What’s the best way to pull a washing machine out?

Pulling a washing machine out from under a kitchen worktop may not be easy. Many are very heavy, and they have no wheels. Before even thinking about pulling one out, you need to consider the following. The washing machine is connected to a wall socket, to a water supply, and to a water drain outlet. All of which could stop the washing machine from coming out properly.

You also need to consider that pulling one out could damage your back, and that the washing machine feet could easily damage flooring. So you need to assess several things before just yanking one out. In most cases, the washing machine will need disconnecting first.

Pulling out technique

The best way to pull a washing machine out, is to open the door, and get hold of the door opening at the top of the door seal. Then lift the washing machine up off its front feet, and pull it forward on its back feet. If you aren’t able to lift the machine up at least a centimetre or more, your job may be a lot more difficult. There are more pulling out tips later, including how to pull one out if you can’t open the door, and how to prevent damage to the flooring. But first you should look at the following important pre-pulling out advice.

Mains cable and plug

Unplug the mains cable. If it’s plugged in at the back of the washing machine, you can’t do much with it until the washer is out. But if it plugs in anywhere else, unplug it, and feed the cable back towards the washing machine. Ensure the cable is close enough to the washing machine to allow it to be pulled all the way out. If the cable has been fed through a small hole in a cupboard, and needs to be pulled back through, then it may be necessary to take off the plug.

Fill hose

If you can, turn off any water taps to the washing machine. Sometimes the hoses are very short, or connected away from the washing machine at full stretch. Unless the fill hoses are right behind, or just to the side of the washing machine, you probably need to disconnect the hoses to allow the washing machine to pull forward.

If you overstretch a fill hose, it can easily snap where it connects to the washing machine. If the water tap is still switched on, this would cause water to flood out of the broken hose. You would not get any warning. You’d just be pulling the washing machine forward, then all of a sudden you’d hear something snap followed by a hissing of water.

If you need to unscrew any fill hoses from the tap, you should be very careful. Hopefully you can unscrew the hose by hand. If you need to use pipe pliers or maul grips then be very careful, and make sure you support the body of the tap. If not, you could twist the tap and loosen it from the copper pipe.

Drain hose

Drain hoses are commonly connected to the U-bend under the sink. If so, it’s likely that you won’t be able to pull the washing machine forward with the drain hose still connected. They are usually very easy to disconnect from the U-bend. You just unscrew the plastic connector that the drain hose is pushed onto.

However, the next step is to feed the drain hose back through to as close to the washing machine as possible. This could even require you to push the drain hose through a hole in the cupboard and the plastic connector may not fit. In such cases, you will have to do remove the drain hose from the connector. It’s just a twist and pull. But make sure when you refit everything that the end of the drain hose is pushed on tightly, and does not leak.

Don’t run water into sink

Once the drain hose has been disconnected from the U-bend in the sink, any water poured into the sink may pour out into the cupboard. So either make sure no water gets into the sink until you are finished. Or try stuffing a floor cloth or something into the hole.

Watch the flooring

Before pulling the washing machine forward, you need to ensure the feet aren’t stuck to the floor. They often are. It’s not so necessary on a hard floor, but if on something like lino or cushion floor, pulling the washing machine forward with the feet stuck can easily rip the flooring.

First lift it up at the front to free the front feet if they are stuck to the flooring. Lift the washing machine with the door open and with your hands at the top of the door opening. Then tip it forward to lift the back feet to make sure they aren’t stuck, or free them too. It may be useful to place a towel under the feet to help it slide forward and to help protect the flooring.

Does the flooring go all the way under the washer?

Often the floor covering stops just underneath the washing machine. This happens when the fitter can’t be bothered to fit it all the way under, or if they just don’t realise it’s necessary. As most washing machines are underneath a worktop, you may not know if the flooring goes all the way back or not. If it doesn’t, this means when you pull it forward, the rear feet will probably get caught on the flooring.

When the flooring is tiles, or laminate flooring, this can stop it coming out altogether. In this case, you would need to tilt the washer forward so that the feet lift at the back. When the flooring is a vinyl covering, it can dig right into it and rip it badly.

Washing machine stuck?

If the washing machine is stuck behind the flooring, there are more tips in this article – appliance is stuck behind a tiled floor

How to pull washer out if door won’t open

If the door doesn’t open due to a fault, then you may be able to get some purchase by taking the soap drawer out and lifting via the drawer opening (not easy). Or by lifting from underneath the front of the machine and pulling it forward (even harder). Or with two people, using a combination of both.

Without access to the door opening it can be tricky – especially if the washer is also full of laundry and water. In this scenario, you need to try and get rid of the water to make it lighter. There are plenty of tips on doing that here – how to drain a washing machine full of water

Tips for pushing a washing machine back in place

Pushing a washing machine back in place can be easy, or very tricky, depending on the floor surface. Walking the washing machine back by pushing one side a little then the other is the best way. Also, push as low down the front of the washing machine as you can.

Be careful, many washing machines have flimsy front panels that easily dent. Using knees to push a stubborn washing machine back can be effective, but it can also put dents in the washing machine front.

It might be tempting to put some lubricant under the feet if it’s hard to push back, but this can cause the washer to slide about a lot on spin afterwards. Use only as a last option and in as small a quantity as possible.

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16 thoughts on “What’s the best way to pull a washing machine out?”

  1. hello, I have a related problem. My mum’s washing machine I think just needs me to clean out the pump as it is not draining or spinning properly. I know how to do this but want to disconnect the electricity first but I can’t find the plug anywhere and believe it is probably behind the machine which is in a very narrow gap under the worktop. Is it safe to pull it out using the open door method and pulling from the top of the door opening? I don’t want to electrocute myself.

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      Yes that is the best way to do it. Don’t pull the door obviously, but just open the door, and lift the machine up by the top of the opening about an inch and pull backwards. You need to make sure you know where the drain hose and fill hoses are though. It may well be that the washing machine will only pull out so far before one or more of the hoses attached to it at the back run out of length. Many washing machines need the fill hose and drain hose disconnecting before they will come out.

  2. This is a good article because it gives food for thought. We have a situation where the clothes washing door seal needs to be replaced, which means removing the machine casing front panel, the counterweights, and the lid. Dragging the machine out is not an option because of the hose and power connections. There also needs to be more room for manoeuvre. Therefore, removing the worktop and disconnecting the power cable and the hoses will be the order of the day. Besides, I have a dodgy back that needs nurturing, not abuse.
    The job will be much simpler with the worktop out of the way.
    Now all that I have is to convince the lady of the house to move all the gubbins off the worktop…yeah, right.

  3. I have a washing machine in a very tight cupboard. Even though it is on an anti vibration pad it has worked its way forward and I am unable to push it back as it is very heavy and it will not slide on the anti vibration pad and this pad will not move either. It’s getting to the point where I can barely close the cupboard door. Who should I contact to help me with this? Would a washing machine repair man be able to do this or maybe a removalist?

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      It’s a difficult one because it’s not a big enough job for a professional, but if you can’t do it you need help from someone. A local washing machine or handy man would be best if you can’t get a friend or relative to help, but unless you find a nice local man it could cost a ridiculous amount.

      You have to push the washer low down. I’ve sometimes had to sit in my backside and use my feet. Ideally push one side back and then the other. Or if there is room to tilt it forwards or back and try to move it that can sometimes work. If it can be tilted forwards onto someone’s knees it can be moved back using the knees and legs.

      1. Thanks for your suggestions. There isn’t much room to tilt it forwards or back. I looked at trying to take the shelf above it off but it is built in to the cupboard so I was thwarted there. I’ll keep trying to find someone to help me before I resort to looking for outside help. Once again, thanks for your help.

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