This article was originally about the poor construction of some washing machine doors, which resulted in a door glass falling out and smashing on a customer’s tiled floor when a child fell against it. It then attracted many comments from people who had experienced the door glass in their washing machine shattering or “exploding”.
New Article: I’ve closed this article to new comments, but anyone interested in this issue can still read through the 170 comments below discussing exploding washing machine door glass from myself and people affected by it. I’ve now written a new updated article summarising the situation so far (which is open to comments) – Exploding door glass in washing machines
Shattering door glass
The photos below are of the results of a door glass falling out of the door when a small child fell against it and it fell onto the tiled floor.
This is the original article, which was quickly taken over by complaints of door glass spontaneously exploding. The comments below start off talking about this original article but soon change to the exploding door glass topic.
I’ve been contacted by a Washerhelp user about a safety issue regarding the door glass in washing machines. His young son recently had an accident where he fell against the washing machine door and it broke away from the washing machine. As the flooring was tiled the door glass immediately shattered and his son fell onto some very nasty pieces of glass.
He is keen to warn others about this safety issue after his son suffered “large cuts to his arms and legs which required emergency hospital treatment”. His question to me was, is it acceptable that the door was not manufactured with toughened glass?
I’ve never heard of an accident like this and it sounds like a nasty incident. The glass used in a washing machine door has always been quite thick but I’m not aware of any washing machine door glass being made from either toughened, or safety glass. The onus is on a washing machine manufacturer to make the glass tough enough to stand up to normal use and extremes of use such as violent banging about if a badly out of balanced sheet goes into spin etc. but whether they should anticipate this kind of accident or not is something to be decided by Trading Standards or some other body.
I would guess that the majority of washing machines these days would have behaved in the same way because most washing machine doors are made of plastic, and many door hinges are fairly weak. The quality of many washing machine doors and possibly even the thickness of glass has been decreasing in line with the demand for cheaper and cheaper washers.
I’m confident that a washing machine door from 15 years ago or more would have stood up to a small child or even an adult falling against the door without it dropping completely off. The door glass from a washing machine from 15 years or more back may not have shattered so easily and into so many hazardous pieces either but the main thing is that it would have not fallen onto the hard tiled floor in the first place. Washing machine doors and hinges used to be made of strong metal at one time (not plastic and alloy) and if someone was strong enough they could have lifted the washer up with the door and swung it around, they were that tough. These days many doors even fall off without any impact under normal daily use, just because of poor quality materials.
This incident should serve as a warning for people with children to be aware of the potential danger. It would make sense to keep the washing machine door closed when not directly loading and unloading the washing machine if children (or anyone) could potentially bang into, or fall onto the door. The chances are the door glass would only shatter like this if it falls on a hard flooring rather than a carpet though.
New Article: I’ve written a new article concentrating on this particular door glass issue and summarising the situation so far here – Exploding door glass in washing machines