5 Likely Reasons Your Washing Machine Has a Burnt Rubber Smell

If your washing machine has a burnt rubber smell emitting from it during use, there may be cause for alarm. While this phenomenon isn’t totally uncommon, sometimes it can be linked to a larger issue.

In this article, we will cover what to do if your washing machine has a burnt rubber smell, as well as detail 5 likely causes for this pungent problem.

If you notice your washing machine has a burnt rubber smell, it could be linked to the following causes:

  1. New rubber inlet hoses
  2. Worn carbon brushes
  3. Burning or overheating motor
  4. Clogged drain pump during spin cycle
  5. Loose sparking wire connections

Read on to learn more about what to do if your washing machine has a burnt rubber smell and what might be causing it!

washing machine smells like burnt rubber

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 your clothes or to the washer itself.

5 reasons your washing machine has a burnt rubber smell

CauseSource of SmellAction Required
Inlet HosesNew hoses or hot water running through themAllow the smell to fade over time
Drain Pump OverheatingPump malfunctions or blockagesCheck and clear any blockages or have it serviced
Worn or Damaged BeltTop-loading machinesReplace the belt
Drum Rubbing Against Door GasketHigh spin frictionReplace the gasket

#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. As you wash at higher temperatures, that hose could begin to emit a burnt rubber smell.

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, brushes may be worn and overheated, 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 burnt rubber smell. Do not overload the washing machine.

If the washer drum is unbalanced because of worn bearings, replace the bearings. Contact a qualified washing machine technician for additional support.

washing machine has burnt rubber smell

#4. A clogged drain pump can give off a similar burning smell during or after the spin cycle.

This is due to heat created by the spin cycle and the various materials that can become clogged in your drain pump.

If your washing machine has a burnt rubber smell, you might want to check this pump. 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. In many cases, a drain snake will be the proper tool to clear the debris.

#5. A loose or sparking wire connection 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? If you’re using an adapter or a surge protector, this could be the issue. Large appliances such as washing machines should be plugged directly into an outlet. If your washing machine has a burnt rubber smell, it could have something to do with your electrical connection.

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

washing machine has a burnt rubber smell

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 could conceivably produce a burnt rubber smell, but overloading the washer is never the direct cause of this smell.

Always consult your user manual for troubleshooting advice

The manual for your washing machine typically contains troubleshooting tips that can help you determine what might be causing the issue and might even point out that it is expected for you to notice it in new washers.

When checking your user manual, look for information related to the motor belt or spin belt. In some top-loading washers, these belts are responsible for driving the transmission. A loose, jammed, or worn-out belt can cause a burnt rubber smell. To address the issue, you can follow the guidelines provided in your manual for fixing or replacing the belt.

Additionally, some washer models employ a pump belt to operate the drain pump. If the pump belt fails, you’ll likely notice a burnt rubber smell, and your washer may not drain properly.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you troubleshoot your washing machine:

  • Consult your user manual: Always start by checking the recommended troubleshooting steps in your user manual.
  • Turn off and unplug your machine: Before troubleshooting or attempting to fix any issues, make sure to turn off and unplug your washer for safety reasons.
  • Identify the problematic component: Determine if your washer has a motor belt, spin belt, or pump belt that could be causing the burnt rubber smell.
  • Replace or fix the part: Follow your user manual’s instructions to replace or fix the problematic component. In some cases, it may be best to consult a professional technician for assistance.

As you follow the troubleshooting steps outlined in your user manual, you’ll likely find a solution for the burnt rubber smell. However, if the problem persists or you’re unsure how to fix it, it’s wise to consult a professional technician for help. In the meantime, continue caring for your washing machine by regularly cleaning and maintaining its components.

When to consult a professional about a washing machine with a burning smell

In some cases, you can handle the issue yourself, but it’s always a good idea to consult a professional if you’re unsure.

  • One instance when you should consider calling a professional is if you’ve checked the usual suspects and still can’t find the source of the smell. The problem might be hidden or more complex than initially thought, and an expert can help diagnose and fix it.
  • Another reason to seek professional help is if the issue seems potentially hazardous. If you notice any smoke, sparks, or other dangerous signs, it’s best to unplug your washer and call a professional immediately.
  • If your washer is still under warranty, it’s advisable to contact the manufacturer or seller to check if the repair or replacement is covered. This can save you money and ensure that your machine is fixed by an authorized technician.
  • Lastly, if your washing machine is old and has been giving you trouble regularly, you might want to consider investing in a new washer. As appliances age, they become less efficient and more prone to problems. A professional can help you determine if it’s worth repairing your current machine or if it’s time for an upgrade.

Final thoughts

If your washing machine 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 a 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 if you feel uncomfortable with repairing the appliance yourself.

washing machine has burnt rubber smell

What to do if your washer smells like burning rubber?

If your washing machine has a burnt rubber smell, you may consider unplugging the appliance and checking for clogs in the drain pump, electrical connection issues, or worn parts, such as carbon brushes, a worn-out belt, or a burnt-up motor.

Is there a fire risk if I notice burning smells from appliance?

If you notice burning smells from your appliance, there could be a fire risk. Unplug the device, then search for the source of the smell.

What to do when clothes smell burnt after washing?

If your clothes smell burnt after you wash them or dry them, you’ll need to make sure you turn down the heat setting. If you suspect it’s an issue with the appliance, unplug it and search for the source.

What to do if lg washer smells like burning rubber?

If your washing machine has a burnt rubber smell, it could be related to the rubber inlet hoses used in most newer models. Check to see if those hoses are overheated. If so, you may want to decrease the wash temperature.

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