Soda Crystals and washing machines

Soda Crystals Soda crystals are reputed to be good at dissolving grease. They can be used to help clean out a gunged up washing machine, or more importantly to help prevent a build up of grease).

Can soda crystals damage the washing machine drum?

The last time I used some I noticed that on the back of the packet they say that it should not be used on aluminium. I instantly thought about the alloy drum spiders inside washing machines and wondered whether soda crystals could cause any damage.

Door-seal-greasy So I sent an e-mail to a manufacturer of soda crystals. They told me that there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. The only reason they advise against using the soda crystals on aluminium is that it can cause pitting (small indentations). This would be undesirable on anything on show. But as no one can see the drum spider it shouldn’t be a problem. I don’t think the soda crystals would undermine the strength or stability of something made of aluminium, just maybe cause small pitting.

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25 thoughts on “Soda Crystals and washing machines”

  1. Hi all.
    My 21 year old AEG machine suffered a drum spider failure two years ago at 19 years old (it’s a well-built machine – much better than many new ones). I replaced the spider with an original part but it has only lasted another 2 years. The bearings are fine and we don’t overload the drum. The only thing different is that my wife has started using washing soda crystals in most washes and she tends to do low temp washes as we always did. Generally two washes a week on average.

    The “new” drum spider is completely corroded and 2 arms have failed. I wonder if the alkaline content of the soda crystals has actually accelerated the corrosion? The first spider lasted nearly 20 years in the same hard water area before it failed but my wife wasn’t using soda crystals. A chat to a chemist at work suggested that soda crystals will increase the alkalinity of the washing powder or liquid and this will have a corrosive effect on aluminium. The solution is to design a stainless steel spider like the drum or even a plastic/composite spider.

    Has anyone else experienced such premature failure of a spider and could washing soda be to blame?

  2. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hi Rick. Corroding of the drum spider is usually associated with not using enough detergent. As my article describes, when I contacted the manufacturer of soda crystals, they assured me that the soda crystals they only cause small pitting on aluminium.

    Have a look at my related article about grease and slime inside washer machines, which is far more likely to cause the corrosion you describe. I would also steer clear of liquid detergent’s. I also wouldn’t use soda crystals if you have soft water, as they soften water even further. If water is too soft, it makes cleaning the laundry more difficult, as it creates a lot of soap suds that cushion laundry from rubbing against each other. It also makes it harder for detergent to dissolve.

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