If you have hard water and have a washing machine that's been giving you problems, there's a good chance that your hard water is clogging things up. Here, you'll find a few tips to help you undo the damage that the hard water has done to your washing machine.
Electronic Code Errors
Do you have a newer model of washing machine that shows codes to let you know what's going on with it? If so, pay attention to the codes – if you don't have the chart that tells you what each code means, you can go online, search the make and model, add the code that you're receiving, and read through the results. You'll find exactly what you need to know what that code means.
Once you have the code definition, you'll have a better idea of how to proceed.
One common code error is the water inlet valve code, which will tell you that the water is the culprit causing the problems. When this code is displayed, it means that the small valve that releases the water into the washing machine has failed – it could be clogged, or it could need to be replaced.
Clean the Water Inlet Valve
So, whether you've gotten a code or not, a great place to start is to remove and inspect the water inlet valve. This is usually located toward the top back of the unit and usually requires the back of the machine to be removed to access it – refer to your owner's manual to find a diagram showing exactly where each component is located.
Once you've accessed the inlet valve, use some masking tape and a marker to mark each connection. This way, you'll be able to reconnect it quickly without messing anything up.
Now, get some white vinegar and pour it directly into each of the openings of the valve. The white vinegar is gentle enough not to damage the plastic components but strong enough to eat away the hard water buildup inside the piece. Let it sit for a few hours, then return with a bottle brush and gently clean the screens. Rinse it well, replace it in the machine, and give the machine a test run.
If this fixes your washing machine – great! Get an in-line valve screen to put on the valve feeding the washing machine the water – this will clean some of the debris out of the water before it reaches your machine. Talk with your local appliance repair professional for further assistance.