Is It Against The Law To Use A Washing Machine At Night?

With rising energy costs and other financial concerns we’re all looking for ways to save money. One of the most common suggestions for saving money on energy bills is to take advantage of the cheaper overnight energy tariffs offered by many utility companies.

However, there are laws in place in the UK that state that noise should be kept to a minimum after 11pm and before 7am. So does this mean it’s illegal to use the washing machine after 11 pm?

The short answer is no, it’s not illegal to use the washing machine after 11 pm in the UK. But that’s not the full story, keep reading to find out more.

What Does The Law Say?

Councils can investigate any complaints of noisy neighbours and are more likely to take it seriously if the noise occurs between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am.

If they judge the noise to be excessive, they can issue a warning letter under the 1996 Noise Act. This course of action is almost always applied to noises caused by loud music and parties as opposed to general living noises like washing machines.

This means that although using a washing machine in a built up area during the hours of 11 pm and 7 am could technically be breaking certain acts, it’s highly unlikely.

With that said, it could be considered to be anti-social behaviour and could upset your neighbours. Especially if you live in a flat/apartment or a terraced house.

If you can hear your neighbours moving around in their home, there’s a good chance they can hear you too. Which means they’re likely to be disturbed by your washing machine as well.

However, if you live in a detached house or your washer is in an area which is insulated with thick walls, there should be no problem operating the washer during the night.

Why Would You Use The Washer At Night?

Two people putting clothes in a laundry basket from the washer

As we said earlier, many electricity companies offer cheaper tariffs during the night which would be a good incentive to use your washer when everyone else is sleeping.

Then we have shift workers or those that don’t get in from work until 9 or 10 pm. In those circumstances, it’s quite possible that the washing machine could still be running past 11 pm.

Ways To Make Your Washing Machine Less Noisy

If you really have no option but to use your washing machine during the hours of darkness, and you don’t want to upset your neighbours, there are a few things you can do to reduce the noise of your washer. These include;

Not Overfilling The Drum

Washing machines that have been overloaded tend to vibrate more than usual especially during the spin cycle. To reduce the levels of noise and improve the performance of your appliance, you should never fill the drum more than ¾ full of laundry.

Always try to maintain a gap at the top of the drum of at least ¼ of the size of the drum.

Select A Lower Spin Speed

Washing machines make their most noise during the spin cycle. Consider reducing the spin speed when using the washer late at night. This will make the machine less noisy but it will also mean that your laundry will be wetter when the wash cycle is complete.

This might mean longer in the tumble dryer which could be equally as noisy, although dryers are often less likely to vibrate than washers on a spin cycle.

Remove Any Clutter From The top Of The Washer

It’s easy to store items on top of the washing machine especially if space is at a premium in your home. You should always aim to keep the top of the washer clear of any items that could create a noise when the appliance is running.

Remove any detergent bottles or packets, laundry baskets, vases, or any other clutter from the top of the appliance even if it’s only whilst it is running.

Ensure Your Washer Is On Level Ground

If your washing machine is not level, it is more likely to be noisy. You can adjust the feet of the appliance to level it up after placing a spirit level on top to check the level.

Use An Anti-Vibration Mat

Mario10 Washing Machine Anti Vibration Mat for Under Appliance Non Slip Rubber Mat Easy Cut to Size Non Slip Rubber Matting - 60 x 60 cm (60х60х1) cm.
  • HIGH VIBRATION ABSORPTION: Our anti-vibration washing machine mat is made of durable recycled rubber particles, pressed to dampen the force of vibration to protect the surface of the subfloor while serving as a sound proofing mat; With just 1cm of thickness, this non-vibration rubber mat provides sufficient padding for optimal protective cushioning
  • ULTRA DURABLE & RESISTANT: You can place this anti-vibration mat under any appliance without the worry of it being affected by damaging factors; This ultra-resilient washing machine accessory is moisture and oil resistant, while the anti-mould additives make it ultimately weatherproof - a heavy-duty acoustic mat with plenty of practical benefits

If your washer is level but is still quite noisy consider investing in an anti-vibration mat. These rubber mats are designed to absorb any vibration or movement of the washer as it spins.

This dampens any noise and renders your appliance far quieter.

Get Your Washer Checked By An Expert

If your washing machine has recently developed a louder noise than it previously had, it might be a good idea to contact a technician to check it out. Loud noises emanating from washing machines is never a good thing and can often be indicative of mechanical problems.

A washing machine technician will be able to diagnose any faults and repair or replace any damaged or defective parts.

Replace Your Washer With A New Model

Many older washing machines are way noisier than newer models. If your washing machine is getting on a bit and is a bit loud, consider buying a quieter model.

There are many new washers that have incredibly low decibel levels. With many sounding no louder than a whisper. 

SEE ALSO: What Is A Quiet Mark Certified Washing Machine?

Is It Safe To Use A Washing Machine During The Night?

A person putting clothes into a washing machine

According to the fire service, you should never leave a washing machine unattended. This means you shouldn’t leave the washer on when you’re not at home. But it also applies to leaving the washing machine running when you’re asleep in bed.

This is because although quite rare, washing machines can catch fire when left unattended. In fact during the year 2019/20 there were 520 washing machine fires reported in the UK. That’s around 10 for every week of the year!

See Also: Can Washing Machines Set On Fire? (causes, risks & how to stay safe)

Is It OK To Use My Washing Machine At Night?

It might not be illegal in the UK to use your washing machine during the night but it can cause other problems. For instance, the noise from your washing machine could be a nuisance to your neighbours. But worse than this is the potential for your washer causing a fire in your home whilst you and your family are asleep.

Wherever you can, you should try to get your laundry done during the day. If you have no choice but to use your washer at night, try to limit it to before 11pm and also consider getting a quieter appliance. Or investing in an anti-vibration mat to dampen the sound.

From a safety aspect, we recommend never leaving the washing machine running whilst you and your household are asleep.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you allowed to use the washing machine at night?

Technically you are allowed to use the washing machine at night, however, it could be considered to be a noise nuisance to your neighbours depending on where the washer is situated.

What time is too late for the washing machine?

In the interest of being a good neighbour, it is recommended that the washing machine is not used between the hours of 11pm and 7am.

Can I use my washing machine at night in the UK?

Whilst you can technically use your washing machine at night in the UK, it might not be a good way to keep your neighbours on friendly terms. Plus you should never leave a washing machine unattended due to the fire risks associated with unattended appliances.

Is it rude to run the washing machine at night?

Unless you live in a detached home or your washing machine is in a soundproofed room, it can be considered to be rude to run a washing machine at night.

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