Washing machine drums: 16 Technical Questions Answered

Washing Machine Drum is like a rotating tub that moves during a washing cycle and contains tiny holes to allow the water to move in and out. These drums are either made up of porcelain-coated steel, Stainless steel, OR hard plastic material and are supported by an outer tub that prevents leakage. The average lifespan of a washing machine drum is around 10 years.

Washing Drums come in different types and sizes and may seem confusing to a layperson or individuals who are hearing this for the first time.

Here are the 16 answers you must know about a washing drum.

What is a Drum in Washing Machine?

A washing machine drum simply refers to an inner tub that rotates during a washing cycle. It is like a tub with tiny holes where you load all your laundry items. The entire wash cycle is performed in the inner drum, which is supported by an outer tub to prevent water from leaking into the machine.

There are mainly two types of Drums:

  • Plastic Drum: These types of drums are less prone to corrosion due to the harsh effects of detergents and hard water. Furthermore, it’s easy on your pockets and considered to be an economical option when compared to the steel ones. Plastic drums are extremely common in economically priced top-loaders.
  • Steel Drum: These types of drums are common in front-loaders and premium top-loaders. It is more expensive than the plastic one but considered to be gentle on clothes.

What is a Diamond drum?

A diamond drum is a rotating tub that is embossed with diamond-shaped tiny holes which prevent fabrics from sticking out, thereby limiting the damage to fabrics. These drums are mostly made up of stainless steel and tend to perform better than plastic drums.

The surface of a diamond drum creates a gentler environment for cleaning the clothes during the wash cycle. Diamond drums are less likely to damage fabrics and promote tangle-free wash when compared to regular conventional drums.

What are washing machine drums made of?

Washing machine drums are made up of durable hard plastic (polypropylene) OR porcelain-coated steel OR stainless steel. Stainless steel drums offer more premium features and tend to withstand high RPMs. They also tend to be strong, durable, and last up to 20 years.

Most budget-friendly Top-Loaders come with a plastic drum whereas Steel ones are mostly provided in Front-Loaders and premium top-loaders. 

Also Read: Are washing machines waterproof outside?

What are a Vertical Drum and a Horizontal Drum?

The main difference between a Vertical Drum and a Horizontal Drum is the placement. The Horizontal drums are placed horizontally in front-loaders, whereas the vertical drums are placed vertically in top-loaders.

horizontal vs vertical drum

Changing the position of the drum has some significant advantages, in terms of effective fabric cleaning experience and energy efficiency.

What holds a washing machine drum in place?

There are two tubs in a washing machine, the inner tub, and the outer tub. The inner tub has tiny holes that allow the water to move in and out. Whereas the outer tub supports the inner tub and is attached to the base. Furthermore, the holes in the outer tub provide access to the drum spider responsible to support the inner as well as the outer tub. If the drum spider is not fitted well the washing machine may wobble when spinning.

It’s important to secure the drum with shipping bolts or transit bolts when moving your washer in order to prevent the shock absorbers from breaking.

Also Read: How to keep the washing machine in a small bathroom?

Are all washing machine drums having the same size?

Not all drums have the same size. The sizes are measured based on the weight holding capacity of the washer, and so they are accordingly designed in various sizes. The standard drum sizes hold anywhere between 6.5 to 8 kgs of fabric.

Note: The weight capacity of a washer is measured as per the weight of dry clothes. For e.g. a washer featuring with 7kg capacity, means it can wash up to 16 pounds of dry clothes. In the same way if a washer measures between 3.1 to 4 cubic feet, it can wash clothes weighing between 12 to 16 pounds.

Also Read: How do you clean the washing machine agitator?

What is the best drum size for a washing machine?

Drum size is measured in cubic feet units, for example, 4 cubic feet-sized washers will have the capacity to wash anywhere between 6 to 8 kg (12 to 18 pounds) of garments with ease.

Drum size is also calculated according to the weight of your dry garments e.g. A washer advertised as 6 Kg capacity can easily wash up to 8 kgs (up to 18 lbs) of dry clothes.

To choose a perfect drum size, you should have a fair idea about how much laundry you will be accumulating before deciding to wash.

Also Read: 20 Things to Know about Fabric Softeners

Which type of drum is best for a washing machine?

Stainless steel drums are considered as best and most preferred for a washer due to their ability to withstand high-speed spins and rotations. Furthermore, it offers more premium features and causes less wear and tear to fabrics.

If gentle, yet effective cleaning is a top priority for you, it’s always good to go for diamond drums. With diamond drums, fabrics are less likely to stick out, which also means tangle-free wash and less wear and tear.

Also Read: Top Load VS Front Load Detergents

Why won’t my washing machine drum go round and is stiff?

Possibly the drive belts may have been detached from its wheel. Though it won’t stop the agitation and vibration during the wash cycle, the washer will not spin. In order to confirm this issue; simply unplug the washer and open the back cover to check if the belts are aligned over the pulley system or not.

If that is not the case try removing the excessive clothes from the drum, and try to run the wash cycle.

If that does not help, check the bearings, chances are they may have been worn out and causing friction, thereby making it hard for the drum to move.

In the worst case, it may be the motor that has either seized or is struggling to get the power.

Also Read: 11 things you must know about High-Efficiency Laundry Detergents

Can you turn a washing machine drum by hand?

If the drum is stuck or jammed, as a troubleshooting step, you may try to turn the drum manually with your hands. Simply open the lid (door) and spin the drum with a good force; this may fix a temporarily jammed drum.

Also Read: Is it necessary to have a stand for the washing machine?

What breaks a washing machine drum and how do I know if it’s broken?

Overloading your washer with excess laundry can damage the drum’s alignment. Washers are designed according to the weight holding capacity. If it is overloaded, it can affect the suspension springs and the motor.

Another mistake which a lot of us make is, not checking the clothes before putting them in for a wash. Hard metal objects such as coins, clips, screws, keys, etc can easily venture in through your clothes, thereby causing serious damage to your washer’s inner and outer drums.

Below are a few symptoms of a broken wash drum:

  • The washing drum will not spin.
  • Make strange sounds and unusual vibrations during the wash cycle.
  • The washer seems to be running fine but the drain does not work.
  • The drum appears to be slightly lowered or out of its position.

Also Read: Can Vinegar damage a washing machine?

How do I know if my washing machine bearings have gone?

There are various symptoms that indicate the bearings of the washers have turned loose or are faulty.

If the machine makes a rumbling sound while running, this indicates the possibility of a loose or faulty bearing. You will hear the inner drum banging around, inside the washer.

Over the course of time, faulty bearings can cause severe damage to your washer, common parts that may get impacted are the inner drum, outer drum, shaft, and other electrical components.

Bearings are meant to last for 8 to 10 years, one cannot be sure how sooner or longer they may wear out, as it totally depends on how cautious you are with your washer.

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Why is my washing machine knocking?

Your wash drum may knock due to uneven fabrics added to the wash cycle.

Knocking usually occurs when you manually skip a few steps and jump towards the spinning or drying process. If you are simply using the spinning process, then make sure the clothes placed inside the drum are properly balanced around.

Immediately stop the spinning process if there is a knocking noise, as there are chances that the drum is not able to balance the fabrics during the spin cycle.

Another common reason is fitting or the alignment may have gone bad.

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How do I get my washing machine drum back on track?

If your wash drum has gone off track, then you may consider a few steps:

  • If this happens during the wash cycle then turn off and unplug the washer immediately.
  • Open the door and check if the load is stable or not.
  • Try removing the clothes from the washer and place them in a stable position around the inner drum.
  • Now turn the washer ON and check if the issue has been fixed.

Lastly, make sure the washer is placed on a flat and gripped surface.

Also Read: How to clean mold from the washing machine?

Can washing machine drums be replaced?

Yes, the drums can be replaced in the event of any damage or malfunction. Although the replacement cost would sound expensive, it will add a new life to your washer. Before replacing the wash drum, check if it can be repaired. In such situations, taking an expert opinion is highly recommended.

Is it worth replacing the drum on the washing machine?

Drum replacement decisions depend on the extent to which your drum is damaged. Replacement of the drum would make more sense if the repair cost and the labor cost are similar to a new drum.

Having said that, you can follow the below guidelines when a replacement or repair is needed.

  • Check if your washer is still within the warranty period.
  • Call the manufacturer’s helpline for more detailed information and see if you can exchange the damaged washer and get a discount.
  • It is highly recommended to have an expert’s advice while considering a replacement of the drum.

Lastly, If your washer has been repaired multiple times for several damages or failures, then it won’t make much sense to go for a repair again, It’s best to get it replaced.

Also Read: What is Soil Level in Washing Machine?

Final thoughts

Choose a drum size as per your daily laundry needs.

Do not confuse yourself with the variety of drum types and sizes. End of the day all you need is a perfect washer to fulfill your laundry needs. Hence choose it wisely.

Try to stick to below best practices:

  • Always place a washer on a flat surface.
  • Avoid overloading the washer.
  • Add specific fabrics based on the wash type selected for e.g. lighter clothes should not be mixed with heavy fabrics and vice versa.
  • If you notice any unusual behavior from the washer, the first step is to turn off the washer before you inspect the fault.
  • Follow DIYs for easy fixes on the faults wherever applicable. If you are unsure about any specific fault, then do not proceed to fix yourself.
  • For technical resolutions, it is recommended to consult experts.

For any other questions related to the washing machines, you can always refer to the FAQ section where we try to cover almost all questions related to washing machines.

Also Read: How to use a portable washing machine effectively?