7 DIY Washer Repairs to Prevent a Service Call

White washing machine with front door open and clothing hanging out

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

Many of the problems for any brand of washer can be solved without a service call; even by the mechanically challenged.

Here are seven tips to help you problem solve when your washer isn't working properly. These may save you the expense of a service call or eliminate some issues so the problem is easier for the technician to solve.

  • 01 of 07

    Washer Won't Run

    Engineer Mending Domestic Washing Machine
    MachineHeadz / Getty Images

    Check to be sure the washer is plugged in. This seems so simple, but repairmen get paid when that's all it takes to make an appliance work. Plugs can get bumped loose by animals or fallen objects.

    If that doesn't work, move on to the next item to check.

  • 02 of 07

    Tip 2: Check the Breaker Box

    Breaker box switch moved with finger

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    Washer Is Plugged in but Still Won't Work

    Once you've made sure the washer is properly plugged into the electrical outlet and it still won't run, it's time to check your central home electrical box to see if a fuse has blown or a circuit breaker has tripped.

    You may be able to replace the fuse or turn the breaker back on. If this happens frequently, call an electrician immediately!

    Washer Is Plugged In, Breakers Are Fine but It Still Won't Work

    Today's washers, both front and top load models, require a lid switch to engage for the washer to work. These switches can break and have to be replaced. They can also just get "gunked up" with lint and detergent residue. Use a cotton swab and a bit of rubbing alcohol to clean the contact areas. You'll be amazed.

  • 03 of 07

    Tip 3: No Water Coming In

    Water valves checked by hand

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

    If you've established electrical power, the next thing you need is water. Here's what to do if there is no water coming into the washer.

    No Water Is Entering the Machine

    Be sure the water valves are open. You should have two valves: a hot and a cold. They may be marked or signified by a red/blue knob or switch. Even if you always wash in cold water, some washers won't operate unless both valves are open. If your machine is getting water but it fills very slowly, you may just need to open the valve more.

    Water Valves Are Open and Still Washer Won't Fill

    If the washer won't fill and the water valves are open, you may have a clog in the filter screen. Unplug the machine. Turn off the water valves. Get a bucket to catch the remaining water in the hoses. Unscrew the hoses from your machine, and check to see if there is a clog in the filter. A simple cleaning may do the trick to get your washer working again.

  • 04 of 07

    Tip 4: Loud Noises

    Little door opened to check for clogs in front-loading washing machine

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

    Terrible Noises

    This often happens because the washer has been loaded improperly or the laundry has shifted during the cycle. For standard top load washers, never load clothing on just one side of the central agitator, distribute it evenly around the washer's tub. For high efficiency top load washers with no central agitator, the problem can be overloading. In front load models, the noises can come if the machine is underloaded, and one heavy item is being flung around during the final spin.

    If the thumping occurs during a cycle (usually the spin cycle), simply stop the machine and redistribute the wet clothing.

    Weird Noises

    Humming, clicking or gurgling can be caused by objects caught in the washer's drum or internal mechanisms, clogged drains or internal sensors. Clicking or gurgling often signals an object caught in the water pump or drain line. These are easily accessed for cleaning (most front load washers have a little door near the bottom to check). You'll probably find a button, coin or tiny toy inside. Another reminder to check pockets before loading clothes.

    If your washer is making squealing or screeching noises, this indicates an internal mechanical problem that will require a service call.

    Terrible Noises and Vibrates Wildly

    If after rebalancing the load of wet clothes the washer is still noisy and vibrates, the washer is now off-balance. You must take steps to level the washer, or it will never be quiet and further damage can occur.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Tip 5: Washer Leaks

    Soapy water leaked in front of washing machine on wooden floor

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

    Water Puddles on the Floor

    The first thing to check is the washer's hose connections to the hot and cold water valves. Use a dry hand or a paper towel to run down the length of each hose. If you find any dampness, tighten immediately. If the hose appears to have small splits, replace immediately. A burst water hose is a huge mess and damages walls and floors. Washer hoses should be checked and replaced regularly to prevent this problem.

    Pay attention to where the puddle is located, whether in the front of the washer or back of the washer. The location will give you a hint as to what to do next.

    Soapy Puddles on the Floor

    If you have a front-loading machine, be certain that you are using an HE - high efficiency - detergent. These are formulated to be low-sudsing and to be used in the lower levels of water in a front-loading washer.

    Front-loading machines have a small overflow system usually on the back of the machine. If you have too many suds, they are probably escaping from there.

  • 06 of 07

    Tip 6: Clothes Are Too Wet After Final Spin Cycle

    Water pump pipe checked for clogs from washing machine

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

    Clothes Are Still Too Wet After Spin Cycle

    If your clothing is still quite wet after the spin cycle, first check to see if the drain hose is kinked or crushed. If your washer "dances" during cycles, it may have moved and kinked the hose.

    The water pump may be clogged with lint or a small object. If the pump isn't allowed to work freely and properly, the water drains out too slowly and leaves your clothes wet. Clean it out (this does not require removing the pump). Even a little lint can slow the draining.

    If that is not the problem, the drain hose could be clogged with lint or hair. It can easily be cleaned with a thin, long-handled brush. Pet shops carry the brushes to clean aquarium tubes if you can't find one at the hardware store.

  • 07 of 07

    Tip 7: No Clue What's Wrong with the Washer

    Washing machine instructions held up in front of machine

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

    No Clue What's Wrong With the Washer

    Hopefully you've kept the operating manual. Get it out and read it! You may just find the answer to your question. If you don't have the manual, visit the manufacturer's website or one of these sites to download a manual. It may take a little time but it's much less expensive than a repair call.

    Read the Manual and Still Have No Clue

    One last thing to do before calling a repairman is to visit online appliance repair sites. A helpful site is Repair Clinic.com.