Hundreds of washing machines are seeing their doors explode firing out broken glass, a new report has found.
Consumer group Which? has uncovered the problem with washing machines and some tumble dryers following an investigation in to 280 shattered doors.
Terrified families told how the doors exploded narrowly missing young children.
Investigators say these 280 could be the tip of the iceberg as these are only the ones where victims have contacted Which? to tell them about it.
Experts blame cheaper materials for the explosions believed to be caused by hard and heavy items hitting and weakening glass doors.
One victim Jennie James, 65, from Milton Keynes, told how her washing machine exploded after she noticed a loud whirring sound coming from it.
She said: “Just before my hand reached the switch to turn off the machine, there was a loud bang, and I screamed.”
The door had exploded, covering the kitchen floor and the inside of the machine in shards of glass.
Jennie James was lucky to have stepped out of the way before the door exploded
Jennie, wearing shorts and sandals, had stepped to the side of the four-year-old Beko machine just in time in August.
She added: “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.”
The report, obtained by the Mirror, found items such as coins, keys, children’s toys and belt buckles hit the glass door at high speed and weaken it over time.
Which? says newer models also have higher spin speeds and bigger doors which make them more prone to smashing.
Neil Howieson, secretary of the national trade association for domestic appliance repairers (DASA), says: “All modern washing machines monitor how well the drum is balanced as it’s gradually ramping up to the higher spin speeds.
“If this system fails, or isn’t quite precise enough, the drum can be very unbalanced as it’s building up speed.
“In this case, heavy, wet clothing in the drum could potentially be hitting the inside of the door with an abnormally large impact, which can cause the door glass to shatter.”
The problem could be because of heavy objects hitting the glass
Experts believe the fact that white goods are cheaper than ever could also be a factor due to poorer quality materials being used.
The average cost of a washing machine adjusted for inflation was £714 and by 2015 it was £404.
Of the 280 reports detected by Which? since 2010, 115 (41%) happened to Beko machines. This was far more than the next brand which was Hotpoint with 10%.
Beko’s market share of these machines is thought to be between 10% and 20%.
Beko insisted that it is meeting current European standards for breakages but declined to respond when asked why it was happening,
A spokesman added: “The issue is extremely rare. Out of more than three million washing machines sold by Beko since 2010, there have been 115 reported incidents, less than 0.003%.”
Which? said over filling machines can be a problem as can items such as bath mats and trainers.
Mr Howieson added: “These types of items are extremely heavy once wet. Without other items in the drum to balance them out, the machine might not work as it should.”
If your washer or dryer is making an unusual noise experts say hanging a tea towel over the door can prevent the worst of flying glass.
Our exposure of the exploding dryer scandal
The remains of a burnt-out tumble dryer
The Mirror has led the way in exposing the ongoing exploding tumble dryer scandal.
We have repeatedly demanded answers from Whirlpool which is responsible for 5.3 million dryers sold between 2004 and 2015 which contain a fault that means fluff can catch fire.
We confronted shocked bosses when they flew in to its UK headquarters from around the world for emergency talks about the crisis.
The US electricals giant has so far refused to disclose when its Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda brands – purchased by Whirlpool in 2014 – first knew about the fault.
Millions of Brits are stuck waiting up to a year for Whirlpool engineers to repair the dangerous fault because the firm refuses to issue a full product recall and replace all affected models.
The Mirror is calling for the Government to introduce a public product recall register so consumers know where to go online to find out if they have a death trap in their home.