Washing Machine Making A Grinding Noise? (try this)

It can be extremely worrying if your washing machine starts to make a new noise. Especially if it sounds like something is grinding inside the machine. In this article we’ll explore what can be causing this grinding noise and what you can do about it.

There are several reasons your washing machine could be making a grinding noise, some serious and some with an easy fix.

What Could Be Causing The Washing Machine To Make A Grinding Noise?

Below we have listed 7 reasons why your washing machine might have started to make that grinding noise. Please note, before investigating the inner workings of your washing machine, always disconnect it from the electricity supply first.

Something Stuck In The Seal Or Drum

This is one of the more common causes for the washing machine to make a grinding noise. It is easy to leave something small inside the pocket of your clothes which then falls into the drum of the machine and gets caught somewhere and causes that terribly worrying noise.

This could be anything from a small coin, screw, nail, small toy, stone or any number of other small objects, even a wire from a bra. Sometimes it can even be small items of clothing caught between the door seal and the drum.

How To Remove Small Objects Stuck In The Washing Machine’s Door Seal

Washing Machine

To check if there is anything trapped between the door seal and the drum, just;

  1. Pry the seal back
    Use a screwdriver to prop open the seal and then use a torch to see if there is anything caught there
  2. Use a wire coat hanger to remove anything stuck there
    Hook the coat hanger around any objects stuck in between the door seal and the drum and gently maneuver the object out. 
  3. Use a vacuum to remove any awkward items
    Sometimes, the items are too small to remove using a wire coat hanger, if this is the case use a vacuum to remove the item.
  4. Ensure the seal fits correctly
    Be sure to refit the door seal correctly to prevent any leaks when using the machine.

If the item is stuck in the drum this can usually be seen by closely inspecting the drum. Look at the holes in the drum closely, if one of these has something caught in it, it could be rubbing onto the body of the machine and causing the grinding noise. Remove anything protruding through the drum and this should solve the problem.

Pump Blockage

If the area around the drum is clear, the next most likely candidate is the pump. To inspect the pump, remove the lower front panel of the washing machine and unscrew the pump filter cap. Check that the filter isn’t blocked and then spin the impeller to see if it spins freely, if it doesn’t spin then the pump will be the probable cause of the grinding noise. 

If the impeller has a crack in it or parts missing, you’ll need a new pump. We recommend calling an engineer for the job of replacing the pump if this is the problem.

Drive Belt And/Or Drive Pulley

The drive belt and pulley are the most susceptible parts of the washing machine for damage due to wear. The drive belt is connected to the motor and the drum, if it becomes worn it can stretch and slip or even begin to shred. Any of those faults could potentially cause the machine to make a grinding noise.

The pulley could become so worn that bits start to break off which could also account for the grinding noise. It is possible to replace these components yourself if you are competent enough but we recommend calling an engineer.

Agitator Dogs

Just like the drive belts and pulleys, the small parts that make up the agitator dogs on a top loader washing machine can break through constant use over time. The agitator dogs allow the washing to move around in the tub, if they begin to break down the movement will cause the agitator to rub as it moves. Which could cause the agitator to make a grinding sound when operating. 

The Clutch

Again in top loaders the clutch assembly connects the transmission to the inner tub. Allowing the tub to reach the correct spin speed during the wash cycle. If the clutch is worn it could produce a grinding sound.


If the drum bearing is worn, it could cause the drum to make a grinding noise. If it is the bearing we recommend calling an engineer to fix it.

U-Joint Fails

The u-joint is part of a top loader washing machine and can be the most expensive part to fix if it fails. In many cases the u-joint will cost more to repair/replace than the cost of a new machine. It entails dismantling most of a top loading washing machine to even inspect a u-joint which is where some of the cost is incurred.

How To Tell Which Part Is At Fault

It can be incredibly difficult to determine which part is causing the fault as the grinding sound is pretty similar with all of the above faults. Even if you think you could fix it yourself, you’ll probably need an engineer to correctly diagnose where the fault is. We would suggest checking the easy things yourself, things like the drum, seal and pump. If none of these are causing the problem you’ll probably be best to call in an engineer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my washer making a scraping noise when washing?

If your washer is making a scraping noise when washing, it could be the pump has a foreign body stuck in the filter which is scraping on the impeller. Or there could be something stuck in the drum scraping on the machine’s body, something like a screw, nail, or bra wire.

What does it sound like when washing machine bearings have gone?

When the washing machine bearings have gone it sounds like something rumbling.

Why does my washing machine sound like metal grinding?

If your washing machine sounds like metal grinding, it’s most likely to be a worn out drum bearing, a broken drive pulley or the drive belt is worn.

Why is my washing machine making a loud noise when it spins?

If your washing machine is making a loud noise when it’s spinning, it could be something has poked through one of the holes in the drum and is scratching on the machine’s body. Or something is blocking the pump filter. Alternatively, it could be something like a coin, screw, nail, stone or even a bra wire loose in the drum.

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