How Long Can a Washing Machine Sit Unused

How Long Can a Washing Machine Sit Unused

A washing machine is among the most essential appliance in any household. Given its importance, it does not come so cheap, especially for those that prefer the high-end models. Thus, you will want to take care of it by using it properly, doing regular maintenance, and proper storage.

So on the question of storage, for how long can the washer sit unused? If stored properly under the right conditions, a washer can sit unused for months or even years, and when it starts operating, it will do just fine. 

However, if not stored properly such as by draining all the water, it can start rusting, and if stored for extended periods, it will sustain irreversible damage.

In this article, we look at how to store a washer properly and other related questions. Keep reading for a deeper insight.

How to Prepare a Washing Machine for Storage

Sometimes, you may be relocating to a new place, or you may want to stay at your summer home for some time. In each case, you may want to store your household appliances, the washer included for as long as you will be away.

For the washer, you must take certain precautions such as keeping it dry to prevent freezing, rusting and mildew, all of which can damage the machine over time.

Below are the necessary preparation procedures for storing your washing machine.

  • Thorough Cleaning

You cannot store a dirty washer; thus, you must first ensure it is cleaned properly. You will run a complete cycle without clothes, using hot water. This way, you will get rid of any remnant detergent in the washer. For the stubborn detergent residue, run the rinse cycle with some vinegar solution.

  • Draining the Water

This is the most important step. If your washer is going to sit unused for some time, it has to be totally dry. You cannot afford to have any water remnants, not even in the form of just droplets.

So how do you drain the washer? Draining is not complicated. Already you have run an empty cycle and now it is time to get it all dried up.

Start with turning off the faucets for water supply. Next, have the hoses disconnected from the main water supply and drain them.

Up next is the washer drain hose; remove it from the drain and lay it on the floor. Let the water drain into a bucket or any other container.

Now gently tilt the washing machine at an angle so that any water remaining in the water pump can flow out through the drain hose into the container.

Just like that, you washer is all drained.

  • Final Wiping

The process of getting all the water out does not stop at the draining stage. You still have some water droplets to deal with. Using a clean towel, wipe away any water remnants in the drum, on the doors, glass, and any other visible area that you can easily access.

After this, do not close the door completely. Leave it slightly open for moisture to escape and the machine to dry properly.

Long-Term Storage Tips

  • Always start the preparation early. If you are moving away on a Monday, starting to prepare the washer for storage on Sunday will not give it adequate time to dry up. Start as early as even 48 hours prior. This will give you enough time to run the cycle, drain it and give it some time with the door open for moisture to dry up before you can pack it in the storage area.
  • Have the storage unit prepared early. It is not a good idea to store your washer or any other appliance for that matter directly on the floor. As temperatures rise and fall in the unit, condensation will occur beneath the appliance leading to rusting. You could use some pallets or cardboard to raise the level for your machine a little off the ground. This kind of preparation can take a bit of time but your machine will be secured to last longer and operate normally once you are ready to start using it again.
  • While in store, give your washer ample space; do not slam it together with other objects that might scratch it and create some dents.
  • If you want to keep it covered, use a breathable material that will allow air circulation. Also, remember to keep the door slightly open so that there is always some space for moisture to escape so that the interior is kept dry always.

Of most importance, always consult the manual. Each manufacturer has clearly stated instructions for disconnecting procedures, usage, and even storage. You may have the general idea, but it is good to go into the specifics of your particular model.

Related Questions

How do you winterize a washing machine?

Now if you plan to store your washer in an area with freezing temperatures, instead of draining it, you will need to winterize it. Winterizing is done so that water does not freeze in the hoses; otherwise, this could damage the machine.

The process of winterizing starts by turning off the water coming into the washer, disconnecting, and draining the inlet hoses. You then pour a little antifreeze in the washer basket and let it run on the rinse cycle for at least a minute or less. This way, you will have prevented any water in the pipes from freezing, a process known as winterizing.

How do you prepare a dishwasher for storage?

Dishwasher storage is similar to the washing machine. You first have to run a cycle using dishwasher detergent. Add some bleach and let the cycle complete. You can then use some baking soda solution to clean the gasket door. Proceed to disconnect the water supply. For water drainage, check the manual because each unit is different. Once all is done, you can then safely store away your appliance.