APPLIANCE GUIDES, LAUNDRY

Washing Machine Lifespan – How Long Should They Last?

Washing machines can be a big investment for many, and like all major appliances, you’ll want them to have a decent lifespan and last a good period of time before they malfunction or completely break down.

According to GoodMarketTales, ‘In the UK, the average family of four is washing eight to ten times a week.’ That’s a lot of potential wear and tear your washing machine has to deal with. How long can you expect your washing machine to last?

In this post, I’ll explain what the average lifespan of a washing machine is, some factors that can affect this as well as answer some frequently asked questions on the topic.

Let’s get into it.

What Is The Lifespan Of A Washing Machine?

The average lifespan of a washing machine used by a regular household is 10 years.

However, this really depends on the quality of the machine and the amount of use it gets. So an average range of 8-12 years is probably a safer bet.

This average figure is determined by the number of cycles the washing machine is designed to handle, where one cycle is one wash load. If we base this off of the stats (mentioned above) for a regular household of 4 people (2 parents and 2 children), this may require 10 wash loads a week.

Your washing machine will be doing 520 wash loads (10 wash loads x 52 weeks) in a year. 520 wash loads x 10 years = 5,200 wash loads or cycles.

Some reports state that the average washing machine can handle around 5,100 cycles.

A washing machine that has an average lifespan of around 5000 cycles could last 10 years, if it’s used 10 times a week.

Diagram of washing machine components to illustrate the lifespan of a washing machine

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Factors Affecting The Lifespan Of Washing Machines

However, as I’m sure you can appreciate, it’s never quite as simple as saying the average washing machine’s lifespan. There are a few key factors that will affect the life of your washing machine.

Wash Frequency

If one wash load (cycle) per day places such a demand on your washing machine that it pushes it to its rating limit or capacity, you should expect that reducing the weekly wash load by one or more cycles will help extend its lifespan.

Reducing the wash frequency from 10 to 8 per week lessens the demand on your washing machine. Which, based on the calculations above, could extend its average lifespan from 10 to 12 years.

Overloading

It is part of good maintenance not to overload your washing machine. They’re designed and rated within a certain weight limit, depending on the size and model. Do not wash more laundry (by weight) than what your washing machine was designed for.

In fact, it is also a good practice to go a bit lighter than its weight limit. This is simply done to ease up the normal wear and tear of crucial washing machine parts, like the motor, belts, couplings, bearings, and some mechanisms. Take extra care if your unit is not brand new or has some years to it already.

Washing machines and tumble dryers

Build Quality

One of the biggest factors determining the longevity of a washing machine is its build quality.

Machines constructed with premium materials, such as stainless steel drums or robust motor components, naturally resist wear and tear better than those with inferior components. Precision in engineering is another hallmark of a durable machine; well-designed units operate with reduced friction and strain, leading to fewer mechanical complications over their lifetime.

Additionally, brands that emphasize rigorous quality control and uphold high manufacturing standards are more likely to produce units that experience fewer issues, even with prolonged use. Miele is one such brand that has high standards and is a brand I recommend all the time.

Follow The Manufacturer’s Advice

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the care and maintenance of your washing machine unit. This includes how to set up, connections to a water source, electrical connections and grounding, buttons, electronic displays and error codes, type of detergent to use, cleaning, etc.

This ensures that your washing machine is taken care of properly and will not suffer unnecessary damage or malfunction.

washing machines repair or replace

Which Washing Machines Brands Are The Most Reliable?

When considering reliability in washing machines, several brands consistently top the charts based on both expert reviews and user feedback. Among these, Miele, Bosch, LG, and Samsung stand out as leading contenders for the title of the most dependable washing machine manufacturers.

  • Miele: Hailing from Germany, Miele is renowned for its rigorous manufacturing standards and precision engineering. Their washing machines often feature cutting-edge technology and impeccable build quality, making them a favourite among those who prioritize longevity and performance. As well as a personal favourite of mine!

  • Bosch: Another gem from Germany, Bosch has built a reputation for creating efficient and durable appliances. Their washing machines are often applauded for their eco-friendly features, quiet operation, and consistent cleaning performance.

  • LG: With its innovative technologies, LG washing machines are designed to offer both efficiency and convenience. Their Direct Drive technology, which reduces the number of moving parts in their machines, is a testament to their commitment to longevity. Moreover, their smart diagnostic tools make troubleshooting simpler and more efficient.

  • Samsung: Known for blending technology with utility, Samsung washing machines come packed with a range of smart features. From AddWash doors to Bubble Soak technology for deep cleaning, their machines are user-friendly and durable. Their customer service is also commendable, often making maintenance and repairs a hassle-free experience.

While personal experiences might vary, my many years of using and recommending these brands have resulted in overwhelmingly positive feedback.

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Is It Better To Replace Or Repair My Washing Machine?

First, If your washing machine unit is still covered by its warranty, it’s better to replace it under the conditions of the warranty. If a replacement isn’t covered under warranty, however, still check the policy. Repairs may be covered, even if replacements aren’t.

The general rule of thumb is: if the cost of repair will amount to half the original price of your washing machine, then it’s most likely better to buy a new one.

So, if the washing machine originally costs £1,000 but repairs would amount to £500, generally it’s better to replace it with a new one. But if the total repair package would cost in the vicinity of £300, it might still be worth having it repaired.

This all depends on how old your washing machine is and how often it malfunctions. Generally, the older the unit, the better it is to replace it.

Usually, minor repairs won’t cost that much. But if the bearings on the drum become worn out and it creates jarring noises when it spins, this is usually a major repair job and can become very costly.

In some washing machine models, you can’t just replace the bearings because it is sealed. You need to change the entire drum assembly, bearings and all. When you factor in professional fees and how old your washing machine unit is, it might be more practical in the long run to replace the unit with a new one.

How Do I Make My Washing Machine Last Longer?

Regardless of the brand or model of your washing machine, the key to ensuring its longevity lies in a bit of care and maintenance.

Start by thoroughly reading and adhering to the manufacturer’s recommendations in the user manual. Proper installation, as well as operation within the designated capacity, can significantly reduce wear and tear.

Taking proactive steps to maintain your washing machine can not only help you maximize its intended lifespan but also potentially surpass it.

  1. Regular Cleaning: Over time, limescale, dirt, and detergent residues can accumulate in various parts of your machine, notably behind the drum, in the filter, and within the pipes. Such build-ups can cause your machine to work harder, leading to quicker wear and potential breakdowns.

    As well as this, these residues can be a source of persistent malodours, affecting the freshness of your laundry. Consider using dedicated washing machine cleaning products, like those offered by brands such as Calgon, to address this issue effectively.

  2. Avoid Overloading: While it might be tempting to stuff just a few more items into a load, overloading can strain the motor and drum. Consistently operating within the machine’s weight limits can drastically reduce unnecessary wear.

  3. Use the Right Detergent: Not all detergents are suitable for all machines. Using the wrong type can lead to soap scum build-up and other issues. Ensure you’re using the recommended type and amount.

  4. Inspect and Clean Filters Regularly: The lint and debris caught in your machine’s filters can impair its performance if not cleaned out regularly. Check them every few months and clean or replace them as necessary.

  5. Address Minor Issues Promptly: Like any other appliance, small problems in a washing machine, if ignored, can snowball into bigger, more expensive issues. If you notice any unusual noises, leaks, or performance drops, get it checked sooner rather than later.

Final Thoughts…

There you have it! Now you know about your washing machine’s lifespan and how to get the most out of it.

Investing in a new washing machine can feel like a big purchase. But doing your research, reading the manual, and taking care of your machine can help you maximise your investment.

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Author

Michael from Kitchinsider.com

Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.