Updated on 18th May, 2023 by Martin Astley
A burning smell from the washing machine or any electrical appliance indicates that the item is either about to break down or imminently dangerous. You should therefore turn off the washing machine at the wall, take the plug out if you notice any strange smells, and leave it turned off and unplugged until you have repaired it.
If the smell comes from the appliance itself, unplug it immediately. If the burning smell is coming from a plug or the plug socket, turn the power off and wait until the plug has cooled down before you unplug it.
We recommend that you not attempt to repair a washing machine unless you are experienced with electrical and appliance repairs. Washing machine motors can retain a lethal amount of static electricity, even when unplugged.
You should contact a Gas Safe engineer and let him inspect. If you have kitchen appliance breakdown cover, contact your insurance provider.
In this article, I will explain why your washing machine is making a burning smell.
1. Broken drive belts
Washing machine drums typically spin with the assistance of a drive belt. If this belt becomes broken or badly connected, it can rub against other components, creating friction and a burning smell.
Frequently, washing machines don’t spin when the drive belt is broken. You may need to replace your drive belt. Wear appropriate safety equipment and choose the right belt for your appliance!
2. Broken drive motor pulleys
A drive motor or the drive motor pulleys can become worn out or broken over time. Pulleys can become rusted and degraded, which can create excessive friction and cause the pulleys to begin to burn and melt. Idler pulleys can become seized up or jammed, which can cause the drive belt to malfunction and overheat.
If this is the case and you can do so, inspect the pulleys and motors and replace any visibly damaged components. Check the assembly to ensure that the motors pull the pulleys properly and can do so without resistance.
3. Broken drive motor
The main drive motor is arguably the most important component in a washing machine, and when this component becomes defective, it can overheat and start making a burning smell. A washing machine motor can also break down when other components fail – for example, if the pulleys seize up, the motor will not function properly, which can cause it to break down.
When replacing a washing machine drive motor, remember to check that nothing else is wrong with the appliance and that the motor’s components are functioning properly. Do not replace a washing machine motor unless you are completely confident in what you are doing, and protect yourself from electrical shocks!
4. Burning smells from appliance plugs
However, the problem is not necessarily within the appliance itself; it might be within the plug or the cable. Repairing this kind of washing machine breakdown is usually easier and cheaper than other types of repair, but you should still not attempt it unless you can do so safely.
Check the socket connections, the fuse contacts, and the cable for signs of damage. Once you have identified what part of the plug, cable, or socket is broken, replace it. Ensure you use a fuse that is appropriate for your particular appliance!
5. Avoiding washing machine breakdowns
The most common and preventable issue in washing machine breakdowns is overloading. Suppose you put too many clothes in your washing machine. In that case, you will stress the internal components of the appliance, cause the motor and electrical elements to work overtime, and put the drive belt under greater pressure than it can safely handle.
So when loading clothes into your washing machine, remember, if in doubt, leave it out!
Don’t forget, 24|7 Home Rescue offers reliable appliance breakdown cover to ensure you don’t run out of pocket in case of a sudden appliance breakdown. Please contact us via our website or call us at 0345 3192 247 today for urgent assistance.
Our technical teams will run some simple diagnostics to see if it can be fixed over the phone, and if not, they’ll send a manufacturer engineer, where possible, to take a look.
Don’t attempt to repair the appliance unless you’re confident in what you’re doing. Many things could go wrong, including jamming, electrocution, burns, scalds, cuts, etc. We’ve got several highly skilled engineers up and down the country, so you’ll never be far from help when needed.
247 Home Rescue accepts no liability for any injuries or damages you sustain following the advice on this website. If in doubt, seek professional assistance.