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DIY: A washing machine that spins slowly

If your washing machine spins slowly, it might not necessarily indicate a serious problem. On the plus side, it means power is getting to the unit. It also means the spin cycle is functioning at least to some extent. A slow spin might be the maximum spin speed available for your chosen wash cycle.

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Slow spin setting

A washing machine that spins slowly might have a slow spin setting built into the programme. In order to protect garments, washing machines will not usually allow you to choose an unsuitable spin speed. Silks and delicates, for example, usually spin more slowly than normal or heavy loads. On some models, you have greater control over the spin but you may have to press the spin button repeatedly to select the correct speed.

Variable spin speed

Some washing machines have a variable spin speed control dial. If you have accidentally turned the spin speed down, the setting might be locked into your wash cycle programme. To achieve a faster spin speed, first interrupt the programme in the usual safe way. Select a faster spin speed, taking account of the care advice on the clothing label. Finally, set the machine going again.

Load balancing system

Some washing machines have a load balancing system. Washing machines employ centrifugal force, so it is important that the rotation of the drum is even and smooth. This is best achieved when the wash load is balanced. When the load is not balanced, the drum may rotate slowly to redistribute the weight more evenly before beginning the spin. This re-balancing action can be misidentified as a slow spin.


A washing machine that is too full may spin slowly. Washing machines have load capacities, often stipulated in the user guide or manual. If you exceed the load capacity greatly, you may cause your washing machine to spin slowly. If you suspect this is the problem, stop the machine and take out some of the load. A jerky spin might indicate an electrical problem, with power getting through to the motor only intermittently. In this case, switch off and unplug the machine and seek professional assistance.

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About the Author

Frank Luger had his first educational resources published in the early 1990s. He worked on a major reading system for Cambridge University Press, became an information-technology adviser and authored interactive whiteboard resources for "The Guardian." Luger studied English literature and holds a Bachelor of Education honors degree from Leeds University.

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