A washing machine drum is generally made of metal or plastic, and occasionally both, since a single drum has both an outer and inner tub. The outer tub holds liquid and the inner one contains the laundry to keep clothes from entering the drain and possibly clogging it. While you can make minor repairs to a drum, such as eliminating some superficial blemishes and adjusting its alignment, if it's leaking, replacement is really the only option.

Interior of washing machine
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Washer drum repairs can run the gamut, although most require minor repair.

Superficial Blemish

Once and awhile, a drum will become damaged from an object that you might have placed inside. When this happens, you might see a scratch in the drum. As long as the drum isn't leaking and the scratch is on the surface, you can typically cover it with touch-up paint. Most appliance repair stores sell touch-up paint for plastic and metal drums, both galvanized and stainless steel ones. Just make sure to purchase paint for your specific washer brand and model to ensure the paint matches.

Adjust Alignment

If a drum rattles or vibrates inside the cabinet during the wash or spin cycles, it's typically because the washer and consequently the drum aren't balanced. If this is the first time the washer rattled, it's probably because the laundry in the drum is bunched on one-side. Open the lid of the washer and rearrange clothes, so they're more evenly distributed.

If the washer rattles and thumps each time you run a wash cycle, the washer probably isn't stable, which is making the drum unbalanced. Place a level on the washer. Adjust the washer's alignment so that each leveling foot touches the floor and bears no more than 25 percent of the washer's total weight. If your washing machine doesn't have leveling feet, you can adjust for inconsistencies in the laundry room floor with shims placed beneath the washer at its corners.

Squeals or Squeaks

Most washer drums have a support bearing that props it up and allows it to rotate evenly. When the lubricant that surrounds the bearing dries, it could cause the drum to squeal and squeak during the agitation and spin cycles. Place one or two drops of high-temperature grease on the bearing and wipe off the excess. Contact a washer repair technician to lubricate the bearing for you if you're not certain where to place the grease.


For the most part, a leaky washing machine drum must be replaced. Rarely, will a washer technician be able to patch a hole or seal a crack. Although it's possible to replace a drum, Repair Clinic states that drum replacement could be costly, and in certain circumstances, it might make more sense to upgrade the washer, especially if it's more than 5 years old.