How to Winterize a Washing Machine

White washing machine and dryer

Winter weather requires that certain parts of your home undergo steps to ensure that those areas or items are kept safe for the season. While common “winterizing” processes include doing so to a pool, yard, or even car, something many people forget to winterize is their washing machine.

Who Should Winterize Their Washing Machine?

If you have a vacation home that is not used much during the winter months in a climate that gets chilly, you’ll want to winterize your washing machine. This is because you don’t want to leave your machine vulnerable to freezing temperatures in your absence. Even machines that are not in use carry residual water in their hoses and pumps. If this water were to freeze, the pumps and valves could be damaged and the warranty simultaneously voided.

Others who have a washing machine that is not in use and is inside or outside of a home that is exposed to below-freezing temperatures regularly will also want to take the appropriate steps to winterize their appliance. There are two methods that will keep your washing machine in great condition while you wait for spring.

Method One: Drain All Fluids

Drain hoses on a washing machine

The first way to winterize a washing machine is to drain all fluids from the appliance. The steps below detail how to do this in a way that guarantees your machine will be safe in even the lowest of temperatures.

Turn Off Faucets

The first step in completing this winterizing method is to turn off all water supply faucets.

Disconnect Hoses

Next, disconnect hoses from the water supply, allowing all of the water to drain out of it.

Remove the Drain Hose

From the drain opening, remove the drain hose. This mechanism connects to the drain port at the bottom of the appliance, also connecting the drain to the opening within your home to let water escape. At this step, lay the drain hose on the ground while it’s still connected to the drain port, allowing excess water to drain into a shallow pan.

Drain Water From Pump

After the hoses are completely drained, tilt the front of the appliance forward to allow any water from the pump to drain.

When Ready For Use

That is all that you need to do to winterize your washing machine using this method. Once the winter has concluded and you’re ready to use the appliance again, though, allow the washer to sit inside for 24 hours at room temperature. Then, reconnect the hoses and faucets and begin using the machine as normal.

Method Two: Using Antifreeze

Bottles of antifreeze and coolant

The next method of winterizing your washing machine is another that is simple to carry out. In this method, RV-type antifreeze is utilized to prevent any water in the appliance from freezing over these chilly months.

Disconnect Machine

First, disconnect the water hoses from the machine and shut all of the water faucets off completely.

Allow Drainage

Now that everything is off and disconnected, allow the hoses to drain so that they no longer have any fluid in them.

Add Antifreeze

Add a quart of RV-type antifreeze to the basket of your washing machine. While some may be leery of adding this substance to a major appliance, have no fear. Since RV antifreeze is propylene glycol-based and is also non-toxic, it’s completely safe for use in a washing machine.

Run the Washing Machine

Once you add the antifreeze, quickly run the washing machine for about 30 seconds so that it’s mixed with any water that may still exist within the pump.

Unplug Your Washing Machine

Finally, unplug your washing machine and power it down completely, leaving it that way for the entirety of the season.

When Ready for Use

Once you’re ready to use your washing machine again after using this winterizing method, run water through the hoses to rid them of antifreeze. Reconnect those hoses and switch the faucets on, running the appliance through a full cycle. Use detergent or vinegar to rid the pumps, pipes, and machine of antifreeze completely.

These methods are simple to carry out but do a great deal in keeping your washing machine safe all winter long.