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Washing Machine

Which? surveys and other sources show that the most common faults relate to bad smells, mould, bearing failures and damaged drum paddles.

Many faults and failures can be avoided by better user instruction, simple design changes and testing to meet minimum standards.

In WRAP consumer research, consumers consider reliability, quality and expected life as the top three important product attributes; and 31% of customers surveyed said they bought products because of the brand’s association with reliability.

The cost estimates in this guide assume that cost price for the retailer is £120  per washing machine.

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  • Failure mode Failure mode
  • Durability features Durability features
  • Cost saving Cost saving
  • Low cost Low cost
  • Cost neutral Cost neutral
  • High cost High cost
Washing Machine

Critical components

Door seal

  • Failure mode Common issues relate to dirt build up, mould and leaks
  • Durability features Use of clear instructions and anti-bacterial mould technology will reduce failures.
  • Cost  

Detergent tray

  • Failure mode Build up of detergent and mould in/around tray and pipework
  • Durability features Design for easy tray removal and easy access to all parts for cleaning.
  • Cost  

Door / hinges

  • Failure mode Low quality materials and misuse can lead to damage to door hinges and door/latch failure.
  • Durability features Use strong materials and secure fixings will to prevent failures.
  • Cost  

Control board

  • Failure mode Failure of circuit boards or switch contacts can lead to machine failure.
  • Durability features Good design of components/PCBs and inspection/testing.
  • Cost  

Drum Paddles

  • Failure mode Poor quality materials and weak fixing can cause failure of paddles.
  • Durability features Use strong materials and securely fixed/built in paddles.
  • Cost  

Drum Bearing

  • Failure mode Poor quality bearing (or under spec for load) and water ingress lead to failure.
  • Durability features Use of better quality/better specified bearings and seals.
  • Cost  


  • Failure mode Poor quality of the brushes/armature windings can lead to reduced power or failure.
  • Durability features Use better quality motors or brushless motors to prolong life.
  • Cost  

User Guidance

  • Failure mode Inadequate instructions can lead to early failure and returns.
  • Durability features Inclusion of user instructions, e.g. on cleaning and services washes, will reduce early failure.