Washing Machine Grinding Noise: Reasons and Fixes

washing machine grinding noise

Last updated: November 8, 2022 at 14:50 pm

A washing machine is not a quiet appliance, but it’s still a worry when it starts making strange grinding noises. It’s not normal, and it’s natural to worry that it’s starting to fail. Washing machines are vital appliances nowadays, and it’s not easy to manage without one.

Does a grinding noise always mean failure, or are there causes that can be fixed? Let’s look at the most common causes and potential fixes.

1. Your Machine Is Noisy

If you have a new machine which is much noisier than your old one, it’s possible that’s just how it works. Look for reviews online to see if others have reported the same thing. If possible, it might be worthwhile looking into a quiet washing machine.

If not, contact the place where you bought your existing one from for a warranty repair or return.

2. An Object Is Stuck Somewhere

Even if you think you’ve checked every pocket and crevice, you end up with items in the washer that shouldn’t be there. If you’re lucky, you simply find it in the drum when your wash is finished. If you’re not, it will get stuck and create a grinding noise. There are three main areas where an object is likely to get stuck.

The Seal

The first place to check is the seal between the drum and the door, as it’s the most likely culprit. You can use a screwdriver to push back the seal and hold it open while you inspect it thoroughly. Use a torch if you can’t see every nook and cranny and check it thoroughly.

Then release the seal and use a piece of wire or a coat hanger to clean out the join between the drum and seal to make sure stray fragments of clothes and other debris are not stuck there.

Also read: How to Fix a Noisy Washing Machine (5 Methods)

The Drum

washing machine drum

If you’ve ruled out the seal, the next place to check is the drum. It’s easy to fix, but you need to be careful and check methodically.

Unplug the machine – safety first Check the drum thoroughly. A major culprit in grinding noises is the underwiring in bras. After the bra has been worn for a while, the wiring weakens and tends to snap. If you don’t notice and put it in the machine, the wire can come loose and slip into the drainage holes. Cue a loud grinding noise.

Take off the drum paddles. Not all washers have paddles that can be removed; some are part of the drum. However, most washers have three removable paddles that push the clothes around the drum.

They’re often plastic, so they can cause the noise as a piece can break off and get stuck. There’s a variety of ways to remove them. Some simply slide out if you push them backwards r forwards. Others need you to use a screwdriver to release the holding clip.

The easiest way is to look online for advice regarding your model. Once you’ve removed them, firstly check them for damage. If they look ok, use a torch to investigate the gaps where they go to see if anything is stuck under the drum.

The Heater

washing machine heater

The final possibility is the heater. This element is harder to check, but it’s still possible.

  1. Unplug the washing machine
  2. Pull the machine out from the wall so you can access the rear panel
  3. Unscrew the panel and store the screws somewhere safe
  4. The heating unit will be at the bottom; look up the manual online if you’re unsure which part it is. Disconnect any wires attaching it to the machine
  5. Unscrew the heater and lift it out
  6. Check the void left for any foreign objects
  7. Make sure you carefully refit the components before you plug the washer back in

Related: 5 Anti Vibration Mats to Quieten a Washing Machine

3. A Worn or Broken Washer Drive Belt

The drive belt turns the drum, and it can become work over time. However, it can also break in new machines due to a fault. It can also wear prematurely if you overload the machine or if something gets stuck in the drum, meaning the belt must work harder to turn the drum.

This is another job you should be able to do yourself. Follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the washing machine
  2. Pull the machine out from the wall so you can access the rear panel
  3. Unscrew the panel and store the screws somewhere safe
  4. You should now be able to see the belt. Check it carefully for wear and see if it moves freely. If the belt is missing, it has likely snapped and will be lying at the bottom
  5. If the belt is looking in good order, it’s not the problem, so replace the back. If it’s missing or worn, then remove the old belt
  6. Slip a new belt onto the motor’s spindle first and then onto the drum. The belt needs to be very tight to turn the drum, so it will not be easy to fit. Take your time and work it into place
  7. Replace the back and plug it back in

4. A Failed U-Joint

The U-joint allows the washer plate to move freely. If the U-Joint has failed, you will hear grinding or clunking noises when you use your washer.

You can replace this part yourself, and many kits are available online. Check your machine’s model number and make sure you get the correct one. The way to replace the u-joint varies between models, so follow the guide in the manual.

5. Worn Drum Bearings

worn drum bearings

The drum bearings are metal balls that form a ring-like structure that supports the washer’s drum. Due to regular exposure to water, the bearings can rust over time. This rust can cause a grinding noise when your washer is running.

The bearings can be replaced, but it’s a complex job. It would be best to have a professional do it for you. If you are very competent and feel confident doing it yourself, there are YouTube guides and many spare parts companies online where you can get what you need.


Some washing machines are noisy, and it is, unfortunately, the trade-off for cheaper models. However, if the grinding sound is new, it’s a sign that a part of your washing machine may be failing.

Sometimes you will find a foreign object or debris, and once it’s removed, your machine will run more quietly. It’s also possible to easily replace some parts and resolve the issue. You should decide if you feel confident replacing the parts or whether you want to call in a professional.

If the machine is quite old, though, it may not be one part that is worn but several. In that case, you should decide if buying a new washing machine makes more sense. The choice is yours.

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About the Author: Claire

Hailing from the North-East, Claire has been writing for Quiet Living since 2020 and has built a wealth of knowledge in home improvement, with a keen interest in knowledge based articles.

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