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Why Is My Washing Machine Smoking?

Washing Machine With Smoke And Fire

Washing machines are useful appliance that feels like a blessing when you have piles of laundry. It efficiently cleans your clothes and dries them for you.

No matter how expensive and high-quality a machine you buy, it will eventually malfunction if you do not use it carefully.

Sometimes you will notice smoke coming out of your washing machine. If that’s so, the first thing to do is to turn the machine off, as it can cause a house fire.

According to National Fire Protection Association, washing machines are responsible for 15,000 house fires yearly.


There are several reasons why your washing machine can be smoking, such as:

  • Faulty drive motor.
  • Slipping drive belt.
  • Broken spider bearing.
  • Burned Capacitor.

If you are eager to learn more, continue reading, as this piece will enlighten you about the reasons for smoking washing machines and their practical solutions.

Reasons Why Your Washing Machine Is Smoking

The sight of smoke coming out of your washing machine can be horrific unless you have proper know-how of its possible reasons. If you do not have basic to intermediate DIY skills, it is better to call an expert to diagnose the problem and its repair.

1. Faulty Drive Motor

Washing Machine Motor With Smoke

The drive motor is a crucial part of your washing machine as it converts electric energy into mechanical energy to drive your washer. It receives a high inrush current that keeps your appliance constantly working.

If your motor is jammed, it won’t spin, resulting in overheating and burning.

A bad start, worn-out windings, and a defective start switch are a few causes that keep your motor from moving correctly. You can access the motor from the bottom or the back of your machine and check if something isn’t stuck inside it, causing it to stop spinning.

However, no matter the reason, if your machine is smoking heavily, it is better to replace it for optimal performance.

2. Slipping Drive Belt

Driver Belt Of Washing Machine

The drive belt is one of the essential parts of a washing machine connecting the motor pulley to the drive pulley so that the inner tub can spin effortlessly. A slipping belt will cause a loud squealing noise and a distant rubber-burning smell.

If your belt is worn out and stretched, you can easily replace it yourself.

However, if the idler pulley is unstable or there is a mechanical jam in the drive train, it is better to seek professional help.

3. Imbalance Machine Load

Washing Machine With Clothes

If you overload your machine, the clothes won’t have space to spin, resulting in unclean clothes. Furthermore, overloading your washer will cause more stress on the motor and bearings to move and spin, which can cause a malfunction.

On the other hand, underloading your machine will make them accumulate on one side of the washer. It can disturb the balance of the drum and cause rigorous vibrations and banging noises.

The best thing is to follow the weight limit for maximum performance.

4. Damaged Water Inlet Valve

A Man Fixing Water Inlet Valve

The water inlet valve has threaded ports that connect your machine with cold and hot water hoses. Each port is controlled by a solenoid valve that sends electrical signals to balance hot and cold water according to your washing settings.

If you notice smoke coming out from the upper back of the machine, it can be due to a damaged water inlet valve or the solenoid. Replacing the valve is pretty easy if you have some DIY skills.

5. Problems With Electrical Wiring

Electric Wiring Of Washing Machine

Sometimes bad wiring can also cause a burning smell along with the smoke. A partially broken or hot wire can overheat and burn the wire’s insulation.

If you notice your wires are melted and hot, it is recommended to stop using the machine until you replace the electrical wiring.

Another reason for the short circuit can be the use of octopus wiring. If you connect several devices with one power source, the extension wire or plug can cause electric leakage that may melt your washing machine wire.

Safety Measure

If you want to avoid a fire hazard, it is better to keep an eye on your machine’s wiring and replace it in case of a fault or damage.

6. Stuck Drain Pump

Smoked Washing Machine Pump

A drain pump helps the water drain by pumping through the drain hose. If you notice smoke after a spinning cycle or a burning smell, it can be due to a faulty or stuck drain pump.

A piece of clothing or debris can get stuck under the pump, causing it to stop working. It is located at the bottom of the machine and is easily replaceable.

7. Broken Spider Bearing

Bearing For Washing Machine With Smoke

The spider bearing in the washing machine keeps the drum in its place. It is located at the bottom of the drum and connected via bolts. If the spider is broken, the drum will get wobbly and, during the spin cycle, starts rubbing against the door gasket.

The rubbing motion at a higher speed will generate heat resulting in smoke and a burning smell.

It is advisable to get a new machine instead of opting for a repair because the broken spider bearing damages the spin basket costing you way more than getting a new one.

8. Burned Capacitor

Burned Washing Machine Capacitor

The capacitor provides extra current to the motor and helps it to start. It saves electricity and releases it whenever the washing machine needs to start. A damaged capacitor is also a common culprit for causing smoke in your washing machine.

Several reasons your capacitor can burn, like prolonged usage, drying out, and internal short circuits. You can solve this issue by replacing it with a new one.

Issues With Idler Pulley

Washing machines have an Idler pulley, also known as a tension pulley, that keeps tension on the drive belt that moves the drum. The small spring at the end of the pulley ensures this tension is maintained throughout the spin cycle.

The bearing hosting the pulley can sometimes overheat due to friction resulting in smoke and a burning smell. Replacing the pulley can solve your problem but requires knowledge about the machine’s internal mechanism.

So it’s better to consult a professional for the repair.

Problems With Control Board

Washing Machine Repairing

Washing machines have control boards at the top of the appliance that helps you decide the speed, spin cycles, and other vital options for washing. The more advanced machine you have, the more customize control you get.

We only see a touch screen taking all the instructions, but several small boards are at the back end doing the job.

Sometimes the wiring of these boards can also get damaged, resulting in short circuits. If that is the case, it is better to get professional help and wait to use your machine until then.


Washing machines have intricate mechanisms and sophisticated technology that provides the ultimate ease of washing your clothes in no time. Sometimes you can face issues like slipping the drive belt, burned capacitor, and blocked drain pump that can cause smoke and burning inside the machines.

Mostly the issues subside with a minor replacement; otherwise, it is better to get professional advice for a better diagnosis.

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