How to Winterize a Washing Machine

A washing machine should be installed and stored in a warm, dry location in the home to keep the machine working properly. If storing or moving a washing machine during freezing temperatures, you must first "winterize" the machine to prevent damage because a small amount of water is always present in the washing machine pipes and hoses. The same steps are used to winterize a washer whether the machine is a standard or high-efficiency unit.

Washing Machine
credit: poplasen/iStock/Getty Images
Always drain and unplug a washer if not using for an extended period of time.

Step 1

Turn off the hot and cold water faucets to the washing machine. The faucets should be located on the wall behind or slightly above the washer. Disconnect and remove both water inlet hoses. Use a pliers if needed to loosen the connectors on both ends -- these hoses run from the faucets to the back of the washing machine. Extend and stretch out each hose in a vertical position and gently shake to remove any water. Set both hoses aside for now.

Step 2

Locate the drain hose where it connects to the wall and cut the plastic tie holding the hose in place if necessary. Pull the hose from the wall and drain out any water by pointing the hose down into a pan on the floor. Raise the drain hose into the air in an upright position and pour 1 cup of nontoxic recreational vehicle-type antifreeze down the hose. Keep the hose raised for one minute to allow the antifreeze to run down the hose into the washing machine pump.

Step 3

Pour 1 quart of antifreeze -- using the same nontoxic type -- into the washing machine's empty interior tub. Run the machine on a rinse and spin for about 30 seconds -- or the normal cycle for about two minutes -- to draw out any remaining water left in the machine, where it will mix with the antifreeze and coat the interior of the tub. Turn off the cycle and close the washing machine door.

Step 4

Unplug the washing machine to disconnect the power and place the removed water inlet hoses in the washing machine tub to complete the winterization process. Keep the washer in an upright position during storage or moving to prevent damage.

Step 5

Reconnect the hoses and plug the machine back in when you are ready to use the washer again. Run the machine -- with an empty load -- through a complete wash cycle with laundry detergent to remove the remaining antifreeze residue before washing any clothes in the machine.