Why Are Clothes Wrapped Around an Agitator?

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Washing machines efficiently clean your laundry by swishing them around continuously. The agitator is there to help with the process of removing dirt and stains from those clothes. However, you might find that your clothes wrap around the agitator and get stuck. Why does this happen?

Clothes can wrap around an agitator for a long list of reasons. Firstly, long-sleeved items and those with strings or straps are more prone to wrapping around the agitator. Besides that, an excessive or unbalanced load can also cause the same problem. Finally, a lack of water or an unseated agitator can also increase the chances of clothes wrapping around the agitator.

This guide will walk you through several possibilities that you can consider for your washer. In many cases, changing how you load the washer can solve the problem.

Let’s see how that can help.

Related: Top Loading Washer Without Agitator. What Are Pros and Cons?

Why Are My Clothes Wrapping Around The Agitator?

There are several reasons your clothes keep wrapping around the agitator. For starters, certain fabrics are more prone to wrap around the agitator than others. Besides that, the washer is likely overloaded, unbalanced, or the agitator has become unseated.

The good news is that there are no parts you’ll have to repair. Instead, you can avoid these problems by being more mindful of how you load your washer.

Related: Why Is Frigidaire Dryer Not Spinning – Troubleshooting Guide

Let’s take a closer look at each of the causes mentioned above.

Certain Types Of Clothes Are Prone To Wrapping

First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand that some clothes are naturally prone to wrap around the washer’s agitator. In particular, long clothing items, like neckties, scarves, undergarments, and even socks are more likely to end up that way.

Other items that fall into this category are items with strings or straps, like aprons. As these items tumble around in the washer, long pieces like the apron strings can get caught around the agitator. When that happens, it will cause the entire apron to wrap around it. 

How to fix it:

The best way to prevent this is to use a mesh laundry bag. These bags allow water and detergent to flow through and wash the laundry items inside. But, simultaneously, none of those items will get a chance to wrap around the agitator either.

Washer Overloading

Another common cause for clothes wrapping around the agitator is an overloaded washing machine. When there are far too many items loaded into your washer drum, none of them will get a chance to tumble around freely.

For starters, some clothing items will be squeezed against the agitator, causing them to wrap around it.

To make matters worse, a piece of clothing accidentally wrapping around the agitator won’t get a chance to unwrap itself as the drum turns.

How to fix it:

Thankfully, the solution to this problem is very straightforward. 

Firstly, never overload your washing machine. As a general rule of thumb, your washer should only ever be 2/3 full at any given time, as that’s considered a full load.

Of course, each manufacturer will have unique recommendations for how many clothes you should put into your washer. Those recommendations will also differ between models that have different sized drums.

So, aside from following the rule of thumb (i.e. ⅔ of the washer capacity is the maximum load size), you should also refer to the user manual for the manufacturer’s suggestions.

Read: Washing Machine Load Capacity Guide

Water Levels Are Too Low

Similar to an overloaded washer is when the water levels are too low in relation to the load size. In simple terms, the bigger your load of laundry, the higher your water level setting should be for the washer.

When the water levels are too low, the clothes inside your washer will not be able to tumble or turn around freely. So, they will likely catch onto the agitator and wrap around it. As soon as that happens, that clothing item will not be able to free itself from the agitator.

How to fix it:

The most effective solution for this problem is to automatically allow the washer to choose the water level based on the load size. Many washers, especially newer and more innovative models, will measure the load size and fill the correct amount of water.

However, some older or more basic washer models do not have that capability. You must be more mindful of your water level settings for these washers.

When setting the water levels manually, try your best to match the water levels with the load size as much as possible. Incorrect water levels are bad for the clothes either way because:

Unbalanced Load

You can consider a laundry load unbalanced when there’s too much weight on one side of the drum. Ideally, the weight should be distributed evenly throughout the drum so that it can spin in perfect balance.

Related: Why Is The Washing Machine Spin Cycle Very Loud?

Unbalanced loads are terrible for washing machines and for several different reasons. In this case, the most important reason is that unbalanced loads can cause items to wrap around the agitator and not be able to get free.

How to fix it:

Typically, a load of laundry will balance itself when the washer drum turns. However, that won’t happen if the load consists of huge pieces like curtains or large blankets. 

The best thing you can do to balance the laundry load is to avoid bunching them together when you load the washer. Instead, spread the items out as evenly as possible, even before shutting the door and starting the wash cycle.

Agitator Gets Unseated

Lastly, the same problem can also occur if the agitator itself gets unseated. For example, if you pull any items of the washer too hard, some might snag on the agitator and pull it out of its place.

When that happens, it creates a small gap between the bottom of the agitator and the washer drum. That gap will trap things like long sleeves, strings, and straps, catching clothes and causing them to wrap around the agitator.

Worse still, some of those fabrics might tear if they get stuck in that gap and get pulled on too hard.

Read: Why Is Washing Machine Spin Cycle Is Very Loud?

How to fix it:

To solve this problem, you must first empty the washer.

  • Then, check to see if there’s a gap between the agitator and the drum. You can do so by feeling around those parts with your fingers.
  • Once you find that there’s a gap, first make sure that nothing has fallen into that gap.
  • Then, try to push the agitator back firmly into place.

The agitator will be different depending on your washer brand and model. You can push some back into place by hand. For others, you might have to tighten a bolt or screw that holds the agitator into place.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some other frequently asked questions that you might have about this problem.

Why Do My Clothes Get Twisted In The Washing Machine?

Firstly, some clothes are more prone to twisting in the washing machine than others. For example, long-sleeved tops and clothes with strings or straps can twist easily when going through a wash cycle.

Besides that, clothes get twisted when you load them into the washer in bunches. Load each clothing item loosely and individually into the washer to prevent that from happening.

Why Does My Washer Tie Clothes In Knots?

Interestingly, knotted items are not the result of a washing machine problem. Instead, these things happen because you didn’t sort the laundry items correctly before entering the washer.

For example, clothes that bunch together or heavy items mixing with light items can cause your laundry to come out in knots.

Why Does My Blanket Get Wrapped Around The Agitator?

There are two likely reasons to consider when your blanket wraps around the agitator. Firstly, the blanket must be spread evenly throughout the washer drum when you load it into the washer.

Secondly, you must select the correct wash program for heavy items like your blanket. That’s known as the ‘bedding’ wash program on many models. It ensures that there’s enough water to wash the blanket, and it uses a lower spin cycle speed. 

Both of those settings prevent blankets from wrapping around the agitator.

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