How To Remove Something Stuck In Your Washing Machine

It often seems like our washing machines make socks disappear doesn’t it? You put 5 pairs of socks into the machine and often find there’s an odd sock at the end of the wash cycle. You can sometimes feel like you’re going mad but the reality is, washing machines can actually trap small items including socks during the wash cycle.

But it’s not only socks that get stuck in washing machines, there are many everyday items that find their way into our washing machines. This article is all about how to locate those items and safely retrieve them from the washing machine without causing any damage.

What Items Are Likely To Get Stuck In The Washing Machine?

Basically any items that are small enough to get between the door and the inner basket or fall into the pump area. These include;

  • Coins
  • Screws
  • Nails
  • Jewelry
  • Hair pins
  • Socks
  • keys
  • Bra wires
  • Credit cards
  • And so on

Any of these items could cause some sort of damage to the washing machine and should be removed as soon as possible. 

Sometimes, it’s possible to tell which item is trapped in the machine by the sound it makes.

Typical Washing Machine Noises

The type of noise an item makes when the washing machine is in use can help you to identify what it is. For instance;

  • Scraping noise
    A scraping sound usually indicates a metal object trapped between the door and the inner basket. You can use a torch to check the basket for anything sticking out. These types of items can sometimes be removed using a pair of needle-nosed pliers (pointy ended pliers).
  • Scuffling
    If the sound is a scuffling noise, it’s likely to be an item of clothing caught between the door and the drum. Or sometimes the item could be stuck between the inner and outer drum. To get at these items you’ll probably need to remove one or more panels from your machine. Ensure the machine is disconnected from the power supply before attempting any dismantling of the body of the machine. Consult your handbook for more details.
  • Clicking
    A clicking noise is usually indicative of a coin or other metal object caught somewhere in the drum or actually rolling around the drum as the wash cycle rotates the drum. These items can often be removed once the wash cycle has finished and the clothes have been removed.
  • Noise at the bottom of the machine
    If a strange noise is coming from the bottom of your machine, it’s probably something caught in the pump. This needs dealing with fast as irreparable damage could occur to the pump. The first place to check is the pump filter. This is located at the bottom front on most washing machines and can be accessed by opening a flap on the machine. The filter just unscrews from the machine. Once the filter is out gently rotate the impeller inside the pump using one finger. If it spins freely all should be well, if it feels inhibited, you’ll probably need a new pump. This is probably a job for a professional engineer.

How To Remove Items From Your Washing Machine

Washing Machine

There are a number of ways to remove items from your washing machine, depending what they are and where they are caught. Let’s look at the most common objects and how to remove them safely.

  • Bra Wire
    Bra wires often get trapped in the drum itself and protrude into the inner drum. These can be removed using needle-nosed pliers by simply gripping the end of the wire and gently pulling towards you.
  • Screw/Nail
    These often get caught in the drum and can be removed using a pair of needle-nosed pliers.
  • Sock/Small Item Of Clothing
    The disappearing sock can often be recovered from the gap between the tub and the front of the drum. We’ve had success removing these items using a wire coat hanger which can be slid between the tub and the drum. Take care not to puncture the tub whilst fishing for the lost sock. 
  • Buttons
    Many small buttons can end up in the pump filter and can block it which can cause the machine to stop working or even cause a flood. The pump filter should be checked every 3 months to ensure the machine operates correctly.

Harder To Reach Items

So far we’ve talked about easy to tackle problems, but now we’re going to look at some of the more difficult, harder to access parts of the washing machine. If you can hear a noise like one of those mentioned above, but on inspection you can’t see anything, you might need to dismantle part of your washing machine.

The problem is many modern washing machines are made in such a way that it’s impossible to get at some parts without causing damage to the machine. But there are still some areas that we can get to.

You need to make sure the sound is actually caused by something stuck in the machine somewhere and not something mechanical.

For instance, if the machine is making a noise when the drum turns, can you be sure it’s actually caused by something stuck in the drum and not the machine’s motor? The only real way to know is to disconnect the drive belt to disengage the motor whilst turning the drum.

Common Problems

Bra wires are the most common cause of suspicious noises in washing machines. These can cause problems with pump filters clogging up and in some rare cases a bra wire can cause leaks because they get to the front seal plate. They can also get trapped in the sump hose or as we already mentioned the pump filter.

Sump Hose

The sump hose is often the place where bra wires get caught up and can then go on to cause more problems. If you suspect you might have a rogue bra wire trapped in the sump hose and you feel like tackling it yourself, the first thing you need to do is remove the back panel of the washing machine.

There’ll be some water laying in the sump hose so lay some towels around to soak it up. You’re looking for the black corrugated pipe that runs from the bottom of the tub to the water pump.

Remove the hose from the tub end and remove the bra wire and anything else you find inside. If you don’t see the bra wire, move the washing machine backwards and forwards and see if the wire slides into view, then remove it.


If a coin gets trapped between the tub and the drum it can be difficult to get at on modern machines. This is because they have sealed drums which makes it impossible to get to without breaking the seal which then renders the machine useless afterwards as it will leak water from the tub.

All you can do is carefully remove a drum paddle, although this isn’t possible on all machines. If it doesn’t appear to be removable, then it’s probably best you leave well alone because if you break a paddle, you’ll need to replace the whole drum. If the drum is a sealed unit, this will probably cost as much as replacing the machine.

In some cases it’s possible to access the area between the drum and the tub via the dispenser tub hose. You’ll need to operate carefully so you don’t do any damage and after stripping the machine down to get at it, you could find there’s nothing there anyway. Plus there’s always the chance of putting it back together incorrectly and flooding your floor the next time you run the machine.

The bottom line is, if you don’t feel confident undertaking any of these tasks yourself, we advise you to call in an expert engineer. Also if your machine is still under warranty you should contact the manufacturer because if you tamper with anything you could void your warranty.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can things get stuck in the washing machine?

Things can get stuck in the washing machine. Items like bra wires, coins, screws, nails, buttons etc can easily get stuck in the washing machine.

Where do clothes get stuck in the washer?

Clothes can get stuck in the washer’s drainage system or between the drum and the door seal.

Where do small things go in the washing machine?

Small things can get trapped in the pump filter of the washing machine. To access the pump filter you will need to open the flap on the front of the machine at the bottom. Then unscrew the filter and check inside for small items like buttons etc.

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