7 signs that you need a new washing machine

woman on phone in front of washing machine
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Laundry may not be the most exciting task, but it can be even more of a chore when your washing machine starts to malfunction. If you notice that your washing machine is not performing as well as it used to, it could be time to upgrade to one of the best washing machines. A faulty washing machine could result in dirty or even smelly clothes, a flooded basement, or higher-than-usual utility bills.

In some cases, the solution could simply be knowing how to clean a washing machine to maintain it. However, if all attempts at knowing how to make your washing machine last longer fail, check out these 7 signs that you need a new washing machine. 

Before you buy, check out our guide on 11 things to look for when buying a washing machine. Just don’t put these 15 things in the washing machine to avoid further damage.  

1. It makes loud and excessive noises 

A woman holding a laundry hamper while covering her ears

A woman holding a laundry hamper while covering her ears (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If your washing machine is incredibly loud (and sounds like it's about to take off!), this could signify a problem. The faster your drum spins, the louder and unbalanced the machine will be. Overloading your machine can often put a strain on the drum to struggle with the heavy or ‘unbalanced load’. As a result, this could cause the motor or drum to malfunction over time. Also, if the machine is shaking, and attempts at how to fix a shaky washing machine doesn’t work, it may be on its way out. 

2. Your clothes are not getting washed properly

Woman holding white laundry

Woman holding white laundry (Image credit: Shutterstock)

There’s nothing worse than doing laundry, and still your clothes are not as clean and spotless as they used to. One of the common reasons for this is that the machine isn't draining properly. This means it will always leave residual dirt or grime from the previous wash in the drum, which is still there after the last rinse. First, try to clear your washing machine's filter, which may be clogged up. If you can’t locate this, refer to your user manual for guidance. 

Other possible reasons include a clogged-up detergent tray, or you’re overloading your machine, making it work even harder to move and rinse clothing properly. If regular cleaning doesn’t seem to work, it’s a sure sign to get a new machine.  

If you're perplexed by the detergent tray, here’s what those compartments actually do in your washing machine drawer.

3. Drum won’t spin properly at the end of a cycle 

A washing machine spinning

A washing machine spinning (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Laundry should be damp after a spin cycle, not soaking wet. If this happens frequently, this could be due to a worn motor that makes it difficult to reach the speed needed for the fastest spin. Another reason could point to a pressure system fault caused by a blockage. In any case, this is a sign that you may need a new washing machine if the problem can’t be repaired.  

4. You have water leaks 

Mop in yellow bucket

Mop in yellow bucket (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you find yourself mopping up puddles on your kitchen floor during laundry day, this is a sign you have a problem. This simply might be due to a loose connection, so check that the water hose at the back of the machine hasn’t loosened from excessive vibration. Alternatively, leaking could be caused by the water not draining properly, a broken hose, or a cracked drum, the last of which is more serious. If a professional can’t repair or replace the pipe or hose, you may need a new washing machine.

5. There’s always a smelly odor 

Smelly washing machine

Smelly washing machine (Image credit: Shutterstock)

It’s never pleasant when your laundry comes out smelling worse than it did going in. Bad odors are caused by mold or mildew growth inside of the washer. This is often caused by a build-up of detergent, gunk and other bacteria over time. To prevent odors, wipe away excess moisture after the cycle is complete and keep the door open, if possible. You can also clean a washing machine by running an empty cycle with distilled vinegar or bleach. But if the stink persists after regular cleaning, you may need to invest in a new washer.  

Never mix bleach with vinegar — it creates a lethal chlorine gas.

6.  Your utility bills are going up 

Energy star rating sticker

Energy star rating sticker (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you’ve noticed your energy bills suddenly shooting up, a faulty washing machine could be the culprit. When the machine isn’t performing properly, or using excess water, this will affect your running costs. If it can’t be easily repaired, it’s far more economical to invest in a new machine, and save money in the long run. It’s also worth noting what Energy Star rating it has, and how much money it will save you.  

7. Your machine is outdated 

Washing machine

Washing machine (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Generally, if your washing machine is more than 10 years old, it’s probably in need of an upgrade. Older washing machines are not as efficient as newer models, and likely to experience more problems. In addition, older models don't have the more advanced features and new technology of their latest counterparts. For instance, the ability to regulate the amount of water and detergent, to the amount of clothes in each cycle. Plus, other features will care for clothes better, save water and significantly reduce utility bills. 

How long does a washing machine last for? 

The average lifespan of a new washing machine is 10 years, according to Consumer Reports. However, it's recommended to replace a machine after eight years, unless it’s a high-end model which is more durable. 

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, here’s why fabric softener is bad news for you and your washing machine and what do laundry symbols mean?  Also, don't make this one mistake when doing your laundry.

Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!