Learn how long your washing machine should last

How Long Do Washing Machines Last?

How long have you had your washing machine? Many of us would be lost without one, but they don’t last forever and at some point you’ll probably need to replace it.

How long washing machines last depends on a few factors, including the quality of the appliance, how often it’s used, and how well you maintain it. In this post, we’ll discuss these factors one by one... and reveal how you know it’s time to call it a day and buy a new machine.

We’ll cover:

What is the average lifespan of a washing machine?

According to Consumer Reports, washing machines last around 10 years.

Obviously, that’s just an average. Like all appliances, some will last longer, others not so long. Taking good care of your machine can help to boost its lifespan.

What impacts how long your washing machine will last?

There are five main factors that could impact your washing machine’s lifespan:

  • The quality of the appliance
  • The frequency of use
  • The size of your wash loads
  • The items you wash in it
  • How well the washing machine is maintained

The quality of the appliance

It may not always be the case, but often you get what you pay for as far as longevity is concerned. As a general rule, more expensive washing machines are of higher quality, making them more reliable and longer lasting – as long as you look after them properly, of course.

A useful tip is to look at the manufacturer’s warranty. If the warranty period is very short – 6 months or a year, for example – there might be a good reason for that. If you can, buy a model that comes with at least a 2-year warranty. Price comes into this too: you might find more expensive models offer anything up to 5 years.

In reality, we hope all washing machines would last at least that long, regardless of how much you pay for them. But the truth is that manufacturers can’t take the many other factors that could affect longevity into account. Our advice? Choose your model wisely from a competitively priced store so you don’t spend more than you need to.

The frequency of use

How often do you use your washing machine? Research commissioned by Beko in 2020 showed that the average Brit living with a partner and children uses their washing machine an average of five times a week, or 260 times a year. Over 10 years that’s 2,600 washes in total.

It follows, then, that if you use your washing machine less than that you could reasonably expect it to last longer. However, using it half as much won’t necessarily make it last twice as long, as rubber parts like water hoses, belts and seals tend to wear out and crack over time.

The size of your wash loads

Most of us are guilty of throwing a few extra items into an already-full washing machine now and then. But not only does overloading mean your clothes won’t wash as well, it also puts extra strain on the machine.

If the laundry load is too heavy, it will put extra stress on the machine bearings, which could lead to an early demise. And you may not realise that underloading – not putting enough washing in – can cause problems of its own: a small load will put your machine off balance during the spin cycle.

How much washing should you be putting in? Check the manufacturer’s handbook – most washing machines have a capacity of around 7-10kg.

The items you wash in it

Certain items can damage your washing machine from the inside out. Are you guilty of putting any of these in the wash?

  • Coins and keys – Always check the pockets! Loose change and keys will repeatedly bang against the drum and the door of the machine. A damaged inner drum can tear and pull at clothes, and damage to the outer drum can cause leaks.
  • Zips – These can get caught in the drum and scratch the inside of the door, which could eventually lead to the glass shattering. Pull zips all the way up to minimise damage.
  • Bras – Pop them in a mesh laundry bag to avoid wires and hooks getting caught in the drum.
  • Clothes covered in pet hair – Sorry animal lovers: throwing fur-covered bedding or clothes into the washing machine is a big no. Wet fur can stick to the sides of the machine and even clog drains. If you must put an item in, use a vacuum or lint roller to remove as much as possible first.
  • Baby socks – Small items like baby’s socks and reusable cotton pads can easily get stuck in a washing machine's hose or vent. To be on the safe side, put them inside an enclosed mesh bag.

In addition to items that can damage your washing machine, there are also plenty of things that can be damaged by your washing machine. Think twice before machine washing suits, waterproofs, clothes with embellishments, swimwear, throws and blankets, trainers with suede or leather, or delicate fabrics like wool, cashmere, velvet and lace (and always check the label!)

How well the washing machine is maintained

You may not give that much thought to maintaining your washing machine, but taking the time to give it a clean and check it’s functioning properly could extend its usable life, not to mention keep your laundry fresher. Take a look at our washing machine maintenance tips in the next section.

Tips for extending the lifespan of your washing machine

So what should you be doing to ensure your washing machine stays performing at its best for longer? Here are our 8 washing machine maintenance tips – and the first one might surprise you...

1. Don’t use too much detergent

Check how much detergent is needed rather than simply filling the cap for each wash. Using too much leaves residue on the inside of the machine, which can lead to a build up of mould.

2. Clean away detergent residue

Every few weeks, clean the inside of the door seal with warm soapy water, scrub the detergent drawer with a soft brush and clean out the filter.

3. Keep moisture away from the rubber seal and drum

Wipe excess moisture from the door, drum and seal after every use if you can, and leave the door ajar to let the rest evaporate.

4. Banish wet clothes

Leaving wet clothes in the washing machine encourages mould and mildew – not great for your machine, and not pleasant for you either.

5. Run a maintenance cycle

Once a month or around every 30 washes, run a maintenance cycle to eliminate mould and mildew, get rid of any unpleasant odours and clean the machine’s components of dirt and debris. Just run an empty, hot cycle with white vinegar or citric acid instead of detergent.

6. Check the water hoses

No one wants to deal with an unexpected water leak. Around twice a year, check your washing machine’s water hoses for wear and tear, replacing them if necessary.

7. Check the machine is level

Get that spirit level out! If the washing machine isn’t level, it can vibrate unevenly during the spin cycle, leading to wear on the components. You can tweak it by adjusting the machine’s legs to raise or lower each corner.

8. Call in a professional

Finally, if you suspect something’s wrong, get it checked by a washing machine specialist. If there’s an issue, fixing it quickly could help extend the machine’s lifespan.

How to tell when to replace washing machine

Even with the very best maintenance, washing machines have a limited lifespan. When repair estimates come in at more than half the cost of a new model, that’s when it’s probably time to look for a replacement. So how do you know your washing machine has reached the end of the road? Here are a few signs to watch out for, and what they mean.

A (very) noisy washing machine

Some washing machines are noisier than others, and the faster the spin cycle, the louder and more unbalanced the machine will be. Similarly, an unbalanced laundry load – combining lighter-weight clothes with something heavier, like a towel – will be noisier than usual. In both cases, it might be worth checking the machine is level and adjusting one or more of the feet.

But if your machine’s louder than normal and you can’t find an obvious cause, it could be a problem with the bearings. Try turning the drum by hand when the machine is empty. If you can feel it resisting, you might need to call a technician and possibly start thinking about a replacement.

It’s damaging clothes that are supposed to be washing-machine safe

There are a few things to check for here. First, eliminate a few of the common causes of clothing damage – check you’re not overloading the machine, using too much detergent or washing at too high a temperature. If your clothes are coming out dirtier than when they went in (we’re talking a mysterious greyish sludge) it sounds like your washing machine could be due a deep clean. Rips and holes, meanwhile, could be a sign there’s something stuck inside the drum, most probably something that came out of a pocket.

Or it could be something a bit harder to fix. The inside of the washing machine drum has several plastic pieces sticking out, known as paddles. Sometimes these can break, revealing sharp metal hinges underneath. If this happens to you, it could be time to get the drum repaired or start looking for a new machine.

The spin cycle stops working (and your clothes come out soaking!)

Clothes should be wet when they come out of the washing machine, but not soaking. If you open the door to be greeted by a load of heavy, sopping wet clothes, it means the fast spin at the end of the cycle has stopped working.

This could be due to the fact that the motor has become worn, making it hard to get up enough speed. Or it could be a pressure system fault, meaning the pressure sensors that indicate that the water has drained aren’t doing their job properly. A repair specialist will be able to advise you.

The drum no longer drains

Another sign that something is amiss is the drum failing to drain. If it’s full of water it might be a problem with your pump filter, which is there to stop fluff, debris and loose change from blocking your machine. If it’s a simple blockage in the drain hose or u-bend, it’s quite easily fixed – though you’ll need to drain the machine manually first. If you can hear the pump running, then it most probably isn’t a blockage. Time to call someone out to investigate further.

Your machine has started walking

If your washing machine vibrates so hard it actually starts to ‘walk’ across the floor, it’s a pretty big sign something is wrong. First, check the feet are level – if you’re lucky, straightening the machine up could be all that’s needed to fix the problem.

If that’s not the problem, it could be time to start researching a new washing machine. Even though your machine may still work, the movement could cause it to leak, or even detach itself from its connections.

It’s inefficient and costs a lot to run

If you’ve had your current washing machine for a while, there’s a good chance it’s not the most economical to run. Newer washing machines tend to be much more energy efficient, and even use less water, than older models. As well as saving money on your utility bills, a new machine could save you from future repair bills too.

Explore our energy-efficient washing machine range to find the right model for you.

Your family has grown – and you’re doing several washes at once

Maybe it’s drum capacity that’s the issue. If you bought your washing machine before you had children, you might find it’s working overtime now the house is producing twice as many dirty clothes, sheets and towels.

There’s more variety than you might think in washing machine drum sizes – they go from 6kg all the way up to 12kg. A capacity of 8kg should be fine for an average family with two children. If there’s more of you, or you prefer to wash clothes less often in bigger loads, look for something around 10kg or above.

You fancy a tech upgrade

Not only are newer washing machines likely to be more energy efficient, they can offer all kinds of exciting new technology, all designed to make doing your laundry that little bit easier. Special features to look out for include a quick wash, delayed start, anti-crease stems technology and special programmes for certain clothing or fabric types. You can even buy smart washing machines that can be controlled from your smartphone or tablet.

Read more about what the various features do in our Washing Machine Buying Guide.

Discover your new washing machine at Marks Electrical

At Marks Electrical, we stock a wide range of washing machines from top brands at competitive prices. And we’re happy to help you narrow down your search – take a look at our Washing Machine Buying Guide, and get in touch if you’d like any extra advice. Take a look…

We can also help you dispose of your old washing machine with our in-house recycling service. We hate waste as much as you do, so when our team delivers your new appliance (with free delivery available), we can also collect the old one and take it away to be recycled.


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