Why Your Washing Machines Doesn’t Rinse Properly

If your washing machine fails to rinse your laundry properly it can be problematic. Especially if you or a family member has sensitive skin or skin allergies.

If you’ve noticed that your clothes are leaving the machine still covered in soap suds, there’s something wrong. In many cases, this is down to human error or a lack of maintenance of your washer, which we will look at in a minute.

However, sometimes, the problem is beyond our control, so keep reading to find out more.

Why Isn’t My Washing Machine Rinsing Properly?

There are several things that could cause your washer to fail to rinse properly which include;

Probable CauseSolution
Overloaded DrumAlways ensure the drum is never more than ¾ full of laundry
Incorrect Cycle SelectedAlways select the best and most suitable cycle for the wash load
Too Much Detergent UsedOnly ever use the correct amount of detergent
Clogged FilterEnsure you remove and clean the filter every two weeks
Blocked Drain HoseInspect the drain hose and remove any twists, kinks or blockages
Defective Water Inlet ValveCheck and replace the water inlet valve if necessary
Malfunctioning Control BoardPerform a reset, contact a technician

Let’s take a closer look at these issues;

Overloaded Drum

large load in drum illustration

It can be tempting when you have a large wash pile to cram as much into the drum as you can to get it all done at once. There are a few problems with this approach however, which include;

  • Adding too much weight to the drum can cause mechanical damage to the washer
  • Some items might not get washed at all
  • Some items might not get wet at all
  • With so much in the drum, the load won’t get rinsed correctly.

It is recommended that the drum on a washing machine should only ever be filled no more than ¾ of its capacity. So an 8 kg washer should have no more than 6 kg of dry laundry put in the drum at any one time.

Adhering to these guidelines, will ensure that your garments get washed and rinsed correctly. As well as ensuring that your appliance runs without undue pressure for longer.

Incorrect Cycle Selected

It’s easy to fall into the habit of always using the same wash cycle no matter what you’re washing. We all have hundreds of things that need doing on a daily basis which keeps us distracted from concentrating on mundane things like wash cycles.

However, not all clothes will fare well using certain cycles or settings. You should check the wash care label on your laundry and wash them accordingly.

Failure to follow the wash care label’s advice could lead to your clothes becoming damaged, not washed correctly or not sufficiently rinsed.

Too Much Detergent Used

Using the wrong amount of detergent can cause problems with your wash load. For instance, not using enough detergent can cause the stains and dirt in your clothes to remain even after the cycle has completed.

However, overdosing with detergent is most likely to cause the washing to not rinse correctly. You then jump to the conclusion that there’s something wrong with the appliance.

When the actual problem is too much detergent used which doesn’t get washed away during the rinse cycle. You need to ensure that you’re familiar with the dosage instructions on the detergent’s packaging and use accordingly.

Clogged Filter

Washing Machine Filter

Your washing machine has a filter which is designed to trap any stray items like; coins, keys, hair pins, felt, threads, etc and prevent them from damaging the drain pump. This filter should ideally be removed and cleaned every two weeks.

If not, it can clog which prevents water from flowing properly and can lead to your clothes not getting rinsed correctly. Consult your handbook for the location of the filter on your washer. 

Once located, simply remove the filter and wash it under a fast running tap to remove any debris that has accumulated. Then get into the habit of cleaning the filter on a regular basis.

Blocked Drain Hose

washing machine drain hose

If the drain hose becomes blocked, it will prevent waste water from leaving the appliance or at least restrict the flow rate. This can lead to soap scum being deposited onto your clean washing as the water struggles to drain away.

You will need to check the drain hose for any twists or kinks which could be causing the blockage or partial blockage. Straighten any that you find.

Your washer’s drain hose might not have any twists or kinks but that doesn’t mean the actual hose doesn’t have a blockage. You may need to run a plumber’s snake through the hose to remove any blockages.

Defective Water Inlet Valve

The water inlet valve regulates the flow of water into the machine. It receives messages from the control board when to open and when to close.

In some cases all you need to do is check the inlet hose for twists or kinks and simply straighten them out to solve this issue. Or, it could be that the inlet tap hasn’t been opened fully which is another easy one to solve.

However, it is often a faulty inlet valve that is the issue and this will need checking for continuity using a multimeter and replacing if it proves to be defective. Unless you’re confident in your DIY abilities, I recommend getting a technician to do this for you.

Malfunctioning Control Board

The control board manages every function and component on your washing machine. Sometimes due to an electrical glitch or software error, the control board can malfunction.

Perform A Reset

If this is the cause of the washer failing to rinse properly or at all, you can try to reset the appliance. To do this all you need to do is disconnect the power supply for 10 to 15 minutes to allow any residual power to discharge.

Once the time has passed, all you need to do is reconnect the power and the appliance should have reset to factory settings. If the problem was caused by a software error or electrical glitch, it should now function normally again.

Contact A Technician

If the reset doesn’t work, it’s time to contact a technician to investigate the control board and probably replace it. Control boards are delicate and expensive pieces of equipment which is why I recommend getting a technician to investigate and replace it for you.

What Else Could Cause Poor Rinsing In Your Washing Machine?

A person putting clothes into a washing machine

If there is no actual physical or mechanical reason why your washer isn’t rinsing correctly, what else could be causing it? Well, in a recent survey, over 100 washing machines were tested and 60% of them received a poor rating for rinsing.

With only 3% given a good rinsing rating and the other 47% given a satisfactory rating. Of the 3% given a good rating for rinsing, they all had other issues including; Louder than average spin cycles, and poor reliability (as a brand).

Why Are Washing Machines Not Rinsing Properly?

laundry room with pile of clothes

It should be one of the basic functions of any washing machine to rinse properly. Let’s face it a washing machine has three main functions which are to;

  1. Wash your laundry
  2. Rinse your washed laundry
  3. Spin the rinsed laundry to remove as much water as possible

And yet around 60% are not managing to achieve all three of these functions properly. So what’s going wrong? I suspect that with all of the emphasis on energy efficiency and water efficiency, rinsing has had to take a knock.

Modern washers use less water to wash and rinse than they ever have before. This is because all of the major brands are competing for sales and energy and water efficiency are considered to be the most important factors nowadays.

The problem with this though, is that if the clothes are not getting a good enough rinse the first time around, you’ll need to run an extra rinse cycle which then messes with their efficiency figures. However, that doesn’t matter because you’ve already bought the appliance by then.

Plus with modern detergents able to get laundry clean at lower temperatures and using less water there’s no mention of rinsing which is clearly lacking. Unfortunately, rinsing laundry properly takes a lot of water. Which is currently at odds with environmental concerns which dictate that a washer needs to use less water.

Washing Machine Rating System

Then there’s the rating system or “eco rating” used to identify the performance of a modern washer. Modern washers are not rated for their rinsing ability or performance.

They are rated on their energy and water efficiency and the efficiency of the spin cycle.  So it seems that all that matters is that the appliance isn’t using too much electricity or water and leaves clothes relatively dry. 

The fact that the clothes might still have lots of detergent left in them doesn’t seem to matter. However, it does matter if you or a member of your household has sensitive skin.

Sadly at the time of writing this piece, there is absolutely no way of knowing just how well a washing machine will rinse laundry. If you find that your new washer doesn’t rinse your clothes as well as you would like, your only course of action is to run another rinse cycle.

SEE ALSO: What Is Rinse And Spin On A Washing Machine?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why doesn’t my washing machine rinse properly?

If your washing machine doesn’t rinse properly it could be because; the drum is overloaded, you have selected an incorrect cycle, you have used too much detergent, the filter is clogged, the drain hose is blocked, the inlet valve is defective or the control board has malfunctioned.

Do washing machines rinse properly?

In many cases modern washing machines don’t seem to rinse as well as they should. This is often caused because the manufacturers have reduced the amount of water used during a typical wash cycle.

How many times does a washing machine rinse?

An automatic washing machine tends to have two short rinse cycles on a normal setting.

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