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