If your washing machine has spinning problems or stops spinning altogether, then there must be a problem with its agitator. An agitator is a spindle right in the center of the washing machine drum where the clothes are washed. It is responsible for spinning, shifting, and moving the clothes around during a wash cycle. Overuse can wear it out, and there might be some other problems causing the dysfunction. To troubleshoot, you need to learn how to remove washing machine agitator.
Types of Washing Machine Agitators
Washing machine agitators are made in different ways. Some are powered by the motor’s direct transmission, while others rotate by way of a belt. Some are quite easy to remove, while some need to be unbolted. Before you learn how to remove washing machine agitator, you need to be familiar with the types. Here they are:
Straight vane agitators. These agitators are found in most top load washers. An agitator of this type is a spindle that has vanes or fins coming out of its sides. A straight vane agitator, as a whole, does the spinning and oscillating. However, it does not do much deep cleaning for the clothes that float on the surface of the wash drum.
Dual Action Agitators. A dual-action agitator is an improved and more efficient version of the straight vane type. It has a top piece and a bottom piece so that all the clothes, from those at the bottom of the drum up to those that are near the surface, are spun in all directions, ensuring a deeper clean.
Front-Loading Washers. The spinning and oscillating in front load washers are a function of the wash drum itself and not just a single drill-like agitator. The clothes then are tumbled around as you would when you shake a container, and not spun from the middle. Since the rotating occurs outside and not in the middle as in an agitator, front-loading washers do not damage clothes in the long run. These are more efficient since they do not require a lot of water, and maybe more planet-friendly options.
Pulsator Washers. Another type that does not use a plastic agitator is a pulsator washer. Neither does it have a rotating tub. What it uses instead is the pulse of water coming out of jets surrounding the machine. The tumbling and spinning action all come from the pressure and direction of the water.
Removing the Washing Machine Agitator
How to remove washing machine agitator may differ according to its type, but generally, here are a few basic steps you can start with.
- Ensuring that the washing machine is unplugged from a power source, open the appliance’s lid and take off the agitator cap.
- Unscrew the metal bolt that holds the agitator if you see any.
- Take the agitator, clean it, and start troubleshooting.
- Once repairs are done, return the agitator back in place.
- Attach the metal bolt that is in place using a screwdriver.
- Replace the agitator cap.
Knowing the basics of removing a washing machine agitator, let’s go through some agitator types and see how they should be taken apart. There are bolted and non-bolted agitators.
Bolted agitators require screwdrivers and wrenches to take them off the drum. The agitator cap may be pried off just by using a flat screwdriver. Simply stick the screwdriver onto the cap to pop it off. Then, it will reveal the metal bolt or nut. Use a socket wrench to remove this until you find the agitator. Just pull it up to remove.
Non-bolted agitators, on the other hand, are pretty easy to remove. You won’t need many tools since there are no metal bolts or nuts that need unscrewing. You can directly take it out with a bit of force. If the agitator does not come off, pour a little oil onto its sides to loosen it up.
You still need to remove a fabric softener dispenser in some models before you could get to the agitator. There may be a ring on the bottom of the fabric conditioner dispenser that you need to lift to finally expose the agitator.
When Your Agitator is Stuck
In case your agitator is stuck due to years of use, proper care is needed when taking it out. The build-up from soap, chemicals from detergent and other cleaning solutions, and water could harden some parts of the agitator and cause it to get stuck. How to remove washing machine agitator when it’s stuck? You need the appropriate tools to remove it the right way, without causing any further damage. After unplugging your washing machine, follow these steps:
- Remove the bolt, the one that holds the agitator in place, using a socket wrench. Be sure that this is taken off before pulling the agitator up.
- To loosen the stuck agitator, let its base soak in hot water to dissolve any soap residue that contributes to the hardening of these parts. See to it that the base of the agitator is submerged in water. Let it stay for a few minutes.
- Take a strong rope, about five feet long, and fasten this around the neck of the agitator.
- Insert a five-feet long 2 x 4 plank underneath the rope. This plank will serve as a lever to remove the agitator. Tie the ends of the rope securely onto the plank. This should produce a pair of ‘handles’ around your agitator, where the plank should be in place.
- Line the edge or rim of your washing machine with a towel. This will serve as a protective cushion as you apply pressure in the removal of the agitator.
- As a lever, use the plank to pull the agitator off by positioning one end firmly on the rim of the washing machine. Pull the opposite side up to yank the agitator up. Increase pressure on the lower part of the lever by raising the opposite part, the upper lever. But do it so gradually, until the agitator comes off.
When in doubt, it’s always best to call a technician who knows how to remove washing machine agitator better and has the right tools for it. It saves you time and effort, and while it may cost you, it will spare you from incurring damages to your washing machine. This would be more expensive in the long run. Having an expert do the work ensures that your washing machine’s problem is diagnosed properly and addressed efficiently. You may also ask an expert for the best care and maintenance of your agitator and your entire washing machine. Know more about cleaning appliances.