
As you might guess, this will not be as effective as the full noise-canceling powers of anti-skid mats or pads. That said, they can work in a pinch as a stopgap measure until you get those pads or mats, or else call out a repair team in the case of a more serious issue. If you want to get serious about this option, you could try soundproofing your laundry room with blankets.
8. Clogged Washers
In the course of a typical wash, sometimes debris is shaken loose from the clothes being washed. Older washers or units with violent washing motions can also sometimes shake themselves loose. Either way, another potential cause for your relentlessly noisy washing machine is a clogged drainage pump.
The good news here is that your course of action is pretty straightforward – remove the clog, solve the noise problem. To clean your pump, simply:
- Locate the access door which leads to the pump
- Remove the filter
- Drain out the water into a bowl or similar receptacle
- Clean the pump and filter
- Make sure the source of the clog has been successfully removed
- Reinstall the filter
- Make sure everything is back in place and close the access door
9. Even Loads
As stated, it is important to make sure that you are loading your washing machine properly. Even if you don’t overload your washing machine, just the way you load it up can cause clogs and accompanying noise. You, thus, want to make sure that you always load your washing machine evenly. Uneven piles can lead to clothes getting displaced or jammed in the machinery.
10. Squeaking During the Spin Cycle
Maybe it isn’t the stereotypical, loud, out of control rumble that you hear emanating from your washing machine, but a squeak instead. If that is the case, you may need to take a few extra measures to address the noise issue once and for all.
A loud, squeaky washing machine is another example of the noise likely being a giveaway as to the root cause of the issue. In a top-loader, it is likely to be your washer’s coupler, which connects the transmission and motor. In front-loaders as well as some top-loaders, it can be the brake stator. On the other hand, if your washer is squeaking while the washer fills with water, you may instead be looking at a water pressure issue.
Either way, you are looking at another repair or replacement job to get rid of what is almost certainly a worn out part. In the latter case, you will want to remove the hoses from your washer, inspect everything to try and find what is causing the squeak, and call a repair team if you are unable to fix it yourself.
Noisy washing machines can be incredibly frustrating. After all, they are supposed to make our lives easier, not give us a persistent headache. As demonstrated here, however, fixing noisy washing machines can be as simple as identifying the root cause of the problem and addressing it head-on with tools or affordable anti-skid, anti-noise accessories.