Washing Machine Been In Storage? (do this before using it)

Storing a washing machine for a while might seem harmless, but the truth is, it can take a toll on your trusty appliance. Parts may rust, mould might creep in, and components can become brittle with disuse. 

To safely resurrect your machine, a few crucial steps are needed. This includes checking your machine for visible damage first, then trying to run a cycle to see if you missed hidden cracks that will require repairs. Once you’re sure that there are no issues, you can do a deep clean and use the machine as normal.

Now, let’s have a deeper look into what you should do before firing up your washing machine!

What To Do After Storing A Washing Machine For A While

Before pressing that ‘start’ button, it’s imperative to take some precautions. 

After all, it’s likely that your dormant washing machine might have accumulated dust, mould, and potential issues that could impact its performance. 

To ensure a smooth laundry experience, follow these essential steps before returning your washing machine to active duty!

Look For Visible Damage

The first order of business is a thorough visual inspection. Check for dents, scratches, or rust on the external surfaces.

washing machine and dryer

Pay close attention to the power cord and plug—pests love to chew on wiring, and that can lead to a potential fire hazard.

Address any external damage promptly. If you spot mould growth in the washer’s lid, a mixture of white vinegar and warm distilled water can do wonders. Spray generously, let it sit, scrub, and wipe dry. Airing the door for an hour post-cleaning is the finishing touch.

Hoses And Connections

Inspect the hoses and connections for wear, cracks, or leaks. Rubber hoses can deteriorate over time, so replace them if necessary. 

Tighten loose connections to avoid water leakage during operation.

Drum And Agitator

Don’t forget the machine’s interior! 

Dust, cobwebs, and debris may have settled, hindering your ability to spot cracks or damage. Clean the area thoroughly to ensure a clear view. Remove any foreign objects that may have found their way into the machine.

washing machine drum

Use a damp microfibre cloth to wipe down the interior. A little distilled white vinegar on the cloth can make dust and stains disappear.

Drain Pump And Filter

The drain pump and filter are prone to blockages, especially after a period of inactivity. 

Washing Machine Filter

Also, mineral deposits and limescale from hard water can accumulate, affecting your machine’s efficiency. 

Make sure to check for debris and clean these areas to ensure proper water drainage.

Detergent Compartment

Your detergent compartment is an ideal environment for mould and mildew growth. 

If a strange smell emanates from your machine, this might be the culprit. 

Thoroughly clean the compartment following your machine’s manual, and use white vinegar for a disinfecting touch.

Electrical Components

Inspect the power cord and plug for any damage. 

Exposed wires are a safety hazard, and if you find any, it’s best to replace the cord before use. If you’re not confident in your electrical skills, calling a professional technician is a wise move!

Balance The Machine

After being in storage, you might have not put your machine in the right place.

spirit level on floor

Check its position and use a spirit level to balance it. An off-balance machine can be noisy and disruptive, so this step ensures a smoother laundry experience.

Run An Empty Cycle

Once you’ve checked the visible areas, it’s time for a trial run. 

Run an empty cycle on the hottest setting with a cup of white vinegar to disinfect the drum. Observe any unusual noises or malfunctions. 

If you don’t want to deal with water yet, you can always do an empty spin cycle first. This allows you to pre-check your machine without possible leakages. 

Calibrate The Machine

Some washing machines may need recalibration, especially if they’ve been inactive for a while. 

An extremely modern washer may need updates in its programme, while for others, you have to manually do the calibration yourself.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure optimal efficiency.

Test With A Normal Load

Once there are no issues or every nook and cranny has already been checked, it’s time to test the appliance with a normal load. 

Fill at least half of your washer’s drum, ideally with towels or rags that have to be washed. Listen for unusual noises, check for leaks, and ensure the machine operates as expected. Address any issues before proceeding to regular use.

In this step, it’s important to spend your time watching if there are any problems with the washer. This can be loud noises, or even some leaks. When this happens, stop the cycle, turn it off, and drain the water away. 

For situations like this, call a professional if you’re not confident with your handy skills. Otherwise, you may void the warranty or damage the appliance more. 

Deep Clean The Washing Machine

Once you’re certain there are no issues, proceed with a deep clean. 

cleaning washing machine exterior

Refer to your user manual for the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning process. A cycle with hot water and vinegar will eliminate any mould, mildew, or lingering odours.

Simple Ways To Clean A Washer

Prepare Your Supplies:

  • White Vinegar
  • Microfibre Cloth or Sponge
  • Soft-bristled brush or Old Toothbrush
  • Hot Water


  1. Empty the Washing Machine
    Ensure the drum is completely empty. Remove any clothing, lint, or foreign objects.
  2. Inspect and Clean the Seals
    Check the rubber door seals for mould or residue. Wipe them down with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. Use a toothbrush or small brush to get into crevices.
  3. Remove and Clean Detergent Dispensers
    Take out detergent dispensers, softener trays, and any removable parts. Soak them in a solution of hot water and mild detergent. Scrub away any residues, and rinse thoroughly before placing them back.
  4. Clean the Drum
    Set your washing machine to the hottest water setting. Add 2 cups of white vinegar to the fabric softener compartment. 
    Run a full wash cycle without any clothes. This will help eliminate odour and residue from the drum.
  5. Scrub the Agitator (For Top-Loading Machines)
    If you have a top-loading machine with an agitator, use a toothbrush or a small brush to scrub around and underneath it.
  6. Clean the Filters (For Front-Loading Machines)
    Front-loading machines often have a filter that can trap debris. Consult your machine’s manual to locate and clean this filter periodically.
  7. Check and Clean the Pump Filter
    Front-loading machines may have a pump filter located near the bottom front. Consult your manual to locate and clean it, removing any lint, debris, or foreign objects.
  8. Run a Rinse Cycle
    After completing the cleaning process, run a rinse cycle with hot water to ensure any remaining cleaning solution is flushed out.
  9. Air Out the Drum
    Leave the door open for a while to allow the interior to dry completely. This helps prevent mould growth.
  10. Wipe Down the Exterior
    Dampen a cloth with a vinegar-water solution and wipe down the exterior surfaces, including control panels, buttons, and the door.

TIP: Clean your machine regularly! To prevent the build-up of residues in the future, periodically run an empty hot water cycle with vinegar or bicarbonate of soda. 

Tips For Storing A Washing Machine

Whether you’re storing your washing machine for a month or a year, proper precautions ensure it remains in top-notch condition when you’re ready to use it again.

Read The User Manual

Always refer to the user manual for specific storage instructions to maintain the warranty and ensure proper functionality.

Prevention Is Always The Key

Here are the things you need to do, depending on how long you’re planning to leave your washing machine unused: 

A Few Months

For short-term storage (around five months or less), follow these basic precautions:

  • Clean the interior and wipe it down.
  • Drain any remaining water.
  • Unplug the machine.
  • Store it in a dry, cool place.

Six Months To A Year

For mid-term storage, take additional steps:

  • Clean and dry the interior thoroughly.
  • Disconnect hoses.
  • Consider covering the machine to protect it from dust or dirt.
  • Store it in a climate-controlled environment.

More Than A Year

For extended storage, careful preparation is essential:

  • Clean the machine thoroughly.
  • Remove hoses.
  • Consider lubricating moving parts to prevent rust.
  • Store it in a climate-controlled environment.
  • Cover the machine to protect it from dust and pests.

Keep The Door Slightly Open

Leaving the washing machine door slightly ajar promotes air circulation, preventing mould or mildew growth.

Secure The Machine’s Power Cord

Secure the power cord to prevent damage. This simple step helps maintain the integrity of the electrical components.

Keep Your Washer In Great Shape!

Taking a few moments to inspect, clean, and test your washing machine after it’s been in storage can save you from potential hassles and ensure smooth laundry routines. 

By addressing visible damage, checking components, and running necessary cycles, you’re not only safeguarding your machine but also extending its lifespan. 

So, before you hit that ‘start’ button, give your trusty appliance a little TLC!

Do you have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment below!

SEE ALSO: Can You Put Things On Top Of A Washing Machine?

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I clean my washing machine after sitting in storage?

To clean your washing machine after storage, check for visible damage first, then inspect hoses and connections, clean the drain pump and filter, and run an empty cycle with white vinegar for a deep clean as per the user manual.

What to do before putting a washing machine in storage?

Before storing your washing machine, clean the interior, drain water, unplug it, and store in a dry, cool place. If you store the washer for more than 6 months, follow additional precautions like disconnecting hoses and covering the machine.

Is it safe to use a washing machine with mould?

It is not safe to use a washing machine with mould! Clean visible mould with a vinegar and water mixture, thoroughly clean the detergent compartment, and run a hot water and vinegar cycle.

How do you get rid of mould in the washing machine?

To get rid of mould in the washing machine, clean visible mould with a mixture of white vinegar and water, wipe down rubber seals and crevices with a toothbrush, and run a hot water and vinegar cycle to eliminate odour and residue. Regularly clean the machine to prevent mould growth.

How do I protect my washing machine from rats?

To protect your washing machine from rats, secure the power cord to prevent damage, store the machine in a climate-controlled environment, keep the door slightly open to promote air circulation, and consider covering the machine to protect it from dust and pests.

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