Troubleshooting a Too-Long Wash Cycle
January 25, 2013 11:33 AM   Subscribe

We have a Whirlpool Duet washing machine (about 2 years old). The cycle is taking WAY too long to complete. The load that's running now should have been done in an hour and ten minutes, so far it's been an hour and a half and there's still 30 minutes left on the timer. No error codes, and it's doing stuff the entire time - the timer just isn't counting down. What gives?

I've read about a problem with suds being detected in the rinse part of the cycle, I'm going to run a clean cycle if this load ever finishes. I know it has a lot of problems balancing a load like 2 bath mats, but I've been noticing more issues with all kinds of loads lately (not sure if it's getting worse or I'm just paying more attention). I'm running a medium sized mixed load right now. I only use HE detergent in the recommended amount.
posted by tealcake to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We also have a Whirlpool Duet (older model), and when it does something weird with the cycle, I unplug for at least 30 minutes (overnight if possible) and so far it has reset back to normal each time.
posted by nanook at 11:38 AM on January 25, 2013

Is it trying to spin up to a high speed, but slowing down repeatedly? If it detects an unbalanced load (or it isn't quite level on the floor or is rocking slightly on its legs), a washing machine can get stuck in a loop of repeatedly trying and failing to spin quick enough.
posted by ssg at 12:39 PM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

seconding ssg. in an apartment where I lived, the washing machine would frequently get stuck on a loop of trying to spin but not quite getting through the spin cycle. I didn't realize that the machine wasn't finishing the wash cycle because it sounded like it was doing things/working, but after 2 hours it dawned on me that it should have been finished. I had never had trouble with unbalanced loads before, so a repair person came to look at the machine and it turned out to be some kind of switch or censor that was faulty in the machine. he replaced it ($50) and the machine was back to normal.
posted by gursky at 1:08 PM on January 25, 2013

Check your water supply. With the lid up, watch the water fill the tub. Is it filling slowly? I had a similar problem the my washer and it turned out that the cold water supply was down to a trickle. It was taking FOREVER to fill up and start the next cycle. Turning up the cold water got the loads done a lot quicker.
posted by Mr.Me at 2:07 PM on January 25, 2013

I noticed similar behavior with my Whirlpool Duet Sport while washing my kid's hockey gear. I'd waited too long and ended up standing in front of the machine for 30 minutes waiting for the cycle to finish, with "18" on the display the whole time. It never did end, so Kid knew what it was to be skating in damp gear that day, I can tell you!

I had never done this before or since, so I have no idea if it has always done this and the countdown has always been "broken", or if it's now taking longer. The clothes are clean, and I typically run it overnight, so I haven't really worried about it.

I'll be watching this thread with interest for ideas. Maybe this is actually something that I should be concerned about.
posted by chazlarson at 3:52 PM on January 25, 2013

Make sure you are not being too generous with detergent. Its an HE washer? Are you using HE detergent? You don't have to, but if you use non-HE detergent you really have to use an incredibly small amount. Too much detergent and it foams up, then spends forever trying to rinse out the suds. I know you mentioned the suds issue in the OP, but I want to suggest that it may be ongoing because you are putting too much detergent in every time. I have a 10 year old Whirlpool Duet set, and I have learned the same lesson myself.
posted by Joh at 5:18 PM on January 25, 2013

Response by poster: I think this morning it was a problem with the rinse part, that's where it was when I went downstairs to check on the laundry. The spin seemed to go fine, I checked on it ~20 minutes after I posted and it was just starting the spin cycle and it was complete in whatever time was left on the timer. I've witnessed the washer having problems with the spin cycle with loads of, say, tons of socks and one or two pairs of pants. That didn't seem to be the problem today though. I use Method detergent which says it's for HE and regular washers (ours is HE). The instructions say 4 pumps, I usually do 2 or 3 since my loads generally aren't super full. Also it's a front loader, sorry if that wasn't clear.

I ran the clean cycle with the special cleaning stuff, and am running a rinse now (per the instructions). I wonder if it is the detergent. It does seem strange for the same detergent to be designed for regular and HE washers.
posted by tealcake at 5:27 PM on January 25, 2013

When this happened to our front-loading HE washer (an LG) the problem was that the filters on the water hoses were clogged with mineral deposits. A scrub with a toothbrush and a rinse solved the issue entirely.
posted by purpleclover at 6:48 PM on January 25, 2013

Do you have well water? We had a problem at one point with the water line leading in being essentially a trickle and doing a load of laundry took an hour and fifteen minutes. At the point where the cold water connected to the machine was a tiny mesh filter, filled with iron residue -- I scrubbed it off and the timing went back to normal.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:04 AM on January 26, 2013

Or what Purple Clover said.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:05 AM on January 26, 2013

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