How should a washing machine be stored?

When storing a washing machine, whether for a short or long period of time, it is important to take steps to protect the appliance and prevent mold or mildew buildup. Here are some quick answers to common questions about properly storing a washing machine:

Table of Contents

Should I unplug my washing machine before storing it?

Yes, you should always unplug your washing machine before storing it or leaving it unused for any period of time. This helps protect the electrical components from power surges or lightning strikes that could damage the machine.

Should I turn off the water supply to my washing machine?

Turning off the water supply is recommended whenever storing your washing machine or leaving it unused for an extended period. This prevents any leaks or water damage from occurring while the machine is not in use.

Where is the best place to store a washing machine?

Ideally, washing machines should be stored in a dry, indoor location. Garages, basements, or laundry rooms work well. Avoid storing it anywhere that gets excessively hot or cold, as temperature extremes can damage the hoses and components.

Should I leave the lid open or closed when storing a washing machine?

It’s generally recommended to leave the washing machine lid open slightly (about 1-2 inches) so air can circulate inside the drum and prevent mold or mildew growth. Avoid closing it completely.

How can I prevent mold or mildew when storing my washing machine?

To prevent mold or mildew growth inside a stored washing machine:

  • Allow the interior drum to dry completely before closing the lid for storage
  • Place a towel or rag with bleach or other mold killing solution inside the drum
  • Leave the lid open 1-2 inches for ventilation
  • Consider placing moisture absorbing packets in the drum as an added preventative

Should I disconnect the hoses before storage?

It’s generally recommended to disconnect the water inlet hoses from a washing machine prior to storage. This prevents hoses from dry rot or cracks over time. Make sure the hoses are drained of any residual water before disconnecting and capping them.

Is it necessary to prop up or block my washing machine during storage?

Propping up a stored washing machine with blocks or wood can help take pressure off the suspension system and prevent weight from compacting the shocks. However, this may not be necessary for shorter storage periods under 6 months.

Should I lay a washing machine on its side or keep it upright?

Washing machines should always be kept upright when stored. Laying the unit on its side can allow oil to seep out of the bearing seals and compressor, leading to premature failure when put back into use.

Is it okay to stack things on top of my stored washing machine?

Avoid stacking anything heavy or sharp directly on top of your washing machine during storage. The weight could bend components like the lid or console. Only place light storage boxes or items gently on top, if necessary.

How should I clean my washing machine before storing?

Run a short washing machine cleaning cycle with bleach before storage to sanitize the interior. Then leave the lid open slightly to allow drying. Wipe down exterior with non-abrasive cleaner and dry.

Is it necessary to lay down a tarp under my stored washing machine?

Putting a water-resistant tarp or plastic sheet under your washing machine when storing it long-term can help protect your floors from any undetected leaks or moisture. This isn’t mandatory but can provide added peace of mind.

How should I position the drain and inlet hoses during washing machine storage?

The hoses should be disconnected from water supply lines and washing machine to prevent leaks. Hang hoses higher than the machine base to allow complete drainage. Cap ends of hoses to keep pests out.

Can I cover my washing machine with a sheet or tarp?

Yes, you can cover your stored washing machine with a breathable sheet, towel, or lightly secured plastic tarp to keep dust and pests out. Avoid completely sealing it or inhibiting ventilation.

Where should I store washing machine accessories like hoses and cords?

Store washing machine hoses, power cords, and accessories in a sealed plastic bin near the appliance. Keeping them close by makes for easier re-installation. Just avoid pests getting to the cords.

How often should I check on a stored washing machine?

It’s a good idea to check your stored washing machine every couple of months. Look for signs of mold/mildew, check for pests, ensure components are dry, and move drum occasionally.

Can I store my washing machine outdoors?

Storing a washing machine outdoors, even under a covered porch or carport, is not recommended. The temperature extremes and humidity outdoors can damage components like hoses, seals, and electronics. Indoor storage is best for protection.

How can I maintain my washing machine’s suspension when stored?

Periodically rotating the drum helps keep the suspension lubricated. Or place blocks under the washer drum instead of the base to take pressure off suspension.

Are mothballs or baking soda good for storing washing machines?

Mothballs and baking soda can help absorb moisture and odors when storing a washing machine. Place them in removable mesh bags inside the drum or taped under the lid out of direct contact.

Should I cover the vent holes before storing my washing machine?

No, any ventilation holes on a washing machine should be left uncovered so air can circulate through the interior. Covering them can lead to moisture buildup.

Can I just unplug and keep my washer inside during storage?

While unplugging is important, you should also shut off the water supply, disconnect hoses, clean the interior, and leave the door open slightly to prevent mold growth during storage.

What if my washing machine doesn’t have an accessible drain plug?

For washing machines without drain plugs, use a wet/dry shop vacuum to remove any residual water from the pump and hoses prior to storage and capping hoses.

Will my warranty still be valid if I store my washing machine?

Yes, properly storing your washing machine according to the manufacturer’s recommendations should not void the warranty, as long as no damage occurs during storage.

Can leaving detergent and water in a stored washer cause damage?

Any residual detergent or water left sitting in your washing machine for an extended period while in storage can eventually cause staining, corrosion, mold growth, and foul odors. Always drain and clean thoroughly.

Should I add a stabilizer to the water inlet hoses while storing my washer?

Adding RV antifreeze or a plumbing system stabilizer to the inlet hoses can help prevent internal damage from sitting water. This is especially important if storing through cold weather.

Is it necessary to pad the drum when storing a front load washer?

Yes, placing towels or other soft materials inside the drum of a front load washer can help support the door seal and prevent distortion from the weight of the door pressing on it over time.

Can I lay my washing machine on its front or back instead of upright?

No, washing machines should always be kept upright when being stored. Laying it on its front, back, or side can allow oil and lubricants to leak out of components not designed to be positioned that way.

What should I do if my stored washer starts leaking or molding?

Immediately unplug the washing machine and use towels to soak up any residual water. Thoroughly clean and disinfect the interior drum and components. Do not use the washer until the issue is identified and resolved.

Will rodents or insects get into my stored washing machine?

Pests can be attracted to the warmth and residual water inside washing machines. Use moth balls, regularly check for signs of pests, and ensure caps are places on hoses to reduce risk.

Can I shrink wrap my washing machine for storage?

No, plastic wrapping your washing machine tightly could potentially trap moisture inside and lead to mold growth. It’s better to use a loose fitting breathable cover instead.

Will I need to recalibrate my washing machine after storage?

Most washing machines today do not require recalibration after storage if properly maintained. But run a quick diagnostic cycle on older models before washing clothes to check.

Do I need to service my washing machine before storing?

Pre-storage servicing is not necessary if your washing machine is currently functioning normal. But it’s a good idea to do a basic rinse cycle with vinegar or bleach before storage.

How can I tell if my stored washer is damaged or needs repair?

Signs of damage after storage may include leaking, strange noises when spinning the drum, error codes when powered back on, musty odors, or visible mold/mildew buildup.

Should I replace the water hoses before using my stored washer again?

If your washing machine’s rubber hoses appear cracked, swollen or compromised after storage, go ahead and replace them before hooking back up to water.

Is it safe to transport my washing machine after storing it?

Yes, washing machines can safely be transported short distances after storage as long as they are upright, hoses/cords secured, and drum locked in place or padded.


Properly storing a washing machine involves unplugging, draining hoses, leaving the door open, and keeping it in a dry indoor location. Take steps to prevent mold and mildew growth, disconnect hoses, and avoid laying the unit flat or on its side. Check on the washer periodically and keep cords and accessories together. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for optimal results. With the right precautions, you can safely store your washing machine for many months until you are ready to use it again.

Storage Duration Recommended Storage Steps
Less than 1 month
  • Unplug from power
  • Turn off water supply
  • Leave door open 1-2 inches
1 to 6 months
  • Unplug from power
  • Disconnect water hoses
  • Drain all water from hoses
  • Leave door open 1-2 inches
  • Place moisture absorber inside drum
More than 6 months
  • Unplug from power
  • Disconnect and drain water hoses
  • Leave door open 1-2 inches
  • Place moisture absorbing packets inside drum
  • Cover loosely with breathable tarp
  • Check periodically for mold/mildew

Storing your washing machine properly helps prevent costly damages and makes returning it to service quick and easy. Follow these tips carefully to keep your washer in top condition, whether stored away for a few weeks or several months at a time.

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