Cable ties and floor cloths, or: How to fix your washing machine… #householdtips

It’s something every woman (and man) dreads. Your previously law-abiding washing machine starts misbehaving… Instead of softly churning the washing around, supplying a reassuring background burr to daily life chez vous, it now sounds like a fireworks party out of control. And it’s scary.

Exactly this happened in my flat just recently. Sometime around New Year, my machine started making the odd little thud. I would switch it on, it would go, burr burr burr thud burr a couple of times, then settle down to wash. That was all. It was easily ignored…

Life went on in N.E. Switzerland. January gave way to February, and I became conscious that the washing machine was now going, burr burr burr THUD burr as it started. I made a habit of closing the bathroom door when it was on. (Our machine stands in the corner of the guest loo/shower room.)

Then the thuds started to come on the spin cycle too. They grew louder… and louder… and more frequent, and I took to washing when I knew the neighbours were out. Then last Saturday, I switched the machine on. Burr burr THUD THUD THUD BANG BANG… Spin THUD spin BANG THUD… The entire flat was shaking.
Monday morning, I phoned the company who provided the machine. I wasn’t hopeful. Ten to one they’d say, ‘time for a new one’ – and I knew what a palaver that had been the last time. But no.

‘We’ll send someone out,’ an efficient female voice assured me. She told me the charge for the call-out and for each half-hour of the repair person’s time, plus parts, and I swallowed. Was this really worth it for a nine-year-old machine? Wouldn’t it be less expensive in the long run to get a new one straightaway? Hope dies last, though, so I agreed.

A cheerful young repairman arrived the following morning. I explained the problem, and he opened his tool box and spread a selection of complicated and technical equipment across most of the floor space in the guest loo.

I leaned in the doorway, and he switched on the machine.
Burr burr THUD BANG THUD. Spin BANG THUD BANG.
He switched it off again quickly and vanished round the back of the machine. For a few minutes, all you could hear was heavy breathing. (His.) Then his head popped up.

‘Have you got an old cloth you don’t need?’

Who hasn’t? Off I went to fetch some old cloths, and returned to find him standing at the back of the machine clutching a couple of cable ties. He chose an old floor cloth from my selection of rags and tea towels, demanded a pair of scissors (complicated and technical tool boxes don’t contain scissors) and vanished again. I went back to leaning in the doorway. More heavy breathing.

Then he stood up, came round the front, rearranged the machine in its space and switched it on.
Burr burr burr burr burr burr burr… Spin spin spin spin spin…

I gaped at him, and he explained. A pipe inside had worked loose over time, and started banging on the casing. All he’d done was tighten it and add some padding, just in case. He packed up his complicated and technical tool box, minus the cable ties, wished me a nice day, and left. Shaken to the core, I went for a sit down. To think I had very nearly bought a new machine – and he had solved the problem with two cable ties and an old floor cloth.

The really interesting part will come when the bill arrives, though. Will I be charged for those cable ties? Watch this space…
Edited 9.05.22 to add – I wasn’t!! 🙂

This entry was posted in Life in Switzerland, The Writing Life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Cable ties and floor cloths, or: How to fix your washing machine… #householdtips

  1. barbtaub says:

    I know that sound. It makes regular appearances in my nightmares. So congratulations on the cable ties & cleaning rag repair!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. nellifant says:

    This made me laugh – thank you! Earlyish in the pandemic, my washing machine swallowed a face mask and made horrible noises. “No” says my brother-in-law (gas fitter by trade, but all-round handyman) “That couldn’t possibly have happened”. But when he looked, sure enough, a face mask was blocking the waste pipe. Like you, I’m very glad we didn’t splash out on a new one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. nellifant says:

    PS Why can I ‘like’ comments on your blog, but not the posts themselves?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fairy Queen says:

    I try to do laundry only once a week to save energy. Also every now and then I put a little vinegar, doing a wash with the empty washer, to remove the limescale. All washing machines are built to break after a certain period. Did you know? They do it specifically to make people always buy and spend money.
    Here’s Queen from Italy. Love and serenity to everyone 🌻🌼🌸🌹🌺

    Liked by 1 person

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