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Has your washing machine glass door shattered?

Exploding washing machine

Which? Convo community members have helped us uncover hundreds of cases of exploding washing machines. We’ve now talked with experts to find out why this is happening.

We first covered exploding washing machine glass doors on Which? Conversation in 2012, and the response was overwhelming. Almost 100 different commenters reported that their machine’s door had shattered.

Combining those comments with reports from a variety of other sources, we were able to unearth 280 reports of washing machine, washer-dryer or tumble dryer glass doors cracking or shattering.

Most interestingly, 41% of the reports we uncovered were about Beko machines, much higher than Beko’s market share (between 10% and 20%). You can read more about this in our online news story, with in-depth analysis in the May issue of Which? magazine.

‘280’ might be a tiny number compared with the tens of millions of washing machines in UK homes, but the potential danger posed by a shattering glass door is huge. And for those whose machines have exploded, it can be a traumatic experience. Rhona told us:

The stories that washing machine owners shared with us were crucial to our research – so please do continue to share them, as we want to keep investigating this issue.

Why washing machine doors explode

There’s no single clear and obvious reason why these glass doors are shattering. We’ve talked to several experienced repairers, who all agreed that it’s likely to be a combination of factors.

Hard items left in the wash, such as coins, belt buckles or even metal buttons, can hit the glass door at high speed and weaken it over time. The advice here is to put items which have metal parts in a laundry bag before adding them to the wash.

Over-filling the machine can also put excessive pressure on the glass door, with Which? Trusted Trader Chris Talabi telling us: ‘A good rule of thumb is that when you close the door, the clothes should fill up two-thirds of the porthole’.

And under-filling could be part of the problem too. Neil Howieson, secretary of the national trade association for domestic appliance repairers (DASA), told us:

‘Some people tend to wash large or heavy items such as bath mats and large towels on their own. These types of items are extremely heavy once wet. Without other items in the drum to balance them out, the machine might not work as it should.’

Changes to washing machines may also be a factor. Washing machine doors have tended to get larger in recent years, which not only means they’re more prone to being hit, but the larger surface area can make the glass more likely to break. Higher spin speeds can also cause items to hit the door with greater impact. Chris Talabi doesn’t use his machine at anything above 1,200rpm, for example.

Then there’s the fact that washing machines are cheaper than ever, which could have affected the quality of glass doors. However, without testing old doors against newer ones, we can’t be sure about that.

What can be done about exploding machines?

Unfortunately, solving this problem isn’t as simple as making unbreakable glass doors.

One possible solution that several repairers suggested was for manufacturers to add a plastic layer to the door, which will keep glass in the machine if it explodes. Bosch, LG, Miele, Samsung and Siemens have introduced this on some of their newer models and we believe that other brands should consider doing the same.

And there’s another solution which would be even safer – eliminate the door altogether. Old-style top-loading washing machines – which have a hatch in the top of the machine instead of a glass door – have been the norm for years in the USA. Could they become more widespread here? The repairers we spoke to didn’t think so, and the top-loading models we’ve reviewed have tended to be unimpressive.

Would you be more likely to buy a washing machine if it had a plastic cover over the glass window? And would you consider buying one without a window at all?

To keep informed on safety issues, we recommend you register appliances for free on registermyappliance.org.uk. It’s run by the manufacturers trade body, Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances.

Comments

Hello All who have replied to my posts re exploding washing machine door. I am still trying to prove my point to Samsung. I agree with you John and Duncan when you say that maybe Samsung personnel in India are insensitive. How right you are! Here it becomes an ego issue for the company. Samsung workers HAVE to be LOYAL to the company….or else they may be shown the door!! SO, they send out so called engineers to inspect the damage WHO WALTZ INTO YOUR HOME WITH I PHONES PLUGGED INTO EACH EAR and try to look intellegent. But by studying their attitude one can tell they just need to submit A report…as there are “so many” they need to get through each day. One engineer even asked me ” was it on all night!!” I reminded him that we were actually discussing a washing machine and NOT an AC!! These are all people from call centres.
However, two Samsung personnel from Kolkata, who seemed to be more humane, have decided to pay me a visit. This was after I took the trouble of tracking down the office to visit them What they cannot get through their heads is that IT DOES HAPPEN. As they have not come across this phenomenon ( considering the fact less numbers of front loaders sold on the Indian sub continent as compared to the West….. hence less incidents and even less experience) they just cannot get it round their heads. Therefore, I become the person to have broken it. They have agreed to even change the door…. but there is glass fragments on the washer which I can see!!! All will be revealed in a couple of hours when the two MEN come to give me their verdict.
My stand is unless they replace it…I would much sooner buy one rather than have the door replaced free of cost. Samsung either acknowledges or…….

As for giving me the COSMETIC theory, I did tell the CEO’s office they may go blue in the face saying it’s cosmetic before anybody who has has any understanding of the term COSMETIC will ever agree with them. ALL HINGES ON TODAY’S REPORT.
WILL POST AGAIN.

Indira – I did not say that Samsung’s Indian personnel were “insensitive” [although they might be for all I know], but they were “incentivised” – that is, paid a bonus or some other inducement to fend off claims against the company. Anyway, I am glad you seem to be making progress.

hello all who have replied to me re w machine.
2 people are coming to see damage.
will write again

THE VERDICT
Engineers who came from Samsung were quite unbiased and helpful. As it is not within their power to replace it ( for whatever reason) and they cannot understand or acknowledge JUST WHY AND HOW.. they will cart it back to their work shop and work at it. Examine it. If nothing found to warrant a replacement…( actually functionally there is nothing wrong with the way it washes, spins etc) the glass door will be replaced free of cost, the drum will be cleaned , washer cleaned and then returned. All free of cost. The only redeeming feature and the reason why I agreed to go ahead with their suggestion…I personally know the technician turned engineer and a kind person from Samsung who has taken charge of the whole issue . They seem to be customer oriented. There were 3 of them and they actually tested the machine, running it through small cycles without letting it fill with water, with the top cover off checking for some vital points. Now time alone will tell. But I MOST CERTAINLY FEEL GOOD.
Now I will get back to the CEO and compose a letter as regards COSMETIC etc etc…will give it great thought and take my time with it.
Good to have been friends over this issue. Now I know where to seek advice and grumble without being seen!!
Will keep you posted on its return and performance.

LC Coggins says:
14 July 2017

I have read all your posts on this and find it all quite interesting. I’m in US; My 8 month old Samsung dryer door cracked during a sheet drying cycle and after ‘evaluation’ by a ‘certified technician’ it was deemed that my dryer door was broken due to ‘physical damage’ and the repair would not be covered by my warranty. I’m writing letters and trying to reach anyone with the authority to override this decision, without luck. I feel like I’m being called a liar and accused of misusing the appliance. I find the whole situation telling about the company practices and I will surely be sharing my story with anyone willing to listen…DO NOT BUY SAMSUNG.

Indira says:
19 November 2016

Ah John……I misread it. But they are both. Most of them anyway. And yes……bonus is a big thing in India.
Sorry for misinterpreting and not reading it properly.

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I’m still waiting for a time frame… machine collecting time. Time is a meaningless word for some…. wish they lived by…..
….” but I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep….”
Who’s the poet? Need to google.

machine collected. now the waiting game begins i think.

Hi all, my washing machine door has just exploded rather spectacularly. The machine was on and spinning. Luckily the machine is located in the garage which was uninhabited at the time. Our clothes are completely ruined as is the drum by the looks of it. I have contacted beko for a full refund and compensation for all the clothes that we have to throw out( including my sons school uniform).
The machine is approximately 12 months old, Beko eco wmb 81445 lw, i think.
We are understandably furious.

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Part of the reason why Beko’s name crops up so frequently is that they sell a lot of washing machines. It would be interesting to establish the failure rate for different brands. The problem seems to occur with most or all brands and I think it’s time to stop making washing machines with glass doors.

There is a tally of reported cases of door breakage on the whitegoodshelp website, plus some photos showing the differences in breakage pattern, showing that different types of glass are in use: http://www.whitegoodshelp.co.uk/washing-machine-door-glass-danger/

Hello Martin, it is a horrible experience… I cannot for the life of me understand why glass doors have not been banned yet. I would be interested to know what their reaction is to the full refund and compensation!!!
As for my Samsung front load…. I am still waiting for it to be sent back from the workshop after repair. They promise that they would have tried out a cycle to make sure it works ok…. but I am just plain scared. It is supposed to come back to me by Thursday latest. I have more or less decided that I will then exchange it for a top load. What I cannot decide is ..which brand.

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Duncan the machine was given back to me yesterday. Checked by running it on a 15 minute cycle. checked the gasket to see if it has been cleaned of any splinters etc. They have actually cleaned the inside. The load that came out washed looks and feels ok. I did actually make a BIG thing about going international with this issue….so Samsung Kolkata is a bit wary.
However ..the LG that you mentioned. I was actually toying with the idea of cutting my losses and buying a top load till the day before yesterday. I still feel that is what I should do…and in all probability, will do in a month’s time or thereabouts. Yes, LG do have an outlet here….but sadly Duncan , the service where I have chosen to come back to, after 42 years in UK, will be the same I’m afraid. BUT, a top load will be a better option.

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Thanks for reporting back, Indira. Glass breakage is not common and you would be very unlucky to have the problem twice. I just wish that the manufacturers would get rid of glass doors.

Thanks for your note Duncan…will keep you posted should(GOD FORBID) I’m struck down with shards glass yet again.

As further reassurance in case Samsung have missed anything and there are tiny fragments of glass remaining in your washing machine you could try vacuuming out the interior at the highest power possible on your vaccuum cleaner and then you could do a spin rinse with an unwanted towel or bath mat and discard it [wear gloves when you remove it].

It is likely that any remaining small glass fragments will have collected in the filter after a wash. Suggest cleaning it.

Wavechange, I’m with you in …”get rid of glass doors”!!! . Well, as they say lightning does not strike twice!

Rebecca-Lynn says:
9 December 2016

I purchased a Samsung Super Speed Steam VRT front loader washer on 11/26/2014 through Lowe’s. On 11/25/2016 I was washing a full size top sheet and fitted sheet, after about 30 minutes I went to transfer load to the drier and realized that the glass door had imploded , shattering leaving glass inside the drum as well as the remaining glass that was shard hanging from the door. I called to make a safety complaint and well to get my machine fixed. It has now been two weeks and they are still trying to figure out how to rectify the situation. I also filed a safety complaint with the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. This is a poor design that has the potential of causing harm. This should not be ignored.

my Frigidaire front loading washer glass door exploded two days before Christmas. I had towels in the drum. I was wondering if this is a common thing, and possibly a default in the glass? My machine is about 5 years old.

My hotpoint ulitma washer dryer glass door has cracked. lucky it hasnt exploded. It is out of warranty and ive only bought it in march last year.. I am waiting for hotpoint to call me back.

Hi, I’m just about to contact Hotpoint regarding the glass door on our Smart Tech 742g. The door exploded yesterday (2nd January) without any reason. The machine was on a spin cycle and was only 3/4 loaded with some t-shirts etc. No jeans and nothing with a zip or buckle. The glass shards covered the kitchen floor and even the worktops, as well as the clothing inside the machine. Larger pieces of glass had been fired with such force that there are visible dents on the inside of the machines drum !!!!
I have no doubt that serious injury would have occurred if anyone had been in the kitchen at the time.
The machine was purchased new on the 3rd October 2016 from Currys Online.
My intention is to contact Hotpoint to have the machine replaced under warranty as I believe there are shards of glass which will have been embedded in the machine and also to compensate for the clothing.

Failing their agreement I will contact Currys Online to seek a refund and compensation under my Consumer Rights. Ultimately, my contract for supply was with Currys Online and it was them who received payment for the item. I have checked on their website and it is clear that they act as a “retailer” of these items and NOT as an “agent” for the manufacturer.

I will update the progress.

My hotpoint washing machine door also exploded yesterday sending shards of glass everywhere. This could have caused serious injury. I have spoken to hotpoint today and they will only send an engineer out if I pay for it! It is out of its 1 year warrantee but surely hotpoint should repair such faults themselves?

Darren says:
31 January 2017

My Hotpoint WMXTF742GUK washing machine glass door blew up today sending glass actually into the adjacent wall some 6 foot away. It is 18 months old.
Hotpoint said it’s out of warranty and want £110 to send an engineer. Their service is abysmal and the call centre staff have no desire to help.
The machine kept in full spin after the blow out which sent more glass flying.
Somebody will end up dead if Hotpoint fail to address this.

I have passed a link to this Convo to BSI who have already looked at it, copied it to another organisation and will consider it at a meeting later next month.

Our Beko WMB91442LW washing machine glass door has just exploded this morning. We were shopping and our daughter was at home and just as the cycle was coming to the end on the cycle my daughter said there was an almighty sound of breaking glass so she ran in the kitchen to see the glass on the front of the machine was all over the floor