/ Home & Energy

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

The November magazine (page 35) contains an invitation to report problems with broken doors and other safety issues concerning washing machines.

Earlier this year, Which? reported that washing machines are the main cause of appliance fires in the home: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2015/06/which-reveals-the-home-appliances-most-likely-to-catch-fire-406053/ No doubt some of these machines will have been misused but I would like to see manufacturers allowing for the possibility of misuse, for example by use of non-flammable materials where possible and building in overheating cutouts.

I don’t know if anyone has suffered serious injury as a result of a broken glass door but perhaps the problem should be tackled before the inevitable happens.

It would seem that, by pure luck and only luck, no one has yet been injured although a number of close shaves have been reported here. I suppose that until there is an actual injury that gets reported or leads to a hospital attendance there will be no official records. Statistically, the inevitable is due at any moment now.

If manufacturers and major repair companies were subject to the equivalent of the Freedom of Information Act we might be able to obtain some useful information about the frequency of door failure, and the makes and models affected.

I don’t recall hearing about broken doors until machines with high spin speeds and larger doors appeared on the market. When I come to replacing my old washing machine (which has an 800 rpm spin speed and a small door) I will be looking for a machine with a protective cover or without a glass door.

heres an update on my beko washing machine door saga,

After contacting beko customer services they told me as my machine is over 5 years old ther were not interested and could do nothing!, so I went onto their facebook page and posted pics and comments about my machine on every post they had put up in the last 6 weeks.
In response to this beko contacted me Thursday 22nd october via facebook to ask what had happened to my machine, I explained all the facts and the response I received from their customer services dept, I received a response saying that the customer services should never have said that and they were now sending an engineer to look at the machine.
on Saturday 31st October the engineer turned up at my house and spent 5 minutes looking at the machine then said beko would be in touch and left.
today 3rd November I got a call from beko customer services to tell me they were exchanging my machine for a brand new one and because my washing machine was no nonger in production they have upgraded it to a newer spec machine which is being delivered on Friday 6th November and they will remove my old machine.

I have a Zanussi washer/drier which is approx. 6 years old. Last year I spotted what looks like a cracked front glass as if it had been struck a heavy blow. Closer examination shows the damage is actually inside the glass and is completely smooth on the outside. Puzzling!

Cynthia says:
3 January 2016

I have a Samsung washing machine… A few months old …. My one yr old was in the laundry room when I heard a crash… I thought he knocked over our metal step stool…. I go in and the glass door from the washing machine is broken!!!! I was very surprised because the glass seemed very thick… There wasn’t anything else nearby that could have broken it… The machine wasn’t running…I called the company and they sent someone out to take a look at it. The technician was there for like 5min. He took a look, a picture of the serial # and left. He didn’t say anything except that if the company thinks it’s it’s cosmetic then it won’t be covered. Out of those 5min he spent 2 at most looking at the washer. They called us back and said it would be $200 to repair and it’s not covered because it’s physical damage .. Since no one but a one yr old saw what happen they assume we broke it because they’re machines just don’t do that. It’s Been 3 wks now and it’s still not fixed… My son could have been seriously hurt!!! They were suppose to send out about her technician last week but no ones showed up..,, we might take our loses and pay to get it fixed and demand a refund.

The Glass in my Miele W2888 exploded yesterday. I suspect a piece of clothing was trapped in the door a bra to be specific. It went on the spin cycle so at least water didn’t go everywhere. In my case explode is a misnomer and implode is more accurate as the majority of the glass was inside the drum and not on the floor.

I have Hotpoint integrated washing machine BHWMD742 (7kg) Super Silent. Is this model affected?

Which? website news has interesting information on exploding door glass, and BEKO as being more affected. However the link to a relevant Convo (presumably this one) did not work when I tried it.

It says a number of manufacturers are using a plastic film over the glass to protect from injury should a door explode. Glass, for reasons given earlier in this Convo can shatter spontaneously for no obvious reason so this is a sensible precaution. Lighting fittings and lamps for use in the food industry were (are) routinely plastic-coated just in case of a breakage to ensure glass fragments do not get into the food.

Which? mention Trading Standards. I would think it much more useful to look at modifying the washing machine BS / EN product standard to include a protective measure in case of breakage. It’s adoption may depend upon whether the proportion of reported breakages are regarded as significant enough to make it mandatory. If Which? sat on, or corresponded with, relevant BSI committees it could contribute usefully and directly to making improvements. I have asked Which? whether they are directly involved with BSI (the UK standards authority) and am waiting to hear…………….

Thank you for sharing Malcolm. We’ve published a new convo here: https://conversation.which.co.uk/home-energy/exploding-washing-machines-doors/

Thank you to everyone who has shared their stories with us, they formed a very important part of our research into this issue.

My Hotpoint washing machine blew up and exploded glass across my utility room back in February this year, luckily no one got hurt. I still have the washing machine with all the shattered glass and have taken photos. I have put in about 6 complaints to Hotpoint and not one person has acknowledged them or followed them up so I am now running out of options on what is the best thing to do next.

Our boom urge washing machine glass door as just shattered for no reason Machine is only 4 months old will be getting in touch with the company after the bank holiday dave

Alan says:
30 August 2016

My beko washing machine glass door exploded on Saturday it sounded like a jet plane starting up. My machine is 3 years old out of warranty but I’m not bothered the glass door should never explode

Emma shapley says:
27 October 2016

Hi last week my beko wm85135lw washing machine glass exploded while on final spin i only purchased this in may 15 the glass has covered my whole kitchen and damaged all my clothes my daughters pram and high chair ive spoke to beko who made out they have never hears of this happening before they sent out an engineer who has fone a report after been fobbed off for a week that someone was ringing me back ive finally got an uplift number from them to give to currys as i have said i dont want another beko machine and now im waiting for beko to get back in touch to sort out compensation of all the damage as anyone had any luck with this i didnt no this had happened to anyone eles till i just googled it

mohammad says:
11 November 2016

hi
tonight our LG top door broken and my wife injury .
what is the reason?
LG must investigate this and replace these glass door safe one.
this incident happened in Saudi Arabia.

Stacey says:
19 November 2016

Hi there. Our Beko washing machine is 26 months old. The glass door exploded last night (Friday 18/11/16) near the end of its cycle, unfortunately I was stood in front of it at the time and have ended up with a shard of glass in my thigh. 3 inches deep. I’m expecting an engineer out on Monday but I’m just curious how people went about claiming back for damages to their clothes etc.

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Stacey says:
20 November 2016

Ahhh thank you. I have tons of photographs and I did get medical treatment, so it’ll be recorded.
It’s actually an engineer from Currys Knowhow team as I pay monthly for services & repairs but I will record him. Thanks for your advice.

Hi Stacey – It would be worth contacting Which? with details of your unfortunate accident. There are many near misses but you are one of the few that have been injured by a door breaking. I suggest anyone else with a gory story does the same.

The problem of glass breakage seems to be one of the consequences of high spin speeds of modern machines and there is no reason why we could not have metal doors.

If you were significantly injured I’d suggest you contact a solicitor with a view to making a claim against Curry’s for injury and associated costs (they are responsible as your contract was with them).

@ldeitz – Hi Lauren. Many people have been unharmed when washing machine doors have ‘exploded’, but Stacey was injured and required medical attention. Please could Which? look into this and let us know if any action is planned.

Thanks for alerting me to this @wavechange – Stacey, I’m really sorry to hear this. Are you able to share any of the further details with us, I know you’ve said it’s a Beko machine but we’d be interested to know the model number too and any other details you have. If you’re happy to share any images then please do send them through to conversation.comments@which.co.uk

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Hi Duncan, thanks for this useful information. Indeed we are well aware of these reports and so any further information we can gather on these issues is very much appreciated 🙂

When glass is correctly toughened – usually by heating it and then rapidly chilling the surfaces to put them into compression – if it breaks it will not form shards but very small pieces, just like old car windscreens. There is a BS EN Standard that covers the testing – usually a centre punch is used to break the skin and cause the glass to shatter; the number of pieces within a defined area must be above a minimum. Inadequately processed toughened glass does not reach this state and would not therefore pass the standard.

I don’t know whether the moulded doors on these machines are toughened, or are just thick glass to give them strength. Maybe someone should find out from Beko.

Toughened (tempered) glass is widely used in car side-windows. The heating and cooling mentioned by Malcolm stores energy so that an impact causes catastrophic failure, producing many small pieces that are unlikely to cause serious injury. The failure could be triggered by an impact or as a result of imperfections caused by accumulated minor impacts and abrasion in use. As Duncan has pointed out, chemical inclusions in glass are another factor and these are known to be a problem with certain mobile phone screens. There are some photos of washing machine doors that show breakage characteristic of toughened glass, but these are in the minority.

A washing machine door that has not into small pieces may still be heat-treated and at risk of ‘explosive’ breakage. Examination of glass with a polariscope (a simple device used in glass workshops) will show the presence of strain, quickly showing whether glass has been toughened or properly annealed to remove internal tension. I have no idea if glass doors are compressed in the door assembly, but if so, that could another reason for sudden and unexpected failure.

My solution would be to have a metal door and that would put an end to a problem that seems to have largely arisen since machines with high spin speeds were introduced.

Thanks Lauren.

Stacey says:
25 November 2016

Hi Lauren I have replied to your email regarding my incident. I am waiting on an investigation team coming out on Tuesday.
So I will know more then.
Knowhow are only willing to give me what I paid for the machine. Which was £189 as it was on offer at the time. I’m continuing to fight this as I don’t see why I should be out of pocket by £100’s through no fault of my own as I do not want another Beko machine.

Stacey says:
20 November 2016

It’s a deep cut but not wide. There was a large piece sticking out of my leg that I just pulled out. I was however stood in front of the glass seconds before. I’m going to seek legal advice.

Sorry you were injured. I hope you’ll keep us informed through this Convo Stacey.

Tracey says:
23 November 2016

Our Beko washing machine (model no. WM 851315LW) did exactly the same. Was on the final spin when we heard an almighty clash and when we went into the kitchen the glass on the washing machine had shattered. The washing machine was still running and spitting bits of glass all over. Luckily it is behind a door so we didnt get hurt. The clothes inside are all ruined as they have small shards of glass on them so wouldn’t be able to wear them again

Thanks for reporting this, Tracey. It would be interesting to know what feedback you get from the company.

indesit 100393 washer door shatters in cycle clothes shredded currys dont want to know
engineer came out said they will not replace 4 month old washer but repaire it
washer is full of glass shardes engineer said it will be about £500 to fix only paid £300 in the first place

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If it is a fault, and as it arose within the first 6 months, it is presumed to have been there from the start. The onus would be on the retailer to show whether misuse could have caused the problem. Otherwise under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 you, the customer, have the right to ask the retailer to replace or repair the machine – your choice unless one is disproportionately expensive. You also have the right to claim for consequential loss, such as cut clothing. I suggest you point Curry’s to the CRA that obliges them in law to give you appropriate remedies. If they refuse they may be breaking the law. If you can then involve Trading Standards (you may be diverted to Citizens Advice) they should support your claim unless Curry’s have an adequate defence.

I have asked BSI whether they are looking into the problem of shattering glass doors on washing machines.

simon says:
22 March 2017

Beko Machine WM7043 the glass in the door just exploded !! WOW like a brick through a window…. under warrantee butBEKO says it will be a week before any technician can come to evaluate the situation, and not fix it …that will require another visit …..

HOOVER SILENTNIGHT INVERTER (9kg) 1600rpm. Purchased 2014.
Like all the rest of the stories regarding the ‘exploding glass door’, ours did exactly the same! Shards of glass everywhere! I called Hoover for 2 reasons; (1) I wanted a replacement & and apology & (2) because I felt it was a massive safety issue and perhaps required a ‘call back’. How long would it be before there was a fatality? And believe me, if you could see the size of these monster chunks of glass, you would question this too!
I was told I needed to take out a warranty of £15.99 per month & I would need an engineer to call, costing me £129.00, for him to assess the cause. If the cause was ‘my fault'(?) I would have to pay for the new parts too, if he found it to be a manufacturing fault, Hoover would replace the part for free. If I took out the new warranty plan, I would get a new machine (if it was there fault).
The engineer arrived, mumbled something about it being a ‘stress fracture of broken glass’ & then went off to order a new door……..I still have no idea of the cause!
Conclusively, I am now machineless until I have no idea when, I no longer trust the model, especially as I don’t know the cause & are these products still allowed to be sold? SERIOUSLY?
I am not prepared to let this lie!

Our IFB washing machine glass door also brok all of suddenly, even though it wasn’t plugged. I am an Orthopaedic Surgeon with expertise in joint replacement & I know that ceramic hip – acetabular component breaks suddenly with trivial trauma , explanations given is that ceramic absorbs energy and when this retained energy reaches a certain threshold , it breaks with an explosion,. Similarly glass door of washing machines accumulates energy & all of sudden the door explodes releaseing this energy