How do you store a washing machine when not in use?

Storing a washing machine properly when it is not being used regularly is important to keep it in good working condition. There are several key steps to take to safely store a washing machine during periods of non-use.

Why Proper Storage is Important

Washing machines contain mechanical and electrical components that can be damaged if not cared for properly. Here are some of the main reasons it’s important to store a washing machine correctly:

  • Prevents mold and mildew buildup – Stagnant water left sitting in hoses or the wash drum provides an environment for mold and mildew to grow.
  • Avoids damage from freezing – Any residual water left in the unit could freeze and expand, causing cracks or leaks.
  • Protects rubber seals and hoses – Rubber components will dry out and crack over time if not used periodically.
  • Keeps out pests – Insects and rodents can nest in or chew through hoses and wiring if the washer is left accessible.
  • Maintains proper lubrication – The motor and internal parts need occasional use to maintain adequate lubrication.
  • Protects electrical system – Electrical components can short out or corrode if exposed to dampness or dust buildup.

Taking the right precautions when placing a washer into storage will minimize the likelihood of expensive repairs being needed when it’s taken out of storage and used again.

Location Considerations

Selecting the right location is an important first step when preparing to store your washing machine:

  • Indoors vs. Outdoors – Washers should always be stored indoors if possible. A garage, basement, or storage room are ideal spots. The indoor location should be climate controlled and not subject to freezing temperatures.
  • Dryness – High humidity can promote mold growth. The storage area should be dry with adequate air circulation.
  • Cleanliness – Excessive dust and debris can clog vents and get inside the washer components. Try to select a clean, dry spot if available.
  • Accessibility – Choose a spot that allows you to easily move the washer in and out of storage. This makes retrieving it for use much simpler.
  • Security – Prevent access by children or pets by placing it in a locked room or blocking it off.

Selecting a proper indoor storage spot from the start will help keep your appliance protected from elements that could potentially damage it.

Cleaning the Washing Machine

Before storing your washing machine, it’s highly recommended to thoroughly clean and dry out all areas:

  1. Run a hot wash cycle – Use the hottest water setting with bleach or other cleaning products to sanitize the wash drum.
  2. Remove detergent dispensers – Take out any removable detergent or fabric softener dispensers and clean fully.
  3. Check for foreign objects – Ensure no items have gotten lodged in the drum which could damage it.
  4. Clean exterior – Wipe down outside surfaces removing any dust, dirt and grime.
  5. Dry out interior – Allow time for any interior moisture to completely evaporate.
  6. Check door seal – Clean and inspect the rubber door seal for any cracking or damage.
  7. Drain out hoses – Disconnect hoses and drain out any standing water completely.
  8. Clean filters – Remove and clean lint filters and drain filters.
  9. Inspect all parts – Check for any concerning signs of wear, leaks, or damage.

Thoroughly cleaning the washer eliminates any contaminants that could lead to odors or corrosion while in storage. Pay particular attention to the draining out of all residual water.

Preparing Components for Storage

Certain components will require special preparation before storing your washing machine:

Electrical System

  • Unplug washer – Disconnect power cord from outlet to prevent accidental operation.
  • Disconnect hoses – Detach hot and cold water supply hoses from faucets.
  • Remove back cover – Access the electrical connection terminals and disconnect all wires.
  • Protect terminals – Cover wire terminals with electrical tape to prevent corrosion.
  • Cord maintenance – Coil up power cord neatly and avoid damaging or stressing it.

Drum and Drain System

  • Leave door open – Propping door open allows air circulation to dry out any residual moisture.
  • Secure drum – Wedge rubber stop or wood block to securely hold the drum in place and prevent shifting.
  • Elevate machine – Raise front of unit a few inches to allow complete draining of hoses.


  • Clean exterior – Wipe down the full exterior prior to storage.
  • Touch up paint – Spot paint any scratches or rust spots to prevent further damage.
  • Cover machine – Use a tarp or plastic sheet to prevent dust build up and insect access.

Taking steps to properly prepare the electrical, mechanical and exterior components will help preserve your appliance in optimal condition during its time in storage.

Long-Term Storage Considerations

For washers that will be stored for extended periods of longer than 2-3 months, a few additional precautions should be taken:

  • Oil door hinges – Apply light oil to the hinges to prevent corrosion and keep them moving freely.
  • Seal drum – Place a moisture absorbing pack inside the drum and tape plastic over opening.
  • Lubricate motor – If accessible, put a few drops of electric motor oil into oiling ports.
  • Fill dispensers – Add some inexpensive laundry detergent to all dispensers to keep seals conditioned.
  • Run briefly – Every 4-6 months, take washer out and do a quick spin cycle to lubricate parts.

These steps will provide extra protection when the unit will be sitting unused for longer time frames. Periodically check on the stored washer as well.

Taking Out of Storage

When ready to use your washing machine again, there is some preparation needed to take it out of storage properly:

  1. Inspect exterior – Check for any damage or deterioration that may have occurred during storage.
  2. Remove drum securement – Take out any wedges or blocks securing the drum.
  3. Reattach parts – Replace dispensers, filters, back cover panels, and hoses.
  4. Check electrical – Ensure wiring terminals are still adequately protected and reattach all wires securely.
  5. Check for leaks – With water supply hoses reattached, turn on faucets and verify no leaks.
  6. Clean again – Do a rinse cycle using bleach to freshen up the drum interior.
  7. Test functions – With electrical power connected, do test cycles with each setting to confirm proper operation.
  8. Add accessories – Replace transport bolts, shelves, drawers or other removable parts.

Following this restart procedure helps ensure all components are still functioning properly after the storage period. The washer can then safely be returned to regular usage.


Storing a washing machine correctly is vital to preserving its condition when not being used regularly. By choosing the right location, thoroughly cleaning and prepping all components, taking some extra steps for long-term storage, and properly restarting the appliance, you can keep a washer in great shape until it needs to be utilized again.

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