Transporting a washing machine

 The best way to transport a washing machine from one house to another is to refit the original transit packing or transit bolts that came with the washing machine. If this is possible, instructions on how to do this should be in the instruction book or manual. (Miele transit packing can definitely be refitted and they even design it to clip into the back panel so it won’t get lost)

In reality, the majority of people no longer have access to the original transit packaging so the question arises, how do you transport a washing machine safely without transit packing?

Before transporting a washing machine: preparation

Once you have disconnected the washing machine from the plumbing you need to get rid of all the water and secure the drain hose. If you don’t then this water will inevitably run all over the floor, as well as the legs and shoes of anyone moving it. The last time the washing machine was used most of the water was pumped away but there is always at least a pint of water left inside the sump hose and water pump. To remove this water you need to let it siphon out through the drain hose by lowering it below the level of the water inside the washing machine.

  • The most effective method of siphoning the water out of the washing machine is to move it over to the back door where you can drop the drain hose outside and let it drain away there (What’s best way to pull a washing machine out?) Carefully tip the washing machine back a little and then tip it forward to allow as much water as possible to flow into the hole in the bottom of the tub.
  • If it is difficult or impractical for you to move the washing machine over to the outside door then pull the washing machine out as much as you can and lower the end of the drain hose into a washing-up bowl. If a washing-up bowl isn’t available use a large saucepan or similar vessel. A bucket is too high, remember the object is to get the end of the drain hose as low as possible.
  • The original transit packing or transit bolts stop the tub from swinging or bouncing up and down during transit. This could damage some parts inside or dint the cabinet. If you don’t have the transit packaging you could try taking off the lid and packing a bed sheet on top of the tub. Replace the lid so that it presses down on the sheet and has some effect on stopping the tub bouncing up and damaging parts if the road is very bumpy. Do not forget about this sheet and try using the machine with it in place.

Once you have drained the water you need to secure the drain hose, fill hoses (if still connected to the machine – if not put them inside the drum) and mains cable and plug. Try to secure them as much as possible using any clips provided at the back of the machine. Use strong tape to secure them any cable or hose that can’t be clipped anywhere (I usually tape them to the lid of the washing machine)

Second stage: Transporting the washing machine –

  • The washing machine is best kept standing upright throughout the process
  • If the washing machine is being transported in a car or small van and cannot be kept upright I would lay the washing machine on its back. If this is how it will be moved it is doubly important to have drained out as much water as possible (as shown in the above section). This is because once laid down water can run inside the washing machine and run onto electrical parts causing an electrical short and of course expensive damage when the washing machine is next plugged in
  • If using a hand trolley make sure when you tip it back that you tip back the trolley and the washing machine together otherwise you could either lever the washing machine over or cause damage underneath the washing machine with the trolley’s plate

I can’t advise that it is perfectly ok to move a washing machine without any transit packing but I have moved many hundreds of washing machines over the years and rarely if ever remember any problems. It depends very much on the design of the washing machine, the quality of its suspension and the way it is transported including how bumpy the road and how carefully the driver is.

Ask your removal company about moving washing machines. They do it every day and will know if it is ok to transport them without packaging. I suspect most would advise that it is and they should know. I have just moved house myself and my removal men didn’t mention transit packaging, they just picked the washing machine up and secured it in the removal van. I personally didn’t put any transit packing in place and the washing machine was ok at the other end.

Once your washing machine has been moved, make sure you keep a very close eye on it the first time it is used to make sure it is ok and it isn’t going to leak.


  • Is it possible to introduce new faults while repairing or installing a washing machine? 5 things to check for after repairing or installing a washing machine
  • Tips for installing a washing machine – fill hoses (questions covered – Can I use the old washing machine hoses or should I fit the new ones? | How tight should I connect the fill hoses? | Washing machine hoses not long enough? | in particular were has that I have a hot and cold water supply, but the new washing machine only has a cold water valve – what do I do? | Washing machine is a hot and cold fill, but I only have a cold water supply)

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  1. avatarYves Fournier says

    Thank you for your sugestions.
    I will be moving a washing machine Sat Nov. 24, 2007.
    I will put in in my SUV and will transport it on it’s side.

    Thank you again,
    Yves Fournier in Oceanside California

  2. avatarRenita Leong says

    After transporting a new clothing washer on its side, how long do you have to let the oil settle before you can start washing?

    Thanks for the great website.

  3. avatar says

    Hello Renita. There’s no oil in UK washing machines that I know of. If yours is an American top loader I’m not familiar with them at all.

    I just purchased a new tumble dryer though and that has oil inside because it has an energy saving heat pump built in which stores heat and it uses oil. The advice on the instruction book was to leave it to stand 12 hours before using “if it has been laid on its side”. As I couldn’t be sure if it had been laid on its side sometime during transportation to me I let it stand to be on the safe side.

    I would think 12 hours should be enough but 24 if you want to be cautious.

  4. avatarKay says

    I moved and put my stuff in storage for a year. The movers secured it nicely and professionally. Now I am moving the stuff out of the storage with a friend or two. Do I need to remove the stuff the movers used to secure the washer during moving?

  5. avatar says

    Hello Kay

    If they just said they secured it while in transit they could have been referring to just securing it carefully in their van, but if they fitted some sort of transit packaging inside then it must be removed.

    If they did fit anything they surely should either remove it as part of their service or at least leave you instructions on how to remove it.

    You need to ask them if they fitted anything inside.

  6. avatarAlex says

    Shipping bolts or kits are a big problem when moving. There is a product called LITKIT that works well when shipping all types of washing machines. There are demo videos on You Tube, search LITKIT.

  7. avatar says

    Thanks Alex: That’s serious transit packing. It looks very good although not much use for the average person unless they have an air hose in their garage. I would expect businesses moving other people’s washing machines might invest in the system though.

  8. avatarJose says

    We just move to a new state, the moving company that take care of our house Layed down our Washer machine and our tumble dryer.. we just find out that they did this. I haven’t be able to check them because they are in a storage unit. Do we are going to have a problem.

  9. avatar says

    Hello Jose: Just keep an eye on the machines the first time you use them. Hopefully everything will be OK. It’s best to keep them upright but it doesn’t mean there will definitely be problems if they aren’t.

  10. avatarJames C says

    Hi Washerhelp,

    I have an old washing machine which I want to disconnect from the inlet taps / inlet pipes, in preparation for disposing of.

    The inlet taps are located underneath a kitchen sink, and they appear to have “on / off levers” on them.

    Do these inlet taps normally have an additional safety mechanism inside them to prevent water flow when the pipes are disconnected? OR will water flow from the taps when disconnected if the “levers” are in the “on” position?

    Thank you for your advise,
    James C

  11. avatar says

    Hello James C: If they are the ubiquitous red and blue plastic levers they must be turned so that the lever is pointing either up or down instead of pointing in the direction of the pipes. When the lever is pointing in the same direction as the water flow the tap is on. When turned 90 degrees so they are pointing either up at the ceiling or down to the floor they should be off and it should be safe to remove the hose.

    Have a towel ready and a bowl to drain the water into as there will be some water when they are first removed. These taps are notorious for not turning off properly so be careful they don’t drip afterwards. If possible, leave the hoses attached after disconnecting from the washing machine to drain into a bowl or bucket to make sure there isn’t a slow drip from the taps.

  12. avatarsooners says

    I need to move new flat and thiking to move my washing mashine it seems it weight 60kg, with normal car ( well it is bit bigger, longer). Is this possible? Does it damage a car? putting into the car , i plan to use IKEA small wheeler (the small 2weels one)to load into the car. As this IKEA wheeler seems so weak, this might not possible.
    Please, let me know what you think.
    thanks for kind advise.

  13. avatar says

    Should be ok in a car. I’ve transported many washing machines in the past in the back of hatchbacks with the seats down and estate cars. In an accident situation things could be bad if the washer is forced forward though. I would take it very steady.

  14. avatarsooners says

    Thank you for your response.
    As I did not cause problems with my friend’s mom car, I decide rent a truck. As truck comes with wheel for the use of washing machine to move on the road.
    Now I will start evacuate water from the washing machine flowing your guide line
    Thanks lots for this useful HP!

  15. avatarRohan says

    Thanks a lot. Your advice is very helpful. You’ve probably just saved me a lot of time and mopping up.
    Cheers mate! Rohan.

  16. avatarMel says

    I’m trying to move a portable washer/dryer combo which weighs 160 lbs. It is front loading with hoses fit with a faucet adaptor. Is it okay to put the washer on its side or back?

  17. avatar says

    If the washing machine is being transported in a car or small van and cannot be kept upright I would lay the washing machine on its back. If this is how it will be moved it is doubly important to have drained out as much water as possible (as shown in the above section). This is because once laid down water can run inside the washing machine and run onto electrical parts causing an electrical short and of course expensive damage when the washing machine is next plugged in

  18. avatarZach Smith says

    These are really helpful tips. Always keep your washer in an upright position when transporting it as excess water in the water hoses can leak and drench the motor part. When relocating, you might want to disconnect your washer 2 days ahead. Also purchase caster wheels to make transfer a lot easier.

  19. avatarAlex says

    Hi Washerhelp,
    We are in the US and moving inter-state with a 3 yr old front-loader (which will be on the moving truck for 3 nights).
    The manual says that if we are moving in the winter and outside temperatures could drop below freezing, then we should run a cycle in advance with some anti-freeze. To be honest, that sounds a bit over the top (and my wife is not at all keen!!) – but I would appreciate a second opinion. If we drain the hoses and do as you set out above (tipping the machine out thoroughly), do you reckon that the chances of water freezing internally and doing any damage would be pretty minimal?
    Thanks so much – great page!

  20. avatar says

    Hello Alex: I agree it does sound quite drastic. If you have drained out the water it can’t freeze and cause damage. You could never get rid of every drop of water but I can’t imagine how little bits of water could freeze and cause any damage. For it to damage something it would need to be enough to expand with nowhere to go and crack something.

    Water left in the water valves could potentially freeze and would not be removed using the instructions in my article. As a precaution I would try to remove as much water from the valves as well as draining the machine.

    The way I would do it is as follows –

    • If the washer is cold fill only just put it onto any wash programme , but if it has a hot valve too you need to find a programme that takes hot and cold in simultaneously (non fast coloureds should do it) The object is to get any fill valve to take in water
    • Once water is running through all valves turn off the taps so that the valve is still energised trying to draw in water but there is none to draw in. You only need to leave it trying to draw water in for a few seconds or so
    • Once this has occurred abort or cancel the wash programme or turn it manually to a drain programme to empty away the water
    • This should help to draw into the washing machine most of the water that would otherwise be held inside the water valve

    Now you can follow the rest of the instructions in my article to try and remove the rest of the water.

    I would also fill the drum with lightly scrunched up newspapers or paper kitchen towel to draw any more moisture out overnight.

  21. avatarAnju says

    I need to transport anew tumble dryer to Portugal in our car. What,s the best way

  22. avatar says

    Hello Anju: I can’t think of anything more to add without a specific question as all the advice is already in the main article and the subsequent comments.

  23. avatarfaye says

    i transported a washer on it back, once i got where i was going i notice some oil had spilled. what should i do? HELP!!!

  24. avatar says

    Hello faye: I presume yours must be a top loader? My article is only really about UK front loading washing machines which don’t have any oil in. Even so I wouldn’t expect oil should come out of any part unless a seal is worn so it needs looking at by an engineer.

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