If the answer is nothing (and you know it is) then follow our tips to stop your washing machine – and thus your life – from spinning out of control.

Your washing machine is one of your priciest home appliances. It’s also one of the items you’d most struggle to do without. So, we've got some tips to help you ensure that you never have to. 

Just a general note of caution to kick things off: before you go digging around into hoses and filters and wandering feet, unplug your machine from the electrical supply. It’s safer that way.

The other thing to bear in mind is that if you're in doubt about anything to do with your machine, check the instruction manual. Although manuals are not always very well written or easy to understand, it's worth a look. Different makes and models often have big differences in parts and how they should be maintained. 

If you've lost your manual, you be able to find a copy online, if you search using the brand and model information. 

Safety

Weirdly, in spite of being a watery appliance, washing machines can be a fire hazard. In fact, if they aren’t properly looked after, they are the home appliance most likely to cause an accidental fire.

To protect your washing machine – and your home – don’t run it when you’re out of the house, check the plug and cable regularly for fraying and don't use it if it's leaking or making a strange noise. If that does happen, don't try to mend it yourself.

Your washing machine needs a plug point to itself, so don't plug it into a power strip and never cover its vents. 

Like all other major appliances, you should register your washing machine so you'll be alerted if a problem is found with it. This usually means your appliance will be replaced by the manufacturer as well.

Go to RegisterMyAppliance to do this now. Most manufacturers will let you register older appliances as well.

If your appliance is too old, or if you bought it secondhand, check the government's product recall page to make sure it's safe to use.  

Ventilate

Between washes, open the washing machine's door and keep it open as wide as possible to allow air to circulate inside. This will help to prevent the damp conditions that can encourage mould.

Check the detergent

How much detergent do you use per wash? If you tend to slop some in without giving it much thought, it may be a good idea to dig out your instruction manual – or look for one online – and find out how much detergent you should actually add to your wash. Too much can be bad for both your clothes and the lifespan of your machine.

When in doubt, use less detergent than you think you need. If you're unhappy with the way your wash comes out, add a bit more until you get it right. 

Give it a regular clean – including the filter

It's a dirty job but somebody's got to do it. And that person is probably you.

You'll need to clean the outside, the detergent drawer, and the drum. Then you'll have to clean and empty the filter. There are several stages to this enterprise, and it's not fun, but we've created a guide on how to clean the filter on your washing machine –  and the rest of the appliance

Check its position

With every spin cycle, your washing machine edges closer to the door and sweet, sweet freedom. It’s your job to coax it back into place. If your washing machine has wobbled too close to the wall, the hoses can become kinked. If it's moved too far away, they can be put under strain. Your washing machine should ideally be located about four inches from the wall. Keep it there by gently shifting it back into place.

Is it on the level?

If your washing machine is wandering about too much, it’s probably not properly balanced. Other signs that this is the case are clothes that are still wet after the final spin, longer cycle times or the washing machine pausing during operation. A small movement by the machine of about one-quarter of an inch to and fro is fine. Any further movement signals trouble.

You should be able to adjust the legs so that they provide a solid, non-wobbly base. To check for wobbliness, hold onto opposite corners of your washing machine and see if it rocks. If it does, you need to adjust the height of its legs.

The legs should also be calibrated so that the top of the machine is level, even if your floor is wonky. A good tip is to place a spirit level on the top of your machine and adjust the feet until the bubble is centred in the spirit level tube.

Here's how to do that. Locate the feet on the front of the machine. You'll either be able to change their height by turning each foot itself by hand or you'll find a locking nut at the top of each one, securing it in place. Use a wrench to loosen the locking nut. Again using the wrench, turn the leg itself clockwise to lower the washing machine or anti-clockwise to raise it. At the end, make sure you tighten the locking nut to lock the legs in place.  

Load it correctly

If the machine itself is properly balanced but it’s still walking across the room ('walking' is – incredibly – the technical term for an overly-mobile washing machine) then it’s time to look at the way you fill it. You should try to distribute the load of washing evenly inside the drum.

If you have a particularly heavy item, like a towel that’s going to soak up a lot of water, you should try to balance it out with another item of washing. It’s also a good idea to try to wash the same type of fabrics together to prevent the load from becoming unbalanced.

For example, don’t put a single pair of heavy jeans in with a few t-shirts. While most people are aware that they shouldn’t overload a washing machine, it’s not as commonly known that you shouldn’t wash just a single, heavy item.

Check the hoses

Is the machine unplugged from the electrical supply? Yes? Then we’ll begin. Gently move your machine out from the wall and examine the hoses. There should be two.

The narrower one is the water-in hose: it connects at the top of your machine to your water supply. If you follow this from the machine to the wall, you should see a valve (it’ll probably be blue). You can turn this to shut off the water supply to the machine. That may be a good idea before any further messing around.

The wider hose will run from the back of the machine. It will end up in one of two places. The first is under your sink, where it will connect to an offshoot that drains into the u-bend. Or it may be hooked into a waste pipe.

Start at the top of each hose and check the connection to the machine. Is it secure? Then feel along the length of the hose, looking for leaking water or damage that could turn into a split. At the other end, check that the hose clip is tight and the hose is securely fastened. If the hose drains into a pipe, ensure that the connection is not blocked.

And that’s it. You’re all done. 

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