Once you have identified the problem, try these troubleshooting steps to solve it. Keep in mind that many of these issues will require professional washing machine repair.
The washing machine won’t empty or spin. Many washers won’t move to the next cycle until they drain. If there’s standing water in your appliance (which may or may not cause it to just keep running), it’s not good. Check your washer’s drain hose to ensure it’s not clogged, kinked, or blocked. A damaged hose will need to be replaced, but you can unclog a hose manually, which may help the appliance drain. First, turn off the power to the washer at the breaker. Disconnect the drain hose from the back of your washing machine (use a bucket to catch any water that’s in the hose or machine). You can try using a drain snake to clear a stubborn clog.
The washing machine drains but won’t spin. A displaced or faulty spin switch is the most likely cause. This small switch should be pressed down by the lid when it’s closed. If it isn’t pressed down, your machine may prevent the spin cycle as a safety measure. To troubleshoot this, hold the switch down with your finger (with the lid open) and start a spin cycle. If the drum turns, the switch probably isn’t broken but may be bent. You may be able to bend the spin switch back into place so that it latches properly. However, even if you temporarily fix the switch, it's best to have an appliance pro look at it to ensure it continues to work properly.
A machine that’s draining but not spinning, even when you try the switch test above, may have a broken or displaced drive belt. You may need a professional’s help to fix this. An expert would remove the back panel of your washer and see if it’s still in place on the pulleys. A slipped belt can be put back into place, but a worn-out one needs to be replaced.
The washing machine’s not spinning at full speed. Your laundry loads may be too heavy or unbalanced if your washer is spinning slowly or stuttering. Heavy loads can also cause your washer to "walk" or move forward when it runs. Try washing smaller loads, distributing your laundry evenly when you fill the machine and ensuring the washer is level on its pedestal.
The washing machine spins for a few seconds, then stops. If your washing machine spins but seems to experience interruptions, the drive motor may have burnt out. Replacing a broken drive motor is a complicated repair that should be left to a trained professional.
The washing machine isn’t running at all. Go for the most obvious fix first: Check the power! Make sure your washing machine is plugged in and that the plug isn’t loose. Always plug your heavy-duty appliances like washing machines directly into the wall instead of using an extension cord. Check the breaker box to see if you have a tripped breaker or blown a fuse. If necessary, contact an expert electrician to have a dedicated circuit installed.
If your washing machine is in your basement, garage, or a secluded laundry room, you won’t have an eye or ear on it every time it runs. Even if you do see and hear it, you might still be wondering how to tell if your washing machine won’t spin. Here are the signs:
Clothes come out soaked.
You can’t hear, feel, or see the spin cycle.
Heavier loads aren’t clean.
You notice a mildew smell.