Washing machine not spinning

There are two completely different symptoms that many people confusingly report using the same language. So it’s important to make sure you are looking at the right article. If when you say the washing machine is not spinning you mean (as many do) that the drum is not revolving on any part of the cycle then you need a different article – washing machine drum not turning.

If you are investigating a fault where the drum is turning normally on wash and rinses but it’s just not doing the fast spinning at the end then continue with this article.

Laundry wet


Not Spinning Because it can’t Drain the Water Properly

The first thing to check is has it pumped out the water properly?

A washing machine will not spin if it hasn’t pumped out the water, either at all, or just not fully within the set time allowed due to a partial obstruction. However, don’t start suspecting a pump problem unless it’s obvious that the washing machine hasn’t drained the water out, and has left quite a lot inside. Don’t mix up the amount of water that will naturally be left inside from laundry if the washer hasn’t spun with the amount left if it’s failed to pump it away.

Try it on a spin cycle again. Can you hear the pump running? Can you hear water going down the drain or into the sink u-bend? If you suspect a pumping out fault follow this article – Washing machine won’t empty water

Unbalanced Load

Load Out Of Balance

If the water seems to have been pumped out but it just won’t do the spin then check the wash load. Modern washing machines have built in out of balance protection and will refuse to spin out of balanced loads to protect against serious damage.

The worst loads for this problem are single items which are heavy when wet, or small loads, particularly if they have a single heavy item amongst them.


Therefore there is always a possibility there isn’t an actual fault. A quick check would be to see if the washer spins with no load in, or with a totally different (fuller more balanced) load. If it does, check this article carefully to understand this problem – Washing machine wont spin just one item or very small loads

Blocked pressure system

Not spinning due to pressure system fault

Maybe it just thinks it isn’t draining water because it’s not getting the “water has now gone” signal.

The washing machine needs a signal from the pressure switch to tell it when the water has gone. A faulty pressure switch (or more commonly a blockage in the pressure bottle) can stop the signal being sent. So the washer refuses to spin. It will do the slow turning at the beginning where it distributes the laundry, pump out the water, but then after a few minutes just stop.


To understand how a washing machine controls water levels and knows when the water has drained away see this article – How washing machines control water levels (there are links in the article to common pressure system faults and DIY repair help).

Not spinning because motor is faulty

It is possible for a worn motor (or more commonly worn carbon brushes) to cause it to struggle to get up to spin speed but manage to turn the drum on wash and rinse. Normally such a fault would also cause problems on wash and rinse so it’s not too likely. However, if when it gets to the spin cycle the motor appears to attempt a spin but makes a strange grating or crackling noise and sounds half-hearted (maybe fluctuates up and down in speed) there could be a fault on the motor.

If the motor is sparking a lot you can suspect worn carbon brushes. Note that many washing machines don’t have carbon brushes any more. How can you tell? Open the door and spin the drum by hand. If it is virtually silent it’s probably a brush-less motor. If it makes a whiny ratchety sound that’s probably the brushes running over the segments in the armature.


If it is not sparking excessively it could be an issue on the PCB or a connection fault – get an engineer in. The most common issue with motors is worn carbon brushes (How do I know if I need to fit new carbon brushes?).

Belt Slipping

If a drive belt is worn it could be slipping. It’s not so common these days but should be easily observed with the back panel off if this is what is happening.

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Summary

If the water is being pumped out OK, and it doesn’t appear to be an out of balanced load, then proper fault finding is necessary. This really needs the use of a continuity test meter and proper knowledge of washing machine repairs.

If it isn’t caused by any of the faults described above it only really leaves faults on the main PCB (or module), connection faults, more complex motor faults etc. It would be unwise to start buying parts speculatively, which could easily prove an expensive mistake.

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38 thoughts on “Washing machine not spinning”

  1. Hi, I have a Samsung Big wash it’s been slugish on the wash and rinse lately and the drum was not
    engaging on the final spin, and then it gave a big jolt an started spinning.I tried it again today and it done
    the same thing but it tripped the swich and blew the plug fuse. I’ve just took the top off to have a look
    inside and the belt is frayed and loose, also the wiring that comes in from the mains supply inside the
    washer looks dammaged, that wiring consists of 2blue 2white 1black and 1red.
    Any advice will be much appreciated.

  2. It initially sounded like a poor connection somewhere, so if you’ve found damaged wiring then that could explain it – but I don’t know if those particular wires would cause those symptoms, or if they were damaged enough to cause either the fusing or the intermittent supply to the motor.

    The only thing to do really is if you think the damaged wires are causing the fault to reconnect them safely with proper electrical 13 amp connectors and ensure they don’t come under any stress that could compromise the repair.

    If the wires have shorted either against each other or touched something metal in the machine they would account for the blowing of the fuses, but if you can see that this is not the case then something else must have caused it and you need an insulation test meter to trace a fusing fault (Fusing or tripping the electrics)

  3. I have a Bosch washing machine. It sometimes functions normally, but sometimes it doesn’t spin at the end of the cycle. If I hit it quite hard on the bottom of the right hand side at the front, near where the pump is, it usually starts up and does the spin (after I reset to a spin program). What might cause the pump to malfunction intermittently like this?

  4. Hi Andy

    I have a six year old Miele W 3260 washing machine, that has behaved brilliantly up to now. Of late, however, this excellent machine has started to give a little trouble in that it is leaving the clothes wet at the end of the spin cycle. For example, they are no longer in a dry enough state that makes them ready for immediate transfer into the tumble dryer. I have cleaned the filter but the fault continues, even though no fault code is displayed. My wife washed about 5 large towels 4 times and every time they came out soaking wet. Would this be the machine being out of balance? Although it does happen with items of clothing, albeit not all the time,It is happening more frequently.

    We have a 10 year warranty with this machine, but I am not sure if Miele would make some sort of charge for sending their engineer out. Are you aware of anything that I could do to remedy this before I call out an engineer?

    Thanks for your help

  5. Hello Dennis. check out my article washing machine won’t spin some loads to get a full understanding of how the out of balance system works. Also check the handbook to see if the washing machine should indicate in some way if it hasn’t spun because it couldn’t balance the load well enough. I would hope a Miele would be sophisticated enough to have some indication for users if it hasn’t spun properly due to uneven load.

    Sometimes an uneven load may result in a spin but at reduced spin speed. If it should indicate a problem with balanciing the load but it isn’t doing so then maybe the issue isn’t related to uneven loads.

  6. Hello Dennis. check out my article washing machine won’t spin some loads to get a full understanding of how the out of balance system works. Also check the handbook to see if the washing machine should indicate in some way if it hasn’t spun because it couldn’t balance the load well enough. I would hope a Miele would be sophisticated enough to have some indication for users if it hasn’t spun properly due to uneven load.

    Sometimes an uneven load may result in a spin but at reduced spin speed. If it should indicate a problem with balancing the load but it isn’t doing so then maybe the issue isn’t related to uneven loads.

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