How to move a washer and dryer by yourself
Washers and dryers are significant household investments. Fortunately, if you’re moving, the process for packing them and taking them with you can be simple. Carefully follow the steps below to avoid damage and help ensure both appliances operate smoothly after the journey.
Reference the manual
Because every model is different, it’s best to check the user’s manual for instructions on disconnecting and moving these machines. If you don't have a manual, try searching this online manual library by entering the brand and model. Another option is to ask a local repair shop if they can order a user’s guide for you.
Before starting the process, make sure to grab these supplies:
- Bleach or vinegar
- Bucket or large bowl
- Slip-joint pliers
- Tape or plastic stretch wrap
- Household cleaner
- Washer locks or foam (to secure drum, depending on the instruction manual)
- Moving blankets or paper padding
- Rope or ratchet straps
Steps for moving a washing machine
The following directions apply to top-loader and front-loader washers (unless the owner's manual instructs otherwise). The first several steps discuss how to unhook and drain the machine. We recommend doing these in the listed order to avoid damage to the washer or injury to yourself. If you don't feel confident doing it, consider hiring a plumber or an appliance technician.
- Clean it. Run the empty machine through a normal wash cycle on hot, using bleach or white vinegar to clean the drum and drain lines of detergent residue. Leave the door open for at least 24 hours to allow it to dry completely.
- Shut off the water supply. These valves are usually located behind the washer on the wall. You may have to shimmy the machine away from the wall to reach behind, but be careful not to pull the lines loose. Instead, move it just enough to turn the supply valves off (typically done by turning them clockwise).
- Turn off the power. Find the washer on your home's electrical panel and disable it.
- Unplug it. Follow the cord to the outlet, and unplug it.
- Disconnect and drain the hoses. There’s likely residual water in the hoses that will need emptying. Have a bucket or large bowl handy and use slip-joint pliers to disconnect both the hot and cold water hoses from the valves. Keep the hoses upright to keep water from spilling out and disconnect one at a time, emptying any water into the bucket.
- Remove water hoses from the washing machine. Use slip-joint pliers to disconnect the hoses from the machine, and place them inside the washer, so they aren’t misplaced during the move.
- Keep the drain hose attached. Secure the drain hose upright on the appliance using tape or plastic stretch wrap. Keeping it connected gives any remaining water a place to go instead of leaking while in transit.
- Clean the outside. Use a household cleaner to remove dirt or dust.
- Install washer locks. Reference the instruction manual to learn how to keep the drum and other parts in place during a move. Top-loaders usually require you to wedge foam or cardboard between the drum and the case. For a front-loader, you’ll typically insert shipping bolts in the rear of the washer to secure the drum. If you no longer have the original locks, contact the manufacturer to purchase some.
- Secure the parts. Attach cords to the back of the machine with tape, and secure the lid with plastic stretch wrap.
- Protect the washer. Use moving blankets or paper padding to shield the washing machine from scratches and dings during transit.
How to disconnect and move a dryer
While there won’t be any water to drain, you’ll still want to follow each step carefully when moving a dryer. We recommend contacting a professional utility service provider for help if you’re unsure or uncomfortable shutting off and disconnecting the power and gas lines.
- Turn off the power. Again, use the electrical panel to switch off the power. Then, unplug the appliance.
- Turn off the gas supply (if it’s gas powered). There is typically a small valve on the dryer line to turn to the off position. If you can’t locate that, then temporarily turn off the home’s main supply.
- Disconnect the gas line (if applicable). Allow the room to air out for a few minutes. If it still smells like gas, check that the main gas line is shut off. Call a professional and evacuate the home if the smell lingers.
- Pull the dryer from the wall. Gently pull the appliance out just enough to access the back.
- Disconnect the vent pipe. You’ll do this by removing the clamp or screws that connect the hose to the dryer.
- Keep the cords and lines attached. Use stretch wrap to secure any cords or lines to the machine.
- Prepare the appliance for moving. Clean the outside, secure the door with stretch wrap, and cover the entire thing in moving blankets or paper padding.
Best practices for loading the washer and dryer
Since washers and dryers are typically heavy and bulky, we recommend having help while loading. Once they’re disconnected and prepped, carefully follow these steps:
- Tilt the appliance back and slide the dolly underneath. Once it's securely tipped back on the dolly, strap it down to keep it safe while loading it into the moving equipment.
- Wheel it out of your house and load it. Use extra caution when guiding it over any thresholds and up ramps. Watch to make sure the machine doesn't come loose.
- Secure the appliance inside the equipment using rope or ratchet straps.
- Refrain from loading heavy boxes and items on top. Extreme weight can cause denting and other damage.
If you have questions about packing and loading washers and dryers, leave a comment below. We’re happy to help.
Moving other appliances and household goods? Check out our packing guide for more steps and tips!
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