How to store a washing machine

Storage If you need to store a washing machine that is not going to be used for a long time it’s best to try and drain all the water from inside. It’s not enough to just put it on a spin or drain cycle because a washing machine cannot get rid of all the water itself. There will always be a cup or two of water in the sump hose.

It’s arguably not essential to remove all of the water. But if left inside for long periods the water can turn smelly. It can contribute to causing scaly crusts of limescale inside the sump hose as it slowly evaporates. It can also contribute to rotting the hose if stored in a cold place where it won’t evaporate. During normal regular use this water always remains inside the washer, but it is of course constantly replaced with new water.

To remove all of the water from a washing machine

If you lay the drain hose onto the floor so that the end is lower than the water in the pump then this should allow the water to drain away through gravity. Gently tip the washer back and forward to facilitate the draining. Some washing machine drain hoses can’t be laid down because they are clipped up, if you can’t easily remove the clip you won’t be able to lay it on the floor.

Also, some washing machines such as Bosch have the drain hose coming out of the back of the washer high up instead of at floor level, which will also stop you draining it.

If you can’t get water out by lowering the drain hose you may be able to remove the pump filter if you have one at the front. That will allow you to drain the last bits of the water out. (where is the pump filter?).

In fact it may well be easier to drain it this way in the first place if you have a pump filter. If draining water from the pump filter put some towels down to soak up the water.

Pull the machine out and slowly unscrew the pump filter. Water should start to run out onto the floor. When it’s stopped you can tilt the washer forward and back a little to encourage the last drops out.

Last preparations for storage

Clean and dry the soap dispenser drawer and the door seal. Any undissolved detergent, fabric softener or gunge in these areas can become very hard and difficult to remove later if left to dry out. Also clean the door glass, especially where it presses up against the door seal.

Get rid of any grit or undissolved detergent from there too. Smearing some petroleum jelly (eg Vaseline) around the front flange of the door seal where the door presses when closed can prevent the door actually sticking to the seal which can happen if left a long time – especially if in a warm place.

Best storage conditions

There are various places people might want to store a washing machine including out buildings, garages, spare rooms, huts and cellars. Don’t store anywhere that gets direct sunlight as this can fade the control panels and paintwork and it can even degrade the rubber on the door seal.

Cover the washing machine with something to protect it. Bear in mind that cold and damp conditions can cause rust, or make electrical parts short to earth and trip the fuses.

Be aware of things like mice or rats if stored in any place where they could be around. I once saw a washing machine where the motor had jammed and there was a poor mouse inside it. Basically unless it is being stored in normal conditions such as a spare room in the house try to shield it from the environment by standing it on cardboard and cover it up in old sheets or blankets.

If the washing machine is going to be transported

If you are having the washing machine moved to a different location check out my article on transporting a washing machine

Related to storing a washing machine

After being stored unused you need to be careful before using the washing machine for the first time – using a washing machine from storage

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20 thoughts on “How to store a washing machine”

  1. Hi Andy
    Just wondering about storing a washing machines in a C-container, which has no whirly bird so could get quite hot in summer. Can heat cause damage to the washing machine or any of its parts?

  2. Hello Alice. It would of course depend on how hot it got, but I can’t think of any particular concerns related to it getting hot bearing in mind the washing machine itself will have a wash cycle that heats the water to 90 degrees. The main thing would be to check the state of the door seal in case it’s gone thin and sticky and to carry out all the checks and precautions mentioned in my article above.

  3. Hi Andy,
    I must say I’m so glad I found a site like yours that is still current!
    I have a washer that hasn’t been used in some +6 years. I don’t remember properly draining it before storage in the garage. Now I am concerned some components inside may have dried up with lint, calcium, etc…
    I thought about pouring in large amount of heavy duty cleaner or a product for removing calcium, lime and rust. (ie CLR). Run a cycle keeping a close eye, fill it up and unplug it mid cycle just as it starts to drain so that the product can get in everywhere, soak for an hour or two and then drain. Expecting it to drain off on its own.
    Is this over kill, not advised, better ideas?

    Many thanks for your advise and maintaining your site!

  4. Thanks Robert. I’ve just completely re-written my article to give much more detailed advice on checking a washing machine if it’s not been used for a few years. I wouldn’t pour anything in – especially if it could rot or impair rubber seals.

  5. I purchased washing machine recently and all of sudden we moved to abroad so now i packed the washing machine and kept in my house. Will it work if we use after 3 years? Or will the machine stop working?

  6. Hi I am storing my washing machine in my shed should I put it up on some kind of frame, I’m concerned if we hv snow it will seep under the door and go under the washer?

  7. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Julie. I suggest in my article standing washing machine on cardboard. But if conditions could get damp at any time then some kind of wooden frame would definitely be better. One of those pallets would be ideal.

  8. we bought a washer because are old one died or so we thought turns out it wasnt broken so we have stored a new washing machine for about 4 years in a breezeway its still in its box what do you think the odd are it will still work

  9. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Jaime. I would hope it’s fine, it depends how well packed it is and whether or not cold damp air has been able to get inside. If it were me, I’s be tempted to get it out now and install it, the old one probably won’t last that much longer. That way if it doesn’t work, you can at least put your old one back.

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