Inside a washing machine drum there are three paddles. They are usually (though not always) made of plastic, and they sometimes break or come loose. Their job is to lift up the laundry and move it around as the drum turns. They also help lift up water and sprinkle it over the top of the laundry.
This page advises where to buy a replacement, how to fit one, and how to avoid breaking them in the first place.
Buy New Drum Paddle
If you just want to buy a replacement drum paddle you can go directly to my affiliate spares company Ransom Spares who have an easy to use and friendly website with a price match guarantee – Replacement drum paddles (lifters) (some as low as £4.99.)
But first you might find it useful to check out the rest of this article for information about how to get one out and how to fit it. Note, they aren’t always called “paddles”, sometimes they are called, “lifters”, or maybe even something else.
Can my Drum Lifters be Replaced?
Not all drum paddles can be replaced. For example my Miele washing machine’s drum paddles are made of stainless steel and part of the drum.
However, some drum lifters are made of plastic and separate to the drum, but just can’t be replaced – sometimes at least not without stripping down the machine and removing the drum.
The latter is more likely to be on older washing machines though. Many modern washing machines are likely to have replaceable drum paddles.
The best way to see if your drum paddle can be replaced is to find your washing machine on a spares site and see if it is listed as a spare part. If it is – does it look like yours? Has it the same number of holes, and are there fitting instructions on the page or in comments?
Can You Still Use washer with paddle loose or broken?
If a drum paddle is loose or broken there is a chance that some of your laundry will get ripped or torn as it can get trapped underneath it. Underneath the drum paddles there are several slots and holes in the drum with relatively sharp edges. If a drum paddle was to come off altogether during the wash cycle there is a good chance your laundry would get severely damaged.
How to Fit Replacement Drum Paddle
There isn’t a single method that works as they can vary in how they fit. Some of them may just push backwards or forwards and come out. Usually you need a small screwdriver pushed down 1 of the holes in the top of the paddle in order to release a retaining clip. Then the drum paddle can slide up or down lift off.
If the drum paddle has come off altogether, or is so badly damaged that you need to pull it off you may be able to work out how it is attached by examining the broken paddle.
Can you see any clips anywhere? Can you see how it might drop in and then push forward or backwards to locate into place? If it’s secured with screws in the bottom, then the only way to access the screws is from underneath the drum. This is bad news.
If by any chance there is only one screw holding it in place there’s a very slight possibility that you could access that screw from the large hole in the bottom of the outer drum. This is where the sump hose (leading to the water pump) is fitted.
There would need to be only 1 screw and it would need to be central to line up (unlikely).
Finally, you may be able to get a clue as to how they are fitted by looking at a new spare part. If you check out Replacement drum paddles (lifters) at Ransom Spares you will find a very helpful list of paddles with some containing fitting advice, and even how-to videos on some of them. In the absence of any advice there may be comments added by previous customers giving helpful advice.
What Causes Drum Paddles to Break?
It could just be that they are poor quality. A drum paddle should never really come loose or break. But they do. Washing trainers inside a washing machine is clearly a big suspect (Can you wash trainers in a washing machine?)