How Safe is the Glass Door in my Washing Machine?

You may well have read Articles in the medea recently raising the question of safety of glass in doors of washing machines, and you may have lost confidence in the safety of your machine, especially if its located in the kitchen, where the family are more likely to gather.The headlines may well have been large and strident, but the information in the following articles has been vague in the extreme.  Also these articles are generally lacking in any specifics and do not contain relevant statistics to show how large or small the problem may be.

One of the reasons they have suggested for glass in the washing machine doors to shatter is that manufacturers have been cutting corners and using cheaper components.  This may well be the case in some instances, but this has certainly not led to vast numbers of washing machines being put out of action by the glass in the door shattering.

Another reason that has been suggested is that the glass in doors is much bigger than in the pas. The manufacturers claim the reason for this is that it gives better access to the machine, and makes loading your washing much easier.  Again, this is the case with lots of manufacturers, but again there has not been a huge increase in reports of damage to the glass in washing machines.

What could cause the glass in the washing machine door to break?

Before we look at some of the reasons, it is good to know the statistics surrounding this issue.  Based on the number of washing machines in use across the UK, and the average number of washes per year, this equates to over  20 million washes each year.  The number of reported breakages to the glass in the door is just 54 in total – hardly scary is it.

Everyone has had problems with their various washing machines over the years, ranging from not spinning, not draining, power failing etc. etc. and I’m sure you know several people who have had very similar problems.  I’m also sure that you haven’t heard of anyone who has the glass break in the machine door.However, damage to the glass in the door can be caused by:

  • Overloading the machine, leaving sharp items in pockets etc.  If a sharp object is forced up against the glass due to the overloading, this could possibly scratch the glass, and potentially cut into the glass, depending on what the object is.
  • Once the glass is damaged in this way, it is not difficult to imagine the outcome over time, the glass will eventually give way. The glass in washing machine doors is no less susceptible to this kind of treatment than, say, the glass in the oven, or even your windows at home.
  • Extremes of temperature can also finally crack damaged glass, more than likely this would happen to washing machines which are not in the heart of the house, but maybe in the garage or an outhouse.  Let’s look at the reasons for these glass doors shattering, as stated in the media:

Quality of glass used

As already stated in this article, it is quite possible that the quality of glass used in some washing machines is not as good as in the past.  However, we are still not seeing a higher incidence of the glass breaking.

It could be, of course, that a lower quality of glass is more likely to suffer damage as described above, but this would still require the circumstances of severely overloading the machine, plus the possibility of a loose sharp object coming into contact with the glass during the washing programme.

This does not indicate that a lower quality of glass is the cause of the headlines in the press.

Size of glass in washing machine door

This is the other factor identified in the press article.  As stated, we know that many manufacturers have moved to a larger glass size but is this the cause of the breakage?

Obviously the larger the area or glass, the more it can be damaged by scratches.  You would be amazed how many items that cause such damage are found in the filters of washing machines, but the machine would need to be completely overloaded at the same time for the damage to occur. These can vary from coins of every denomination to screwdrivers to kitchen knives, anything you can think of, and many that you can’t, have been found! 

Basically, there would need to be more than one set of circumstances for the damage to occur in the first place, but once the glass is damaged it is obviously weakened, and this can lead to breakage. 

There are things everyone should avoid in order to protect your machine, from broken glass to blocked filters.  These include:

Don’t overload the machine – each manufacturer gives you the recommended weight for a wash for your machine, and you should try to avoid trying to do more.  Its really a false economy to try to do two washes in one, as you end up not washing the clothes properly and you might end up having to do two additional washes.  Overloading your machine can also throw it off balance, causing the machine to start ‘walking’, and also the sense detectors on the machine may well turn the machine off.  You will then have to go through the laborious and messy steps of draining the machine through the filter before you can get it to work again.

Don’t forget to check through your wash first – although this may seem a tedious task, its really common sense to check through all the pockets  of items in your laundry as this can end up saving you both time and money.  You can save time because if you have left something such as small toys, keys, mobile phones etc. in your pockets then its fairly certain that the filter will be blocked.  This will mean draining down the whole system, both time-consuming and messy.  It can save you money by ensuring that you don’t drown your expensive mobile phone, have to replace your child’s favourite toy, or even collecting all the small change your family leave in their pockets.  Remember, coins are the main culprit for blocking filters in the first place.

Also, if you carry out both of the procedures identifed above, it is very unlikely that you will damage the glass in your machine, and thus remove a further unnecessary problem from your busy life.







Disclaimer: The information provided has been prepared as a guide only and the steps taken are likely to vary for different appliance models. We strongly recommend using a qualified engineer to undertake major repairs and fault finding.


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