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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

When, eventually, someone is injured by flying glass from an exploding door, will they successfully sue the retailer or manufacturer? Perhaps Which? could give a view. I would have thought the manufacturer would be regarded as negligent knowing there was a potential problem that was hazardous to the user and had taken no action to prevent or mitigate its effects.

The motor industry faced the problem of windscreens breaking due to stone chips when cars became faster and more numerous on the roads. Toughened windscreens were unsatisfactory because when the windscreen shattered, the driver could not see through it. Zone toughening was the next step and for years we have had laminated windscreens, in which a windscreen is a sandwich of two layers of glass separated by plastic. This ensures that there are no dangerous shards of glass in event of breakage or an accident.

I do not know whether it is possible to make a laminated glass door for a washing machine. Presumably not.

There is a process for adding a coating to the bulbs of lamps to contain any glass fragments should they shatter – used for example in food processing areas. Probably not tough enough to work on the inside of a washing machine door. I would have though a flat polycarbonate panel on the outside of the moulded glass would provide safety.

That’s one possibility, but another would be to mould polycarbonate and bond it to the outside of the door. That would protect the user if the glass shatters and minimise the contamination of fabrics with glass if there is a breakage. Unfortunately, polycarbonate has poor resistance to chemicals and abrasion, so it would not be useful on the inside of the door.

Let’s hope that some enterprising manufacturer does what should have been done years ago.

Some friends have a new AEG washer that has a flat shield across the outside of the concave door window. I presume it is polycarbonate. It is so transparent I did not realise it was there until it was pointed out.

If this was happening in the automotive industry there would have been mass recalls by now.

That’s good news John. Polycarbonate is as clear as glass and will remain so unless subject to abrasion or contact with certain chemicals.

If polycarbonate is good enough for riot shields it should protect us from door explosions. Unfortunately, it won’t stop the door breaking or a load of clothes full of bits of glass.

Perhaps it’s about time some safety experts put their heads together and came up with a set of instructions on what to do if the glass explodes. Most of us have had to deal with a drinking glass that has dropped on a hard floor and shattered to smithereens with little bits flying off in all directions. I suppose the situation is similar when a washing machine door glass blows except there’s much more of it and the force might have been greater with embedment of shards in any textile or soft surfaces in the general area. If the machine is in a kitchen, glass might have found its way into any uncovered food [including pets’ food]. Dealing with the contents of the washing machine introduces many further hazards in clearing up and I would suggest that once the surrounding area has been carefully and thoroughly dealt with it would be best to get a large bin liner, open it wide, and reach into the drum to try and enfold all the washing into the bag preventing – so far as is possible safely – the release of any bits of glass. Any glass remaining inside the drum should probably be left for the engineer to remove. Whether to try to salvage the washing or just jettison it is a personal decision but if an attempt is made to disentangle the laundry and shake out the glass fragments this should be done slowly and carefully, preferably outdoors, and the whole area swept and/or vacuum-cleaned afterwards.

It would be interesting to hear from someone who has had this experience what size the glass fragments are. Does the door disintegrate and look like like granulated sugar? Or are the pieces more like small sugar cubes? How far do they go?

So far I have seen no reports of serious injuries but every day there are more incidents and I am sure eventually there will be a terrible tragedy – there have been plenty of ‘near misses’ [which in an employment situation would have to be officially recorded by law].

We had some input from Any of whitegoodshelp – see the first page of this discussion. He may be able to update us or the information could be on his website.

There are pictures of broken washing machines on websites and some show shards of glass, which I would not associate with toughened glass. However, toughened glass is the type known to ‘explode’ spontaneously.

Karen says:
23 April 2016

Hello,
Just had a Bosch washing machine door explode tonight.
The glass was a mixture of irregular cubes with sharp edges, some larger clumps that had shattered, but remained together, plus many small shards and slivers of glass in our clothing. Have hung clothing on the line and plan to review the situation in the morning to see if any can be salvaged. Hope that helps

julie Hough says:
31 May 2015

We purchased a whirlpool AWO/C 0714 washing machine on 28 April 2014. On 17 April 2015 I washed two bath mats, 3 hand towels and 2 tea towels on 90 degree wash. On returning to washing machine later, the door was open at the hinge, there was glass on the floor that got caught under the kitchen door which in turn scratched the porcelain tiles, a sopping wet towel was hanging out of the washing machine but the rest of the wash was perfectly spun! When I touched the door the glass fell out just missing my foot and rolled on to the floor, chipping off a few more glass fragments, amazingly it didn’t shatter. The glass door was totally severed from the hinge but the plastic part of the hinge is still intact!! We couldn’t deal with it straight away as we were going away and couldn’t remember the exact date we had purchased it. I found a 2 year warranty leaflet not realising that this only covered Republic if Ireland (stupid me, I hadn’t read the bottom of the leaflet). So we rested on our laurels in the mistaken belief we were covered. After finding receipt on our return my husband went into Curries in early May about a week and a half after end of guarantee. Curries rang their service department who didn’t want to know saying we were out of guarantee. We pointed out the possible danger of this happening to someone else or injuring a child or pet. We have had series of emails back and forth, we have sent them photos, they will not send anyone out and whirlpool says it has never happened before, hinting that we ourselves caused the damage and have told us to get independent assessment at our own cost. I must stress that I NEVER overfill the washing machine as I prefer my clothes to be washed properly and smell nice and I ALWAYS CHECK POCKETS for foreign objects. This has been very upsetting. We have a damaged year old washing machine and a damaged kitchen floor.

There’s another report of a Whirlpool machine with a broken door on page 3 of this Conversation and you might find other examples on the whitegoodshelp website.

It seems to be a problem that affects many if not all brands.

My advice is to go back to Currys when a different manager is on duty. Look up the Sale of Goods Act on the Which? website, print the relevant information and be polite but firm about the action you want.

Whirlpool has no legal responsibility whatsoever but you may find them more helpful than Currys.

If you still have no success in getting a repair you could join Which? Legal and that could be cheaper than paying for a repair.

Best of luck and please let us know if you are successful.

stacey says:
6 July 2015

I’ve had a hotpoint WMYL7151style washing machine for about 5 months now it worked perfectly fine up until half an hour ago I had it on a full spin when I heard the bang which sounded like my window had just been smashed when I opened the kitched door glass was everywere clothes in my washer are ripped to shreds the smell of burning is also terrible

janet prochyra says:
14 July 2015

We have had our Beko 8 kg model WME 8227B washing machine for about 4 years and been delighted with it, so much so that we recommended it to our family and they have both bought the same model. This evening I put a quick wash in and in the last minute of the final spin it started to make a strange noise which got louder and as my husband bent down to check it the door exploded showering shards of glass over his face and the kitchen this all happened within a minute and if any small children had been in the kitchen or our pet dog it would have cut them quite badly as you could not believe the amount of glass it sprayed out.My machine was not overloaded, at the time it had a couple of pairs of tracksuit pants, a couple of tee shirts and some football training tops,I would class my machine as being in good condition and I will be ring Beko in the morning to see if there is an explanation for this,just grateful no one was hurt

lady says:
17 July 2015

My BEKO washing machine door exploded out on Wednesday 15th July 2015. Huge sharp pieces of glass hit my fridge opposite leaving dents in the door. It was on a eco 30 degree half load wash. All the clothes inside a shredded. I bought it from John Lewis exactly 12 months ago, whose only resolution is to offer to fix and replace the door!!

They wont take it away and examine it. They have said I have refusedI suspect it may be the drum as it was shaking like hell for a few weeks prior.

I have totally lost confidence in John Lewis, Beko and front load washing machines!

My 2 year old granddaugher likes to stand in front and watch the washing go around. Thank god no one was in the kitchen at the time!

I am utterly distresed by this

Sophie says:
11 August 2015

My washing machine door smashed last night whilst we were in bed, it’s a statesman.
I’m not sure what to do and can’t get through to them.
Any advice what to do?

Hello Sophie, I’m very sorry to hear about that. The first thing to do is to contact the manufacturer, informing them of the event and hot it happened. You can also contact Trading Standards to register your complaint with them.

If you’d like a replacement or refund, we have advice on this on our Consumer Rights website: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/action/how-to-reject-a-faulty-product-and-get-your-money-back http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/action/how-to-get-a-faulty-product-replaced-or-repaired

Also we are investigating exploding washing machines and your stories are essential to raising its profile, so please carry on sharing.

t carroll says:
11 August 2015

I bought a Beko WM74155LW washing machine on 6th October 2014 and on the 9th of August it was being used and going through the spin and then it started making a strange noise so I went to check on it and seen a mark on the glass door as i bent down to see it the glass exploded lucky enough i only had few cuts to few my fingers but shredded most of my clothes being washed

Stephen Ash says:
17 August 2015

Hi,

We bought a Whirlpool built- in washing machine in June last year. This July the door exploded during a wash. Glass was strewn all over the floor of the kitchen. We rang Whirlpool who wouldn’t replace the machine or send out an engineer unless we set up an extended warranty through Domestic & General. They said that afterwards this agreement could be cancelled and we wouldn’t be charged. We have just received a demand from D&G this week demanding £160.00 for the cost of the repair. I’ve spoken to Whirlpool and now they say it’s out of their hands! This has been only one of the few disappointments we have had with the Whirlpool appliances we chose for our new dream kitchen as shortly after installation we noticed that the legends on both the Microwave and Oven were disappearing as the facias were being wiped clean! They did replace the facia on the oven but the same thing happened again and now both appliances have little or no markings left on them. We feel very powerless as there seems like Whirlpool are just not bothered.

Julie hough says:
9 April 2016

Hi there, what model was your Whirlpool? The same happened to me last year (see my previous post). The whole door had to be replaced. Unfortunately it has happened again! I think there must be something intrinsically wrong with the machine.

Jacqui Cunningham says:
17 August 2015

Hi,
This has just happened to us last week. Our Indesit machine was on a spin and the glass door exploded hurling broken glass all over our kitchen. Our 2 year old daughter had went to bed not long before it happened. I dread to think what could have happened. So far I had to fight with them to come out and remove the door, they didn’t take it seriously at all until I posted a photograph on their Facebook page. The drum had to be replaced 2 years ago (machine is 5 years old), I really don’t want it in my house. At the moment they are offering nothing more than to replace the door and that’s because we have an extended warranty. The thought of what could happen is terrifying.

I came home this morn to find my Hoover washing machine only 3 months old had exploded. the glass door had shattered. The glass managed to end up almost 3 m away – so some explosion.My poor cat has sustained injuries and have several cuts from cleaning mess up. they said an engineer will be out to fix next week. was advised not to take clothing out of machine as they will clean it. personally I would of rather had a replacement machine as I do not know how much glass has gone into the workings of the machine and what damage this may cause in the future. I have taken photos.

The glass door of my hoover washing machine ,5 yrs old, imploded/exploded today 20/9/15.
The machine was not in use since two days ago,and luckily no-one was in the kitchen.We heard this massive bang and rushed in to find glass inside the machine and on the floor.
A small child could be blinded,and anyone badly cut.When are health and safety going to do something about it.I will be getting in touch with Anne Robinson.
I would think a type of plastic window would be safest.Manufactures must do something about this horrendous problem, and soon.

This morning I came downstairs to a kitchen covered in glass . Washing machine door exploded on my logik l612wm13 . Machine wasn’t on over night shocking is a understatement . How an earth can it happen I’ve had to fight with currys today for over 2 hours to get a good outcome

Maurice Brereton says:
26 September 2015

Hi, I would like to tell you of my recent exploding door experience. We purchased our BEKO washing machine from Argos about 18 months ago and it worked perfectly until yesterday when my son heard a bang and went into the kitchen to find broken glass on the floor, worktops etc(the machine was in the final spin at the time and most of the glass had went inward shredding all of the clothes in it). On closer inspection we found that when the glass had broken and entered the fast spinning drum it had dented and scored the drum and also tore the rubber door seal. As I’m quite good with my hands and have fixed a few washing machines before I was going to replace the door glass and seal myself but after seeing how much razor sharp glass would have been ingested into the machine only to do more damage later on we decided to buy a new machine.

Geoff b says:
2 October 2015

My Philips whirlpool glass shattered today whilst in use with a small load. Glass all over the place and washing damaged as it was on spin cycle

My BEKO machine door exploded yesterday 19/10/15 whilst on spin glass everywhere but luckily no one hurt. What is going on

my beko washing machine door also exploded yesterday, glass was everywhere luckily our pets and son were not in the kitchen and beko didn’t care told me there was nothing they could do and they were not interested as my machine was 5 years old, they were not interested in pictures or finding out why it happened

Pardon me by I am finding this thread weakened by the fact that if it is machine specific we may not tease that out !

A. Please quote the machine details from the plate on the back of the machine so the stories might tie-up to a whole

B. Which? should be on top of this case and really going to town – and it is not.

I expect to see a proper database of reports on machines [properly identified] that have failed and Which? should be keeping it live and pertinent. Which? is a rich charity and should use its resources in a more consumer friendly way.

Statistically I know this is not common but a decade ago it was virtually unknown. Whitegoods puts up a supposition that I think may ring true:
” This is also very true, door sizes on washing machines have increased in the past few years as it helps with load capacity ratings and is a sales feature with the blurb that a larger door means easier access. Unless you happen to be a bunch of cynical field service technicians, then we see it as more area to get scratched and damaged in some way knowing what we know and having seen some of the things that we’ve fished out of washing machines over the years we would expect damage.
Add to this the fact that the glass is larger and could be easier to smash in the first place and you might have a recipe for this in there.
Again though, we don’t think that this is a “smoking gun” as there simply aren’t enough instances or evidence to point in that direction.”

It may well be that it is not very common but unless someone collates we will never know.

One point should be made that is I suspect that all manufacturers buy their glass from one or possibly two companies so brand in itself may not be the crucial factor. Perhaps Which? would like to ask those questions

There is a list of makes that have suffered broken glass on Whitegoodshelp: http://www.whitegoodshelp.co.uk/washing-machine-door-glass-danger/

This shows three times as many cases with Beko as Miele, no doubt reflecting the popularity of the cheaper brand. It is interesting to see from the photos on Whitegoodshelp a photo showing the characteristic breakage pattern of toughened glass whereas the other photos show large shards of glass.

I would like to see Which? to investigate whether it would be practical to make the doors of laminated glass (a sandwich of glass and plastic) like car windscreens. An alternative would be to get rid of glass doors. Dishwashers don’t have them.

After all this time it would be good to hear of some action by Which?

sarah hinde says:
24 October 2015

hi….my beko washing machine door exploded this morning….glass went ever where…it was making a funny noise so i went to have a look….i even looked into the door and could see nothing wrong….called my husband and as he walked into the room the glass shot across the room….thank god no one was hurt..have spoken to beko and have been told that someone will call me back monday….fingers crossed

I still can’t understand why these dangerous occurrences are not registering on any official safety recording system. Does the HSE not have a role in ensuring that the manufacturers (a) stop making, and (b) start rectifying, machines which have been the subject of door blow-outs. To do that they would need to make a record and the easiest way to do that is to ask each manufacturer to report each incident of which they have been notified. The likelihood of a serious personal injury or even a fatality is becoming statistically ever more imminent.