It’s finally time to move and store your washing machine. But you can’t stop thinking, how long can a washing machine sit unused? I mean, the washing machine is probably one of the most expensive things you own in your home, and you wouldn’t want to risk storing it in such a way that it gets damaged.

washing machine

There are many reasons why you would want to store your washing machine. It could be that you are moving homes, and your new home’s drainage or power supply does not support the washing machine. Or you’ve just upgraded to a new machine and will no longer need to use the older one. You might be downsizing and wish to store your machine temporarily until you need it again. Regardless of why you are storing your washing machine, you should store it in such a way that it lasts for as long as possible.


How Long Can a Washing Machine Sit Unused?

If a washing machine is prepped and stored well, it can sit unused for many months, even years. This applies to both new washing machines and those that have already started operating. However, if the machine is not prepared well for storage, it could begin to rust and even sustain irreversible damage in the long run. In fact, most washing machines that are not stored properly last for only 2 years. The damage to these washing machines is usually caused by poor conditions in the storage, such as moisture and accumulated dust.

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What Happens If a Washing Machine Sits Unused for a Long Time?

After washing, some water is usually left in the water supply lines and drum. This water provides a conducive environment for mold and mildew to develop. Also, it causes rusting of the motor, and at times even the corrosion of the metal used to build the washing machine. Damages caused by rusting and corrosion are impossible to reverse.

Also, temperatures impact the functionality of a machine when it sits unused for too long. If the storage area experiences freezing temperatures, there are higher chances of water in the supply lines freezing and bursting the hoses. On the other hand, warm temperatures encourage the growth of mold and mildew in the washing machine. And when mold is left unchecked for too long, it becomes impossible to scrub it out later.

Therefore, if you are not planning to use your washing machine for several months or years, you would do well to store it well. Prepare it well before storing it and wrap it well, then store it in a clean and dry area.


How Do You Prepare a Washing Machine for Storage?

Before you store your washing machine, it is crucial that you prepare it for storage first. Doing so ensures that the washing machine is in the best condition and is ready for storage without worrying about any possible damage.

Here are three simple steps on how you should prep your washing machine for storage:


Step 1: Clean the Washing Machine

When using the washing machine, detergent residue builds up inside the hoses and drum. This residue provides a place for the growth of mold and mildew. Hence, the first step to prepping the washing machine for storage should be cleaning all detergent residue to prevent mold development later on.

After removing all detergent, disinfect the washing machine by running it in a wash cycle of vinegar and hot water. Remember to put the disinfectant in the trays as well. Then, using a clean, dry cloth, wipe down the door/lid, trays, the agitator, and the inside and outside of the washing machine. Ensure the washing machine is completely dry and free of any detergent or fabric softener.


Step 2: Disconnect the Power

On your circuit breaker, locate the switch that connects to your washing machine and turn it off. Then, unplug the washing machine from its socket on the wall. And to ensure that no electrical power is connected to the machine, remove the power cord as well.


Step 3: Drain and Dry the Washing Machine

This is the most important step when prepping your washing machine for storage. After all, sitting water left inside the washing machine is the leading cause of damage. When water is left in the machine, it leads to the development of mold or mildew and rusting, which causes permanent damage to the machine.

Therefore, draining and drying the washing machine is a step that should never be skipped when storing the machine. The following are five basic steps for draining and drying the washing machine to make it ready for storage:


  • Turn off all water supply to the washing machine – You can do this by disconnecting the valves on the pipes connecting to the washing machine.


  • Disconnect all the water supply hoses from the main supply – You might need to use a bucket to catch the leftover water in the supply hoses.


  • Disconnect the drainage hose and the water supply hoses from the washing machine. Then, dry them in the sun.


  • Tilt the washing machine to remove all water left in the pump – Use a bucket to catch the water and prevent a mess.


  • Using a clean, dry cloth, wipe the outside and inside of the washing machine – Pay extra attention to the area around the door’s inside, as this is where water tends to hide and cause mold growth.

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How Should You Store an Unused Washing Machine?

To ensure that your washing machine remains functional and in good condition, even when sitting unused, you should provide it with good storage. When storing it, leave the washing machine door slightly open to allow in air and dry any moisture.

Also, it is advisable that you store the machine on a pallet and off the ground. This ensures minimal exposure of the washing machine to water or moisture that could cause corrosion. And if you decide to cover the machine, only use breathable material that will allow enough flow of air inside.


Can I Store the Washing Machine Outside?


Nowadays, washing machines are built with features that give them the ability to withstand harsh weather conditions and extreme temperatures. Even so, exposing your washing machine to sun and rain can significantly lower its lifespan.

Besides, the harsh elements could discolor and deteriorate the overall look of your washing machine. Therefore, while you can still store your washing machine outside, doing so is highly discouraged.



Indeed, how long can a washing machine sit unused depends largely on how you store it. If you prepare it and store it in conducive conditions, you can trust that the machine will remain functional even after years of storage. On the contrary, poor storage will only cost you your precious time and expensive investment! So unless you want your investment to go down the drain, make sure to follow the steps outlined in this article when prepping and storing your washing machine.

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