Yesterday was hectic to say the say the least, the housework, the shopping, making dinners, the school run in the cold and wind, a teething nine-month-old and trying to do some work! But as if that wasn’t testing enough, our two-and-three-quarter-year-old Indesit IWDC6105 washer-dryer decided to start making loud banging noises before stopping altogether, holding a drum full of clothes to ransom in freezing cold smelly water and flashing every light red and yellow just several minutes into the cycle!
I stood with a hand on my hip, raised eyebrow and stack of toys and plates in my hand cautiously eyeing over the flashing light show of yellow and red buttons which are normally green and solo; before trying the usual laptop failsafe options, turn it off and on – the same happened when it started up, I removed the plug for five minutes incase it was holding charge – the same happened when it started up, I used a few choice words to threaten it into submission – but still the same happened when it started up.
Throwing my hands in the air and admitting defeat I switched off the machine to wait for Luca to come home to inform him of a necessary spend over another washer-dryer. And when he returned home from work several hours later he tutted and said “Let me take a look first, maybe we can fix it” and reached for the door of the machine. Before the howl of “Nooooo!” was out of my mouth the door was open and freezing cold grey smelly water was awash over the kitchen floor. I threw a stack of our only dry and clean towels down to save the wooden flooring and as the drum was still filled with slushy water, we removed the clothes to the safety of a portable baby bath (as you do!) and I emptied the rest of the water into the sink using a cup and bowl.
The door lock had obviously lapsed and unlocked itself when it was switched off so our soggy smelly clothes would be safe at least, and as we ran through our possible options we tried to clear up the mess. Would it be covered under a manufacturers warranty or guarantee with it being almost three years old? Could we claim on our house insurance? Was this considered wear and tear over use? And what had suddenly caused this catastrophe as it worked fine just two days ago when it was last used as I only do three washes a week on average. With it being 10pm there were no helplines open and the thought of calling out a mechanic out of hours made me want to empty the contents of my purse down the toilet. If the machine was broken we’d need a new one anyway and more often than not it costs just as much to repair in workmen’s call out fees and parts as it would to buy a brand new one.
So with nothing to lose and soggy wet socks, we stood face-to-face with the mechanical beast and decided to do a post mortem. We unclipped the kickboard at the front of the bottom of the machine to reveal a vent and filter much like a car petrol cap, which when we opened it more freezing cold grey smelly water came gushing out – what a lovely surprise! The washing machine had refused to drain itself despite us turning it onto the drain setting and switching the power back on, which made us think that something may have blocked it.
When we opened the door we noticed the rubber seal directly around the circular entrance had buckled up and the drum itself had dropped down and tilted forwards, maybe it had just unhooked itself somehow? Or had the suspension finally snapped from it energetically doing the can-can every time it reaches the spin cycle? We literally couldn’t wait to find out and get even more wet!
Now I’m not suggesting that you should attempt to disembowel your washing machine at home, we are not experts and we know absolutely nothing about washing machines, but after such a crazy day and in revenge of our socks and floor being covered in freezing smelly water at silly o’clock at night we were curious as to what we would discover.
After turning off the water supply and disconnecting the pipes we took the plug out of the socket and shimmied the washer-dryer into the middle of the kitchen so that we could get a better look. There were a series of screws in an oval shape on the back of the washing machine which we removed with a phillips screwdriver to expose the back of the drum and a belt on some wheels. We also took off the top of the machine which was only a plate held on by two screws at the back and it exposed the top of the drum and some basic coloured wires going to the buttons which we decided to leave well alone and put the plate back. We gave the drum a push from the rear and a bit of a bounce followed by some more choice words, and upon looking inside the machine through the door, the rubber seal was flat and smooth again around the edge and the drum was in place! So it had just popped out of place and got stuck, how easy was that! We high-fived and pushed it back into position, re-connected the pipes and turned it on. We waited with baited breath for several seconds before being greeted by a red and yellow light show once more and the refusal to release the dirty water that had once again being held captive in the drum.
After some serious fist shaking we disconnected the water and power supply once more, shimmied the machine over to the patio doors onto the garden and unclipped the kick board off of the bottom again to open the filter cap so that all of the water could flood out onto the decking. We examined the water pipes as we waited for the machine to drain and it looked like an advert for heart disease; it was filled with sludge, gooey black slop and pale yellow lard! Feeling rather adventurous we played a game of doctors and nurses in the cold dark of night and connected the garden hose onto the waste-pipe of the washer-dryer and cranked the water onto full; within seconds lumps and slop was flying out of the filter like a comedy sketch of somebody projectile vomiting and it was absolutely exhilarating to watch.
Feeling content that we had fully serviced our washing machine we shimmied it back into it’s place under the counter, reconnecting it with a gentle pat on the tablet drawer and words of hope and encouragement as the power went on and we saw the GREEN LIGHT! Victory at last!
So it turns out that when washing machines decide to dance the can-can, put on a red and yellow light show for you and hold your clothes hostage, it’s not an electrical fault or time to head to the scrap heap just yet! Washing machines just need love, and internal cleaning every now and then…. whoops. I have to admit I have never cleaned the pipes of my washing machine as this is my first ever one since leaving home and I’m a washer-virgin. I always see adverts for limescale tablets to fuel your washing machines but have never bought them. In fairness, there was no limescale that came out of our clogged pipes, which either means that the companies selling the tablets are big fat liars (and the tablets are possibly breath mints?), or that our washing machine is loaded with limescale deep inside hidden from our prying eyes which will one day build up enough to cause it to kidnap more clothes indefinitely.
And to reward our loyal washer-dryer for rejoining the team of white-goods in the kitchen once more I allowed it to do two loads of stinky wet washing that we’d removed from the drum with the new addition of all of my towels and two pairs of black socks as we warmed our toes in the lounge and snuggled on the sofa to the beautiful sound of our once-taken-for-granted spin cycle. Bliss!
Please note: No monies were tipped down the drain or flushed down the toilet thanks to the doctors and nurses involved in this adventure. Although sadly the garden decking now looks like the back of a nightclub at closing time, good job we have a powerful garden hose!
I do not recommend you try this at home, always seek professional advice and speak to your insurance company first over your cover. We had all policies in place at the time of undertaking our adventure, but desperation, tiredness and morbid curiosity led us to fix our own washing machine, which was in the end easy when you know how! Stay safe, keep clean and wear rubber swim socks when you decide to open a washer door filled with dirty cold drum water. Thank you and goodnight!