Washing Machine Noise Reduction (6 Ways to Soundproof a Washer)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: loud appliances will be the death of me! If you’ve been reading my articles for a while, you’ll know that my quest for quiet appliances started with quiet kettles and air purifiers. However, until recently, I couldn’t figure out a way to prevent the whirring and vibrating of a bigger machine, like a washer or a dryer.
That’s why I started researching noise reduction tips for washing machines. Today, I come to you with the best ways to soundproof the space around your washer while still making sure that it’s running smoothly.
Essentially, the noise could be caused by several different factors:
- You may be using your washing machine wrong.
- The washer could be old and ready to be replaced.
- Even if it’s not old, it may need repairs.
- Front-loading machines are more powerful and spin differently than top-loading ones, so they typically produce more vibrations. And, as I always say, more power equals more noise.
- The machine may be in direct contact with hard surfaces like hardwood or tile floors and walls, or other appliances or furniture. You can easily prevent the machine from vibrating against these surfaces by implementing some tried and true soundproofing techniques.
In the following segment, I’ve explained how you can best deal with each of these issues. Many of the solutions I’ve listed are pretty budget-friendly too, and if they aren’t, I made sure to include cheaper alternatives as well. So, without further ado, let’s get some peace and quiet.
BEST WAYS TO REDUCE WASHER OR DRYER NOISE
Before I get started, I just wanted to say that I’ve arranged these steps by the logical order in which you might try them. Actually, you can consider this article a step-by-step guide to getting the quiet washer of your dreams. Here’s what you should try first.
1. Make Sure You Aren’t Overloading the Washer
This tip is obvious to most people, but I included it for those of us who are on the slower side when it comes to house chores. All washing machines come with instructions which should tell you their capacity. Since your machine may have a different capacity than mine, I’m reluctant to give conclusive numbers with this one.
However, a simple internet search will tell you that the biggest top-loading machines have a capacity of about 13 pounds. On the other hand, front-loaders should be able to hold about 18 pounds of weight. But, since most of us don’t have a scale next to the washer, you may have to learn to gauge the load by simply looking at it.
The machine should be full, but not bursting, since the clothes need to be able to move around in the water. A machine that’s full to bursting will strain to get its job done, which can cause it to be louder.
Underloading the washer is a similarly bad idea, and one which might also cause an increase in noise, in addition to being a waste of resources. A half-empty washing machine will leave more space for clothes to rustle. If those clothes have hard parts, like grommets, buttons, or zippers, they’re sure to jingle against the metal machine barrel.
2. Assess the Machine’s Condition
If you’re certain that you’re loading your machine properly, you might want to consider its condition. I’ve already listed some of the aspects of a machine which may affect its noise production. So, is your machine old or in need of repairs? How can you even know?
Well, the first thing you could try is taking a peek inside. Is anything loose in the barrel itself? If not, you can take the barrel out and check the inside of the machine. Now, if you’re not very handy yourself, there’s no shame in calling a professional. If all you need is an assessment, many repair technicians won’t charge you for taking a look.
A loud machine may be an indicator that something’s wrong with the washer. In fact, having a loud washing machine is not only an annoyance but potentially a hazard. After all, paying for flood repairs is much more expensive than repairing the appliance on time.
Actually, the most common cause of loud washers is a faulty pulley, which is the part that makes the barrel spin. Fortunately, that issue is fixable. But, if you end up needing to replace your machine, you might consider getting a top-loading one, which should be quieter.
However, if you’ve found nothing wrong with your machine, it may mean that it’s just a bit too powerful to be silent. Actually, if your repair technician already has the machine open, you might want to paste some sound deadening materials to the inside of the machine. These materials are great at preventing sheet metal on cars from vibrating, so they should work for your machine as well.
And now, if you’re sure your washer is fully functional, we can move on to my soundproofing tips.
3. Start With the Floor
Any soundproofing job should begin by assessing the possible causes of the sound. We’ve made sure that the interior of the machine is functioning properly, so we’re moving on to the exterior.
Start by asking yourself where you’re keeping the machine. Which surfaces is it touching? It must be touching the floor, at the very least, so let’s start with that.
Many stronger machines have a tendency to skid along the floor if left to their own devices. Washers are typically either flat on the bottom or they stand on metal feet, which allows them to vibrate across smooth flooring. Having some kind of non-slip material under your machine would prevent this from happening. Separating the machine from the floor will also alleviate some of the structure-borne noise it’s making.
At this point, you may be asking yourself if I could have been a bit more specific on the “non-slip material” front. Well, you’re in luck, because I just recently wrote a whole article on rubber anti-vibration pads and mats for washing machines. In it, I recommended different types of products at varying price points, so you should be able to find something that will suit your machine.
Now, if you wanted to use things you have around the house, you should check out my floor soundproofing article. Any of my cheap soundproofing suggestions from that article should reduce the noise your machine makes in contact with the floor. In fact, for the most minimum-effort and low-cost solution, you could just fold up an old blanket and push it under the machine. However, that might not help the machine stay put if it’s vibrating, so you might end up getting a rubber mat anyway.
4. Cover the Machine With Blankets
Another suggestion I made in my article about anti-vibration pads is to try covering the machine with a regular or a soundproof blanket. Actually, prior to writing that piece, I explained exactly how you could use blankets on laundry machines in my article on soundproofing with blankets.
So, here’s how I worked out the particulars of using blankets to soundproof appliances:
- You could simply take any old blanket (or a soundproof one) and toss it over the machine.
- If you care about appearances, you may want to trim the blanket down. However, you should only do that with old blankets you don’t care about, not soundproof or moving blankets.
- You can purchase two soundproof blankets that are about as wide as the washer, and long enough to reach the floor once you center it on top of the machine. The two blankets will allow you to completely wrap all sides of the machine, even the bottom.
I explained all of these options in greater detail in the article I linked above. And of course, I listed my favorite products to use for this step in my article about soundproof and moving blankets.
5. Pad the Sides of the Machine
You’re probably thinking: why do I need padding if I just covered the machine with blankets? And, the fact is, you might not need it.
However, if your machine is located in a small room or cupboard, it may be hitting wood or walls as it spins, causing a whole lot of ruckus. So, rather than placing a blanket over it, some thicker padding may be necessary.
You could use several different materials for this step, including thin tiles of acoustic foam and insulation. Having recently written an article comparing three Dynamat products, I even find myself considering Dynaliner as a viable option. It’s a self-adhesive foam insulation material, so it should provide enough padding to soften the machine’s impact on the surrounding surfaces.
However, if you’re looking for the cheapest solution, you can just use any sponge materials to encase your machine. Just use two-sided tape or a spray adhesive to apply the padding to the walls around the machine.
If you don’t want to use adhesive, you can make a sort of a box out of the materials you’re using. For example, if you’re using regular sponges, you’ll cut it according to the dimensions of the machine. Then, you can glue the pieces to each other — making sure to leave the top or front accessible for loading. Once the adhesive sets, you should have a removable soft case for your machine.
6. Soundproof the Laundry Room
When all else fails, you can simply soundproof the whole room the washer is in. Actually, I’ve already written an article which deals with soundproofing the laundry room’s door and floor.
As I have previously mentioned, the floor is the first, and sometimes the only point of contact a machine has. So, most of the noise gets passed along the flooring. But I’ve already explained how you can soundproof the floor under your washer.
The door is the next most vulnerable point for sound to pass through. You’ll need to fill the air gaps in between a door and the door frame. The best way to do that is by covering the door with a blanket. You could also hang up heavy soundproof curtains in front of the door.
Installing a door sweep is a must, especially if your door has a big gap between it and the floor. You can also just stuff towels under the door, as a temporary solution.
Finally, there are various ways you could soundproof the walls. You can use foam or fabric acoustic panels or cover them with blankets or curtains.
More ON SOUNDPROOFING A WASHING MACHINE
By now, your washer should be as quiet as it can be. As with all soundproofing, we started by searching for the ways sound can spread from the washing machine. We found that the floor is the most important external factor. However, the machine may also be surrounded by hard surfaces on all sides, which can be problematic.
Of course, checking the inside of the machine first is incredibly important as well. After all, many external measures wouldn’t work if something was loose on the inside.
Hopefully, this article has also enabled you to keep exploring soundproofing methods you can implement in all corners of your house or apartment. Ultimately, my goal here is to make sure everyone can have a quiet and serene life.