Washing machine doors at risk of shattering

Which? advises caution when loading

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Washing machine

Which? is warning that thousands of washing machine doors may be at risk of exploding.

The consumer group says that Beko appliances are particularly vulnerable, with many Hotpoint machines also affected.

The cause seems to be that, over time, objects like keys and coins weaken the door, as does overloading of the machine. Newer models with higher spin cycles and bigger doors seem to be more vulnerable to breaking.

Jennie James, 65, from Milton Keynes, tells the Daily Mirror that her washing machine first started making a loud whirring sound - and then seemed to explode, showering her kitchen with glass.

"Just before my hand reached the switch to turn off the machine, there was a loud bang, and I screamed," she says.

"My three-year-old granddaughter was running up and down that part of the kitchen with her dolls' pram earlier that day. I'm so thankful that I didn't put the washing on until after the grandchildren had left."

Beko says it meets all European safety standards and claims there have been only 115 recorded incidents, out of three million washing machines sold.

Last summer it was revealed that malfunctioning household appliances like washing machines, dishwashers and cookers had been responsible for 12,000 house fires over the previous three years.

And it was washing machines that were the worst culprits, accounting for 14% of fires.

Recently, though, it's been tumble dryers that have been most in the news, with a Daily Mirror investigation showing that they were causing almost one fire a day.

Most notably, more than three million owners of Whirlpool tumble dryers have been told that their machines are a fire risk and need to be repaired or replaced - although many face an 11-month wait.

Official advice is householders should only run appliances when it's possible to keep an eye on them.

"We recommend that appliances are never left on overnight, or when you leave the house, unless they are specifically designed to remain on, such as fridges and freezers," says Andy Reynolds, electrical safety lead at the Chief Fire Officers Association.

"And, of course, make sure that you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, to warn you if a fire does break out."

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