Foam In Washing Machine? Too Much Suds? (what to do)

It’s good to see some soap suds through the glass door of the washing machine as your dirty clothes go round and round in the drum. But those same suds in excess could be causing you problems with your laundry. 

Too many suds can even mean the clothes remain dirty. But how do you remedy the problem of too many soap suds in your washing machine? That’s exactly what we’re going to teach you in this article.

Why Is Too Much Foam In My Washing Machine A Problem?

Seeing soap suds or foam in the washing machine is a good thing right? It shows that the clothes are getting covered and completely soaked in detergent which means they’ll get ultra clean right? The answer to both of these questions might surprise you. The answer is yes, a certain amount of soap suds or foam is a good thing, but too much can be a problem.

Too many soap suds can prevent your wash from getting clean

Soap suds form as a natural reaction of detergents and water being agitated during the normal wash cycle of a washing machine. They are used to wash the laundry and then get rinsed away during the rinse cycle. But too many soap suds can prevent the laundry from getting clean.

How Does Too Much Foam Prevent The Laundry From Getting Clean?

The way washing machines clean your clothes is to emulate the way washing was done for many years before the invention of the washing machine. The clothes are rubbed together in a solution of soap and water. Instead of the physical activity of a human being having to rub those dirty clothes together. The motion of the washing machine’s drum ensures the clothes are rubbed together.

The trouble is, too many soap suds causes the clothes to slide over each other instead of actually rubbing together. This means the clothes don’t get washed effectively. On top of which the machine’s rinsing action cannot cope with too much soap which means your clothes leave the machine still coated and full of detergent.

This then leads to problems drying the clothes (they take longer due to the soap content) and the concentrated soap suds can leave behind a not too pleasant smell. All of which means the clothes need to be re-washed before you can wear them again.

What Else Can Too Much Foam In The Wash Do?

In extreme cases, having too many soap suds in the washing machine can cause them to leak out of the machine and make a huge mess of your kitchen, laundry or utility room.

Why Are There Too Many Soap Suds In The Washing Machine?

There are several reasons why the washing machine can produce too many soap suds or foam. Let’s have a look at the causes of excess foam in the washing machine;

Too Much Detergent

Adding too much detergent to your washing machine is the most common cause of too many soap suds in your washing machine. You need to check the instructions on the label of the detergent and only use the correct amount for your water hardness.

If you are using the correct amount of detergent and you find the washing machine is getting too many soap suds, check the hardness of the water in your area. 

Soft Water

If you live in an area which has soft water you will need to use far less detergent than you would in an area with hard water. To check the hardness of the water in your area click here to contact your local water company. 

Too Little Detergent

We know this sounds a little out there, but it’s true, you see detergents contain an anti-foam agent. This means that not using enough detergent could cause the soap suds to create too much foam because there is less anti-foam in the washing machine.

It is always vitally important to use the correct amount of detergent in every wash. 

Overloading Your Washing Machine

If you overload your machine with too much laundry, you will reduce the machine’s ability to clean and rinse the clothes. This means it will struggle to remove all of the soap suds.

Buildup Of Detergent 

If you are regularly using too much detergent in your washing machine, the machine can accumulate trace amounts of detergent. This can buildup to the point where the machine creates too many suds which is then added to every time you use the machine. 

It is important to always use the correct amount of detergent in every wash.

Using Anti-Limescale Products

If you add any anti-limescale products to your wash to help prevent limescale damaging your washing machine, you will need to use less detergent. 

Anti-limescale products like Calgon or soda crystals effectively change the hardness of the water from hard to soft. They do this by negating the minerals which naturally occur in the water that cause the water to be considered hard – or are most likely to create limescale.

When you add any anti-limescale product to your washing machine, you will need to adjust your detergent to the amount needed in soft water areas. If you use the correct amount of detergent, even in areas of hard water, your machine should have protection against limescale. This is because detergents contain an ingredient which protects against limescale.

Water Softener System

If your home has a water softener system or similar, you’ll need to adjust your detergent levels accordingly. Soft water always needs less detergent than hard water. So even if you live in a hard water area, but have some sort of water softening system, you’ll only need the amount of detergent required in soft water areas.

How To Remove Excess Foam From Your Washing Machine

Washing Machine

We have found that fabric softener can be effective against an excess of soap suds in your washing machine. Try pouring fabric softener into the machine at the start of the rinse cycle. Repeat if necessary and never use fabric softener when the machine is not rinsing as it could damage your clothes if applied neat to clothes.

Too Many Soap Suds Only During The Rinse And Spin Cycles

If the soap suds are only visible during the rinse and spin cycles, it could be that there is a partial blockage in the system which prevents the water from leaving the machine at the correct rate. This could cause the soap suds left from the wash cycle to never actually leave the machine. Then during the rinse cycle they get reactivated during the rinse and spin cycle.

This isn’t a common occurrence and needs the blockage to be small enough so that some water can escape and yet large enough to prevent enough soap foam from leaving the machine.

These sorts of conditions are almost always caused by a partial blockage to the pump filter. 

How To Check The Pump Filter On A Washing Machine

To check the pump filter simply;

  1. Locate The Pump Filter
    The pump filter is usually located at the front of the machine at the bottom, behind a flap. Simply lift or pull down the flap to expose the pump filter.
  2. Lay A Towel On The Floor
    Place a towel on the floor in front of the filter to absorb any water that drips from the filter once it is opened. If your machine is full or partially full of water, place a bowl on the floor to catch this water and regulate the water flow by replacing the filter once the bowl is full. Continue refilling the bowl from the filter until the water is gone from the machine.
  3. Twist The Filter From The Pump
    The filter should turn anti-clockwise to remove it from the pump.
  4. Check The Filter
    Once the filter is removed from the pump, check it for any foreign bodies, likely candidates are screws, nails, lint, coins or anything else which could have fallen from the pockets of your washing into the machine.
  5. Check The Pump’s Impeller
    Whilst the filter is removed, check the impeller inside the pump by gently spinning it using one finger. If the impeller moves freely, the pump should be working fine.
  6. Wash The Filter
    Once any foreign objects have been removed from the filter, Rinse it under running water until it is clean.
  7. Replace the filter
    To return the filter into the pump, gently push the filter into the housing and turn it clockwise to lock it into position. Take care to not over tighten the screw as this could cause it to leak.

Check The Waste Pipe

If the filter is clear, you should inspect the waste pipe, it could be twisted just enough to cause the conditions mentioned above. Another thing to check is how far into the plastic wall pipe the waste pipe extends. It should extend into the wall pipe no greater than 6 inches (15cm). Any further and insufficient drainage could occur.

Use Vinegar To Prevent Detergent Buildup

The problem of excessive soap suds could also be caused by a buildup of detergent in your clothes and especially your towels. To prevent this buildup, add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle instead of a fabric conditioner (which does a similar thing).

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my washing machine making too many suds?

There are several reasons your washing machine could be making too many suds. These include, using too much detergent, especially if you live in an area with soft water, using anti-limescale products in your wash, overloading your washing machine or a partially blocked pump filter.

How do you get rid of too much suds?

If your washing machine has created too many suds the best way to get rid of them is to add fabric softener to the rinse cycle. Or add white vinegar to the rinse cycle.

Should I see soap suds in the washing machine?

It is normal to see some soap suds in the washing machine. However, if you see what you consider to be an excessive amount of soap suds in the washing machine, you should check on the amount of detergent you are using.

Will vinegar reduce suds?

Using white vinegar will help to reduce soap suds in the washing machine. Add one cup of white vinegar to the machine at the start of the rinse cycle to reduce soap suds.

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