Why Does My Washing Machine Shake? (& how to stop it)

It can be very worrying if your washing machine starts to shake for no apparent reason. It’s common for washing machines to vibrate slightly, but if the shaking is so much more than normal, and it’s caught your attention, then it probably needs looking at in some way. Added to which, if it is really shaking violently, it could cause damage to the machine.

Then there’s the noise a violently shaking machine creates, it could affect your whole household or, if you live in a flat or apartment, it could cause problems for the whole block.

What Causes Washing Machines To Shake?

You’ll be pleased to hear that in most cases, the cause is something quite trivial and easily remedied. And that’s where we’ll start because 9 times out of 10 attending to these simple things will result in normal service being resumed.

Unbalanced Load

If all (or most) of the washing is all on one side of the drum, the machine will be unbalanced which will cause it to vibrate and shake. It’s always important to keep the laundry evenly distributed in the drum to prevent it from becoming unbalanced.

In some cases washing a heavy blanket can cause it to stick to one side of the drum, thus causing the machine to shake when it’s spinning. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to wash heavier single items like blankets in pairs. This will help to keep the machine balanced and prevent it from shaking.


Machine Not Level

If the floor the washing machine is sited on is not 100% level (and most aren’t) it’s possible for the machine to rock from foot to foot whilst in operation. This is most likely during a spin cycle but can also affect a wash cycle too. Always ensure the washing machine is level by adjusting the feet accordingly (this is especially important when first installing the machine).

Using A Stacking Kit

You should never just place your tumble dryer directly on top of your washing machine. Or even worse place your washing machine directly on top of the tumble dryer. There are stacking kits available which allow you to stack your dryer on top of your washing machine (as long as your washing machine is a front loader).

You need to pay particular attention when using a stacking kit. Firstly, ensure that the kit you’re using is compatible with the brand of washer and dryer you own. Secondly, ensure you stack them correctly, following manufacturers instructions. Never put the washing machine on the top because washing machines are so much heavier than dryers and will definitely damage the dryer if it’s put on top even if you’re using a stacking kit.

In all honesty, there will always be some shaking when using a stacking kit but it’s usually the dryer that shakes, not the washing machine.

Not Removing The Transportation Protective Packaging

Washing Machine

If the washing machine is brand new, and just been delivered, be sure to remove all of the transit bolts and polystyrene strips used for protection during transportation. 

The transit bolts are fixed to the back of the machine to hold the drum in place to prevent it getting damaged during transportation. If they haven’t been removed, the machine will shake as the drum cannot move so the machine will vibrate.

The polystyrene strips are usually located on the base of the machine which if not removed will cause the washing machine to be unbalanced. This will cause it to shake and vibrate and in some cases move across the floor leading to all kinds of damage.

Pump Filter Clogged

The pump filter is used to prevent any foreign objects causing damage and potential problems further in the system. Items like coins, nails, screws, stones, small toys, bra wires or anything else that could fall from the pockets of your laundry can become caught in the pump filter. If it becomes too clogged, it can cause the machine to shake, usually during the wash cycle.

Worn Shock Absorbers

Front loading washing machines have shock absorbers to reduce drum movement during the washing and spin cycles. Over time, they can become worn or damaged which can cause the machine to shake. If the shock absorbers become worn or damaged and your laundry gets stuck on one side of the drum (unbalanced load) it will be far more prominent and cause more of an issue due to the worn shock absorbers.

This can cause other problems within the washing machine which could become even more of a problem.

How To Stop Your Washing Machine From Shaking


Now we’ve identified the most likely causes for your washing machine to shake during use, let’s look at ways to prevent it happening.

Load Your Laundry Evenly

If you are planning to wash something bulky like a pillow, wash two at once. This will prevent all of the load from sticking to one side of the drum and causing an uneven load. 

Never overload your washing machine with too much washing as this can also cause it to shake. If the drum is too full, the washing doesn’t have room to move freely which can lead to it all being clumped more to one side. This will have the same effect as an uneven load.

Adjust The Washing Machine’s Feet

Check that the washing machine is sited level. Use a spirit level to ensure the machine is level and adjust the feet accordingly. If you don’t own a spirit level, you can use a clear bowl almost full of water and check to see the water is level.

If the machine is not level just loosen the locking nuts on the feet using a wrench and rotate the bolts clockwise to to raise or counter clockwise to lower each foot. Once the machine is completely level, retighten the locking nuts, then run a short cycle to check its level.

Remove The Transit Bolts

If you are dealing with a brand new machine, and you’re installing it yourself, you’ll need to remove the transit bolts. As we said earlier, they are there to prevent the drum from becoming damaged during transportation, but need removing before the machine is used.

They are easy to locate, just look at the back of the washing machine, and locate the large bolts that surround the area where the drum would be. Remove them all using a wrench before running the machine. However, don’t throw them away, as you’ll need to replace them if you ever move home and wish to take the machine with you.

Remove The Polystyrene Strips

Ensure all of the polystyrene strips have been removed from the machine before placing it in position. Pay particular attention to any polystyrene strips on the base of the machine as these will almost certainly cause the machine to be uneven and cause it to shake.

Clean The Pump Filter

If you think the problem could be the pump filter is blocked, open the small panel at the bottom of the front of the machine. Inside you’ll see a small twist off plastic screw. Place a small bowl in front of this screw and remove it. Any water inside will collect in the bowl instead of the floor. Once unscrewed, the filter will simply pull out of the pump. Check there is nothing inside the filter or inside the pump as far as you can see, then replace the filter.

Call An Engineer

If after all of the above steps, your machine still shakes and/or vibrates, we recommend you call the manufacturer to check if your machine is still under warranty. If not, call a qualified washing machine engineer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my washing machine shake violently during the spin cycle?

If your washing machine is shaking violently during the spin cycle, it’s most probably the load isn’t balanced or the machine itself needs balancing. It’s often just a case of redistributing the load or adjusting one or more of the feet on the machine.

Why does my washing machine jump around when spinning?

The most common cause of a washing machine jumping around when it’s spinning is an uneven load. Simply redistributing the load is usually all that is needed to remedy this problem.

How do you know if your washing machine is off balance?

If your washing machine is off balance it is usually most evident during the spin cycle. The machine will shake, vibrate and even make banging noises if it is off balance in some way.

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