Which? has said 280 washing machines have exploded
Consumer group Which? has said hundreds could be at risk after frightened families revealed the DOORS blew off their appliances.
An investigation found 280 of the washing machines have blown so far – meaning many more could follow.
Experts said the problem was being caused by coins, keys, children’s toys and belt buckles hitting the glass door at high speed – weakening it over time – as well as the main drum being over-filled.
And it is the newer models which pose higher risk.
Machines with higher spin cycles and bigger doors can be more likely to smash – as well as cheaper models.
Which? said 115 of the 280 machines which exploded were Beko appliances and 10 per cent were made by HotPoint.
Families have said they heard glass blow out all over their kitchens
Just before my hand reached the switch to turn off the machine, there was a loud bang, and I screamed
Jennie James, 65, from Milton Keynes, was among those who reported her appliance exploding.
The grandmother and said the door of her machine suddenly smashed leaving her floor covered in a sheet of broken glass, after making a loud whirring noise.
She said: “Just before my hand reached the switch to turn off the machine, there was a loud bang, and I screamed.
“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.”
Debbie Flint, 34, had a lucky escape last year.
She told how her two-year-old son Jack was playing in front of the family’s washing machine just moments before it exploded.
The terrified mum said: “He was very lucky. Kids get fascinated with things like that and sometimes he puts his face near to the washing machine to watch it.
“There were big chunks of glass. If he was by the machine, they could have hit him in the eyes or the face.”
Debbie Flint 34 and son Jack Flint 2, with her Hotpoint washing machine
The machine owned by the Flint family was two-and-a-half years old.
Liz Reynolds from Harlow in Essex suffered the same experience.
The 35-year-old said the blast involving her one-year-old machine was “potentially deadly”.
She said: “With no warning, the washing machine door exploded, sending huge chunks and triangular shards flying 15ft across my kitchen.
“It was pretty frightening. Had our son been there, the door is at eye level for him so he would have been in the firing line of all the glass.”
The 280 cases took place over a five-year period since 2010.
But there are fears the figure could rise sharply.
Neil Howieson, secretary of the national trade association for domestic appliance repairers (DASA), said: “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.”
A spokesman for Beko said it is meeting current European standards for breakages and described the issue as “extremely rare”.
He said: “Out of more than three million washing machines sold by Beko since 2010, there have been 115 reported incidents, less than 0.003 per cent.”
Earlier this year tumble dryers were found to be Britain’s second-biggest cause of house fires, with almost one bursting into flames every day.
Fire brigades across the country were called to 926 tumble dryer fires between 2011 and 2013, amounting to 309 each year – but millions of faulty models have still not been recalled.
Last year there was one house fire a day caused by tumble dryers
Which? said many of the appliances were known to have a fault but owners were not warned. There are concerns that manufacturers are not recalling or repairing products they know have problems.
Even if they do issue a recall, there is no system in place for them to know who has bought the products and where they live.
Mishell Moloney, 49, was killed in a fire at her home in Frankley, Birmingham, earlier this year.
Although unconfirmed it is believed to have been sparked by her tumble dryer.