how to balance washing machine drum

How to Balance a Washing Machine Drum

If your washing machine is banging and clanging throughout the washing cycle and doing its best to get a dance party going in your kitchen, the drum may be unbalanced.

Below, we’re going to look at how to balance a washing machine drum correctly and some situations that can greatly improve the performance of your washing machine each time you use it.

Washing machine drums are balanced at the factory. They have counterweights on them that are fitted to ensure that the drum can spin freely and isn’t heavier on one side or the other.

While there is a chance that one of these counterweights may have broken loose and is rattling around in the drum, the issue is usually easier to solve.


How to Tell If Your Washing Machine Drum Is Unbalanced

Washing Machine Drum Banging - Causes and Solutions

A tell-tale sign of a washing machine drum that isn’t balanced is a lot of noise during use. If the washing machine is moving around a lot and making more noise than normal, this could be caused by an unbalanced drum.

It can also be caused by an unlevel washing machine. If your machine isn’t level, this can cause the washing machine to move around during use and make some noise as the drum is trying to counteract the movement of the machine itself. Checking the levelling feet may solve the issue.


Causes of an Unbalanced Washing Machine Drum

overloaded washing machine

If the washing machine itself is level on the floor, the issue is likely to be one of the causes below:

  • The drum is overloaded
  • Washing heavy items
  • Clothes are tangled together
  • Counterweight has become detached
  • Motor drive/belt issue

In most cases, a washing machine drum seeming unbalanced is due to an unbalanced load rather than an issue with the machine itself.

If you put heavy items on one side of the machine when you are loading it, this can cause the machine to become unbalanced during the cycles.

wash cycle in washing machine

If the load is very heavy, with lots of towels or a duvet, for example, this can cause the machine to act as though it is unbalanced.

Now, most modern machines try and solve these issues automatically during the wash. Periodically during the washing and drying cycle, the machine will stop and turn in the opposite direction several times.

This is an attempt to reorganise the clothes inside the drum and balance the load. If the load is very heavy, or the clothes have become tangled during the wash, this may not work, and the load may still be unbalanced.


How to Solve Balance Issues with Your Washing Machine

washing machine and laundry baskets

If you suspect that the balance issues of your washing machine are caused by the load of washing, try not to overload the washing machine.

If you intend to wash a lot of heavy items, consider doing them in a couple of washes rather than in one go.

If you have a single very heavy item you need to wash, ensure you add additional clothing to act as a counterweight if possible.

If your clothes are becoming tangled during the washing cycle, you can stop the cycle and separate them. Or try washing clothing items that are prone to tangling separately.


What If It’s a Mechanical Issue?

washing machine weight

If you can hear something metallic moving around and bashing into the drum (that doesn’t sound like the tell-tale zip of a jacket or jeans), then one of the counterweights that balance the drum may have become dislodged.

If this is the case, you may be able to take the panels off of the washing machine, find the missing weight and put it back in place.

However, if the problem persists, you’ll want to hire a washing machine repair specialist to come and take a look.

This is quite a complex task to do yourself and may involve rebalancing the washing machine drum.

If the drive belt is the issue, you will likely notice that the washing machine isn’t cleaning your clothes correctly.

You may even hear the drive motor trying to spin the drum, but the drum not spinning.

If this is the case, the drive belt will need some investigating. Thankfully, we have an article on locating and replacing the drive belt of your washing machine that can really help here.


In Conclusion

washing machine drum with clothes inside

We hope this look at balancing a washing machine drum has been helpful. In most cases, it is an uneven load in the drum that causes the imbalance.

If you do a lot of washes with uneven loads, you may cause further damage to your machine. So, always try and load your washing machine as evenly as possible.

For more tips and tricks about washing machines just like this one, please explore In The Wash further. We have lots of articles detailing common issues with washing machines and how to resolve them.

We also have lists of the best washing machines available in the UK if your old washing machine is beyond repair.