Note: This article is intended as a guide. Always consult a qualified washing machine technician
Does your washer have a burnt rubber smell? While for the most part, your washer can work reliably without any issues or warning signs, it is not unusual to encounter once in a while an issue such as that sharp, pungent smell of rubber or plastic as you use it.
When this happens, should you continue using the washer?
Should you go ahead and invest in repairs or is it better to buy a new one?
These are probably some of the several questions you may have.
This post explains the possible reasons why your washer may have that burning smell, if and what you may be able to do to fix it.
Is it Normal for a Washer to have a Burnt Smell?
While this burning smell can be expected in new washers, caution should be exercised when the smell is detected as it can point to a larger problem.
In older washers, this burning smell should be investigated as it could potentially result in harmful fumes, injury to yourself, and potentially further damage to the washer.
Why Your Washer May Have a Burnt Rubber Smell?
#1. Some new washers’ rubber hoses may give off that burnt rubber smell. Smell the inlet hose. Do you pick up the strong rubber smell?
If so, then it’s probably from the inlet water hoses. You may detect this as soon as you unbox the washer even before you start using it.
Some washers can also give off this smell the first time they are used as the insulation in the motor heats up. Worry not – this smell should die down after a few washes.
#2. In washers with carbon brushes particularly the older ones, the brushes may be worn and overheat giving off a burnt smell.
When new carbon brushes are fitted, they can give off that slight electrical smell as the brushes adjust to the washer.
Note, that your washer can continue working as it gives off this smell. You can minimize this by loading the washer with smaller loads for several washes initially after fitting new brushes.
#3. Burnt or overheating washer motor. If the washer motor is unbalanced because of a heavy, unbalanced load or worn bearings the motor can overheat giving off that smell. Do not overload the washing machine.
If the washer drum is unbalanced because of worn bearings, replace the bearings. Always contact a qualified washing machine technician.
#4. Clogged drain pump. A stuck drain pump can also give off this burning smell during or after the spin cycle.
Debris from the laundry can pile up and clog up the drain pump’s propeller. To free the drain pump, remove the debris that has been collected in the filter.
Check the washer’s owner manual on how to remove the debris.
#4. Loose or sparking wire connections can also give off a burning smell. Should you smell it, disconnect the washer from the wall outlet and inspect the cable along its length.
Are there any cuts or burn marks? Are you using an adapter?
A loosely fitting plug in the adapter can give off a burning smell. Connect the plug directly into the wall outlet and avoid using an adapter or extension.
You may also be interested in: Why your washing machine may be smoking inside
Does Overloading the Washer Cause the Burnt Rubber Smell?
Overloading the washer applies stress on the belt in the case of belt-driven washers which can accelerate its wear and tear.
As the belt wears, it gives off a burnt rubber smell.
If your washer has a burnt rubber smell, if new, it could just be the strong rubber smell that inlet hoses for new washers may have.
Other likely causes of the burnt smell you can look out for in no particular order are loosely connected top plug that sparks, a damaged power cable, a jammed drain pump, or worn carbon brushes.
You should always contact a qualified washing machine technician.
Hope this helps!