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More exploding washing machines?

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the kitchen, it seems that some washing machine doors may be falling out or exploding, leaving kitchens covered in shards of glass. Has this happened to you?

This is not the same issue as the exploding Candy washing machines we reported last year. That was due to a fault with some Hoover/Candy machines produced before September 2009, which could result in the drum breaking loose while spinning.

The problem I’m talking about today is the door on washing machines, and the glass within, apparently falling out or shattering. And some reports claim that the machine wasn’t even in use at the time!

Washing machine glass door danger?

The forum Whitegoodshelp, run by washing machine guru Andy Trigg, has been collecting stories from those who say they’ve been affected. Joanne told him:

‘Bought a Beko washing machine less than two months ago and 20 mins ago the glass shattered. It was on a final spin and sent the shards of glass all over the kitchen floor and the clothes inside are covered in VERY SHARP pieces.’

An anonymous poster added their own horror story:

‘My Miele W3740 washing machine glass door suddenly exploded shedding shattered glass and water around the room. The machine cost £700 and is only twenty months old so still within guarantee.’

There are now almost 50 cases reported on the forum and it seems the reported problems are not confined to one manufacturer. In fact, the list includes Beko, Miele, Zanussi, Bosch, Hoover, LG and Samsung.

And of the cases reported so far, twelve are apparently about washing machines that weren’t in use at the time. Gary shares his story:

‘My Meile W1613 had been unused for a few days when a “bang” was heard. On inspection the inner glass door had exploded. Just to clarify: it was not in use at the time.’

So what seems to be going on?

This hasn’t happened to any washing machines during our lab tests, so we have been unable to observe it in laboratory conditions and follow up with a proper analysis. But going through the accounts on Andy’s forum, there are theories ranging from hair cracks in the glass, or even that the glass is just thinner than it used to be. Still, nothing has been confirmed.

It has also been suggested by a manufacturer that initial scratches on the glass could be caused by hard items like zip ends and belt buckles striking the door during the wash.

We’ve contacted the manufacturers, and they’re looking into the problem. Beko, whose machines have generated the largest number of incidents on the Whitegoodshelp forum, has responded by saying:

‘Whilst we have no reason to believe that there is a fault with our washing machine range, we are investigating these incidents in full and always take such matters seriously. If customers have any questions, they can call our Customer Service number on 0800 009 4837 for further information.’

Has your glass washing machine door fallen out or exploded? If so, let us know in the comments below, and if you’ve taken any pictures, please email them to us at HomeEditor@which.co.uk.

Comments

I have a hotpoint ultima WMUD 962 machine. The glass door exploded mid wash, narrowly missing my son and in the process continuing to spin and ripping all the clothes in the machine. I had to turn the mains off to stop it. Hotpoint/Indesit have been useless. They refused to acknowledge it on the phone so I took to Twitter and sent an email. Twitter passed it on to a relevant team. They offered to repair the door for a reduced price of £84.99, I have told them the glass has gone through the holes in the drum, through the pipes and filter etc. Would they be willing to overall the hole machine fitting all those parts or replacing the machine if it’s not economically repairable. They are passing it on to yet another team. They have said that it’s my fault it happened. It’s caused over 120 in damages to clothes including school uniform that’s not cheap in the slightest. Will update if they ever get back to me. And it’s also costing me an arm and a leg to go to a laundrette, a shop you don’t tend to see around anymore. And as I don’t drive it’s been a nightmare esp with three children and working full time!

I have a Beco washing machine model excellence WMB81241LB which is only 3 years old and the door exploded the other night sending glass flying all over the place thankfully no one was in the room at the time. I tried phoning the company I purchased it from and there was no answer after 15 minutes so I decided to phone Beco direct the guy on the other end of the phone was very nice and polite but all he wanted me to do is take out a 12 month warranty to cover repairs. But what about all the clothes that are shredded and glass falling through the holes in the machine surely there’s no way all that glass would be found in the drum. I’m not sure what to do so any advice would be appreciated

My haier washing machine door exploded and shards of glass got embedded into the wall 2.5m away at 1.6m high AND it DID NOT MISS my MAN just getting over the shock !!!!

mrs pajones says:
4 January 2018

my BEKO 6167W glass in door exploded on Monday 01/01/2018 such a shock was not told this was common fault

I suspect that anyone who has suffered a door glass explosion would be interested in a machine without a glass door, but I have not seen any machines without one and the size of glass doors seems to be increasing.

My suggestion is to avoid using the machine at the highest spin speed because glass breakage was almost unheard of before washing machines with high spin speeds were introduced. It’s also worth checking pockets for coins etc that could cause damage to the glass and other parts.

janet says:
18 January 2018

My beko just exploded glass went everywhere am going back to where it purchased it less than a year old

My sons beko washing machine door exploded, glass every where, his baby son was in the room narrowly avoided injury, as machine bought through brighthouse and agreement has ended, beko said it was brighthouses problem not theirs, simply not true after a year of purchase it is the manufacturer who needs to look at this.
It is unacceptable that when an appliance is dangerous the makers just shrug their shoulders, as if the consumer is expected to risk life and limb, I also had a beko once and the drum dropped out of it and exploded, embedding shards of metal into my kitchen wall, never again!

It is the retailer that is responsible for dealing with problems during the guarantee period or for claims under the Consumer Rights Act (for six years after purchase in England). Beko have no responsibility for any claim, as they have made clear.

Where there is a safety issue it is always worth informing the manufacturer and if there is a problem with that model they should issue a safety notice or recall. The problem is that washing machine door glass breakage is not common and occurs with a wide range of makes. In addition, it can be caused by misuse – for example coins left in pockets.

The obvious solution is to get rid of glass doors, but they seem to be getting bigger. 🙁 There are a few expensive machines with a protective shield in front of the door glass.

Well today this happened to us. We had a wash on and while in a different room a strange noise came from the kitchen. My wife went to investigate, when she looked at the washing machine it made another noise which made her step back then boom. The whole glass door exploded all over the kitchen and the clothes inside. With a very nosey dog and two five years olds in the house wanting to see what’s going on we had to clear things up (after a few photos were taken). I called Beco to find out what they will do about this and after a whole load of questions we have an engineer coming out the week after we get back from our holiday to investigate. The unit is six years old and I won’t be having the its out of warranty conversation with them because if any glass had hit a member of my family we would be having a very different conversation. We have all the clothes in a bag so if they wish to see these they can as I would like to get them replaced as they can’t be worn and would like the washing machine fixed as it works really well and fits our family requirements. Has anyone had issues getting their unit repaired and clothes replaced?

I have a candy grand vita .. today my washing machine was on it went into spin and the door exploded … luckily me and my two children had just walked out of the kitchen … unluckily it has shredded everything that was in the machine I’ve tried to contact candy/hoover been on the phone 1 call 30 mins then got cut off second phone call 40 mins then got cut off I’m on my third phone call and 3rd email I’m fuming

My BEKO washer door exploded last week, a piece of glass hit my 5 year old in the face, luckily she was not hurt but it did scare the living daylights out of her. We purchased it on 7.11.14, so it is obviously out of warranty, but I contacted BEKO as this is a SAFETY ISSUE and therefore NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE in my opinion. However making that point to BEKO customer services was not an easy task.

The first 30 minute call (of which 20 were spent on hold)- I had to try remember where I bought the product and on which date as it was now out of warranty. I had registered it when bought, but it looks like their system wipes out-of-warranty purchases. So we had a guess at the date and retailer, and the lady said she would get an engineer booked to come out to me- I should receive a call within 24h.

I received the call 20 hours later – great I thought! The lady booked their engineer to come 4 days later, and she said: and i quote; ‘In jobs like this we would not try to fix it, it would be a replacement, I will get the engineer out to you on tuesday, in the meanwhile can you tape some cardboard over the front to make it safe’
I asked if it was ok to disconnect and put it outside instead – she agreed. I also mentioned that when i was cleaning the glass up I ended up with a cut on my nose that bled a lot – I wanted this to be added to the report.
I presumed the person calling was from BEKO – turns out not. As I found out on Tuesday when the engineer turned up; with a clipboard, a piece of cardboard and a roll of masking tape.

I showed him where the washer was going and he looked puzzled. He had come to tape it up (already taken care of), and take a photo – obviously done too. The washer had kept spinning and shredded gashes in most of the clothes as they flew out of the washer as speed- along with the tiny fine shards of glass the were sprayed all over the kitchen. The clothes destroyed cost nearly £300. I had logged this with BEKO but they don’t seem to give a stuff about people or their belongings.

After 4 calls and a lot of hassle later, they said someone else would call me back to arrange a replacement ( but I had to threaten them with court action!) NO ONE CALLED BACK – so on my 5th call, I was given an ‘ Approved Manufacturers Replacement Code (known in the retail world as an ‘uplift code’)..

I then had to go to the retailer – explain it all again, The guy at Appliances Direct was helpful and he spoke to the sales director, emailed him the code, and I am now awaiting a call from them. In the meanwhile – I have now done 16 loads of washing at my mums in 10 days – and its a huge inconvenience! I will be pursuing compensation for the shredded clothes too.

I Will update once I have anything more to tell. In the meanwhile – I WILL NEVER BUY BEKO AGAIN!

This is obviously a fairly common problem – as I’ve found 300 cases reported, and around 40% are supposedly BEKO.

Hannah Bamforth
Huddersfield

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Irrespective of whether or not Beko is a budget brand, it should not sell products that can endanger life and limb.

Given the not uncommon instances of dangerous events involving broken glass washing machine doors, there is obvious scope for improvement.

I don’t think blaming users for obvious errors like failing to remove metal objects is good enough.

I think safe products need to be “fault tolerant” to such anticipated operational occurrences.

Oops – the spiking chucker just “corrected” Beko to Belong 🙁

Fixed that for you Derek 🙂

Thanks 🙂

Claire says:
11 June 2020

We had a Hoover washing machine that doing a cycle on it’s final spin the door exploded narrowly missing my Mum’s legs.

Maggie Gilbert says:
13 December 2021

My Beko washing machine door exploded during its spin cycle and the glass went all over the kitchen, just missing a child, and slashed some of the washing in the machine. I complained to Beko and sent them a photo of the door and clothes. I then went ahead and got a new Miele machine hoping it won’t happen again. Beko are refusing to compensate me £50 for the slashed clothes, the only recompense I am asking for, because I have not kept the machine for them to inspect. Why would I keep a machine with dangerous smashed glass in my kitchen for an unknown period, especially with grand children visiting? Beko had not said that I needed to keep the machine in an early email, they just asked for a photo.

Hi Maggie – Unless the machine was within the manufacturer’s guarantee period or you had bought it direct from the company you would not have any valid claim, although I would have hoped for a goodwill payment. Was there any indication that you would receive compensation if you supplied photos? If not it might be best to put the incident behind you and hope that you never have a problem again.

Your door failed during the spin cycle, when the drum was rotating at the maximum speed. Doors do not break very often but when it happens it is usually during the spin cycle. If you can avoid using the maximum spin speed you could prolong the life of the machine and possibly reduce the risk of glass breakage.

Beko were reported by Which? a few years ago to have had the greatest incidence of glass door moulding breakages. I have seen no investigation into why – is the quality defective?

Uncommon problems that very rarely cause injury don’t tend to be investigated. I would like to see the reasons why tumble dryers and washing machines cause home fires but I am not aware of any major enquiry to investigate the cause and what could be done to tackle the problem.

It was encouraging to learn in another Conversation that Bosch is currently producing at least one washing machine with a plastic guard, which could provide protection for children and others. Simply getting rid of the glass door would eliminate the risk.

I think the problem of dangerous washing machine door glasses is a cultural problem as well as technical, we’ve become accustomed to watching the washing going round and round in the machines, especially when we’re little and it’s become widely accepted and expected and a selling point which customers have come to expect. But perhaps we now need a change to something different. And I think this is also an issue about which loads of people who use washing machines should get writing to their MP’s about and start demanding an investigation and action as it’s a deadly serious safety issue just like the plastic backs on freezers which catch fire, and those dangerous tumble driers which catch fire too.

I think after reading so many dreadful stories on here the government, or at least trading standards, or maybe the health & safety executive should be stepping in and investigating these appallingly dangerous failures as by the sound of it someone, and quite possibly someone’s extremely precious little child could be seriously badly hurt and possibly left disfigured or disabled etc. or perish the thought even KILLED if the glass hit them in the throat, and then whose fault will it be? and who would be liable? It would make an interesting court case wouldn’t it?! Whatever is causing these outrageous accidents MUST be investigated by someone in authority BEFORE anyone gets seriously injured. I think it’s happened too many times now to be ignored any further.

I have tried in vain to find a standard that applies to the glass mouldings used in w/m doors. But that is where we should start then it can be referred to in regulations. Glass mouldings can be strengthened to resist impact by, for example, toughening soda lime glass thermally – difficult to achieve fully – or a low expansion borosilicate thick moulding. It would be interesting to know what manufacturers use.

It is easy to distinguish tempered (thermally toughened) glass from ordinary soda glass or borosilicate glass using a polariscope: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBlsNNPRseQ A DIY polariscope can be made with a pair of polarising camera filters or even improvised from an old pair of polarising sunglasses. This reveals the hidden stress patterns in tempered glass.

Scientific glassblowers use a polariscope to check that glass has been properly annealed to remove stresses created in making items from borosilicate glass or carrying out repairs. Our glassblower at work delighted in showing the polariscope in action and would sometimes demonstrate that expensive commercial glassware had not been annealed as carefully as it should have been.

Whether it is possible to inspect a complex glass moulding and say whether the toughening process has achieved best results I do not know. Even good tempering will not remove the risk of failure due to invisible imperfections. Scratching of glass surfaces introduces sites at which catastrophic failure can start, possibly assisted by the vibration and stresses created by spin cycle. The manufacturer has no control over that.

Providing a plastic shield to protect the user in event of failure or simply eliminating the door glass is the only sensible way forward in my view.

The plastic shield does not prevent broken glass mingling with clothes.

The routine test for tempered (toughened) glass is given in international standards and is destructive. A centre punch type device is used to shatter a specimen and the number of fragments counted in specified areas. As with much other testing it depends upon proper quality control so the test samples are representative of a batch. The essential thing with toughened glass is to produce small pieces that are essentially safe rather than shards of glass. I do not think non-destructive testing is necessary if consistent manufacturing techniques are used. However, some work has been reported here https://www.glassonweb.com/news/non-destructive-quality-control.

I imagine many doors have thick window mouldings giving them strength but would like to know what manufacturers use.

A plastic shield provides a practical solution in preventing glass escaping if the door breaks, although moving to metal doors would eliminate the problem. Why complicate matters?

What about “technical” glass? I once saw stuff like that being made on that Canadian TV show “how it’s made”, you can possibly find it online somewhere. I can’t remember the actual processes involved, and I don’t know much about glass anyway, but it would be interesting to see what they do when making the more specialised stuff. They were making stuff like lenses for runway lights for airports among other things, and they’d have to be strong in case they got run over by a dirty great jumbo jet. But I bet that kind of glass would be far too expensive for a humble domestic appliance.

We manufactured airfield lighting. The glass used was often borosilicate ( low expansion, like “Pyrex”) to resist the uneven heat distribution from lamps and the thermal shock if hot glass was rained on. The glass lenses were thick on runway and taxiway lights to resist impact, both from aircraft wheels running over them and from the hydraulic force created when water lying in the aperture was “squashed” by a tyre. The glass was not expensive.

“Exploding” glass is quite traumatising, but that is what tempered (toughened) glass is supposed to do. I was saying in a B&B and just finished my morning shower, went back to the bedroom to get dressed and, a few minutes later, there was an enormous bang from the bathroom.

I went back to look and immediately thought the hot water tank had exploded, as the floor was covered in bubbling “water”. When I checked more closely, I could see it was chunks of glass, that were still popping on the floor.

I had never experienced this before, but it seems to be well known in glass buildings, where a pane will shatter for no apparent reason. It seems that a small scratch or flaw can remain dormant until some small stress – thermal or mechanical – suddenly causes the flaw to expand rapidly. As the glass is tempered (deliberately put under tension by rapid cooling) causing an internal force equivalent to thousands of pounds per square inch, it does go of with a bang, resulting in the glass shattering into relatively harmless fragments, instead of large shards of glass.

As you can see, there was no immediate or obvious cause. In my case, I had closed the shower door minutes before and I assume that the initial damage was in the hinge area, which was admittedly a little stiff to open.

I’ve just taken delivery of a new Miele washing machine and tumble dryer. Both doors are moulded glass, but they have an outer pane of flat, transparent plastic. Should something go wrong, I hope the glass will stay in the drum. However, I believe this is more to protect young children from burns, as the glass in a washing machine can become painfully hot to touch on a 60 degree plus wash cycle.

Thanks for this information, Em. Do you know if Miele do this across the range? My machine, approaching six years old, does not.

Crusader recently mentioned having bought a Bosch washing machine with a plastic guard: https://conversation.which.co.uk/home-energy/exploding-washing-machines-doors/#comment-1642068 It would be interesting to know if Miele advertised the plastic as a safety feature. Bosch did not and it does not surprise me that manufacturers don’t always draw attention to safety features of their products. We tend to assume they are safe and in most cases that is justified.

I have a vivid memory of an unattended Duralex glass undergoing a sudden increase in entropy when I was a child. It had failed spectacularly but in a safe way, which is why toughened glass is so useful.