When washing machines do their job, they create a lot of movement. Still, all of that movement should be limited to the spinning drum inside and not the rest of the machine. So why do some washing machines move or ‘walk’ away from their place during the spin cycle?
A washing machine moves from its place when spinning because it lacks stability. You can stop this by ensuring the appliance is on a level surface and that its feet have been adjusted to keep it balanced. You can also replace worn-out parts like legs, shock absorbers, and suspension rods, so the washer regains its stability. Accessories like non-slip mats can also help reduce excessive movement.
Here, we’re going to dive deeper into why a washing machine moves when spinning. You’ll see why that’s a bad thing and what you can do to stop it from happening to your washer at home.
Why Does A Washing Machine Move And Shake?
A washing machine works by turning its drum to tumble the laundry inside. That happens the most during the spin cycle when the drum is spun at very high RPMs (or Revolutions Per Minute) to squeeze all moisture out of the fabrics and end the washing process.
Modern washing machines are very well designed to contain all the centrifugal force created by that high-speed spinning. Thanks to components like shock absorbers and suspension rods, all of that movement is contained within the drum so the rest of the machine doesn’t move.
However, if the machine is not set up correctly or those shock-absorbing parts have worn out, then the spinning tub will cause the whole washing machine to move and shake excessively.
What Happens When A Washer Moves Too Much When Spinning?
A washing machine that moves around too much is a problem that needs to be fixed.
For starters, it is very annoying for users to repeatedly have to put the machine back because it keeps moving away from its place.
Besides that, the overall washing process becomes a lot less efficient when the washing machine can’t remain stable. Stability is crucial so that the clothes can be agitated enough to remove dirt, and so that water can flow in and drain out efficiently as well.
In more extreme cases, a washer that moves around too much when spinning can also suffer damage. For instance, a drum that shakes excessively could hit other parts inside the washing machine.
How Do I Stop A Washer From Moving During The Spin Cycle?
To stop your washing machine from moving during the spin cycle, there are three areas you can troubleshoot.
Firstly, you’ll want to ensure that the machine has been set up correctly and that you’re operating it the right way. That is especially important if you’ve just bought a brand new washing machine.
Then, you must also troubleshoot the washing machine parts that are supposed to prevent any excessive movement from happening. Older machines that are moving too much will likely have a problem in this area.
Lastly, you could also purchase aftermarket accessories designed to prevent washing machines from moving, whether they’re old or new.
Let’s take a closer look at each of those areas.
Washing Machine Setup and Operation
1. Remove Shipping Bolts
You’ve probably been told that you need to remove the shipping bolts when you receive a new washing machine. That’s because the shipping bolts are meant to hold parts like the drum in place so they don’t move around while being transported.
If, however, you’ve started using the washing machine without removing those bolts, your appliance will make lots of noise and move around far too much.
Seeing as how the drum inside is still locked in place even as it spins, all of the force it generates will shake the entire washing machine and cause it to move.
2. Place On A Level Surface
Washing machines must be placed on a level surface. Even a slight incline could cause the appliance to move, especially when spinning the load inside.
To choose the correct spot for the washer, use a spirit (or bubble) level to check that the ground is perfectly level. If you don’t have a spirit level, you can use your smartphone instead, as plenty of free apps perform the same function.
3. Adjust The Feet Under The Machine
Many washing machine models come equipped with adjustable feet at all four bottom corners of the unit. Once you’ve placed the washer on a level surface, you must then adjust these feet to ensure the machine itself is level as well.
If those feet are not adjusted correctly, and the unit isn’t stable, the spinning inside will cause it to move.
4. Unbalanced Load
When loading your items into a front-load washing machine, you must ensure that the load is balanced. That means there should never be too much weight focused on just one side of the drum. The reason for this is simple: an unbalanced load will cause the drum to swing excessively, which will lead to the whole washer shaking.
To stop this from happening, make sure to spread your laundry evenly inside the tub before washing them.
Washing Machine Parts
1. Worn-Out Rubber Foot Pads
As mentioned earlier, most washing machines come with feet that you can adjust to keep the appliance stable and balanced. These are located on all four bottom corners of the machine. Some manufacturers provide you with the tool to adjust them, or you may have to use one of your own.
Each of those adjustable feet has a rubber foot pad attached to it. These pads create friction to prevent the legs and the washer from moving on the ground, mainly when it spins.
How it fails:
Over time, those rubber foot pads eventually wear out and lose their ability to keep the washer from moving.
If your washing machine has been in use for a long time and you notice that it starts moving more than usual, this is a likely reason for that.
How to fix:
To fix this, you’ll need to raise one side of the machine at a time so you can replace the rubber foot pad on at least two of the legs. All you have to do is slip the worn-out pads off and slip on the brand new ones.
Once you’ve replaced all of them, you must readjust all of the legs to ensure that your washing machine is perfectly level again.
2. Worn-Out Shock Absorbers
Front-load washers come equipped with shock absorbers. Their primary purpose is to moderate the vibrations generated by the drum inside as it spins at high RPMs. If your shock absorbers are in good working order, they’ll make the spinning drum’s vibrations barely noticeable.
How it fails:
Shock absorbers also experience regular wear and tear. When that happens, they gradually lose their ability to moderate the vibrations coming from the spinning drum.
Those vibrations will find their way to the rest of the machine and will eventually be strong enough to cause the unit to move during the spin cycle.
How to fix:
To replace the shock absorbers, you’ll need to take the machine apart and access it from the bottom. That’s because the shock absorbers are attached to the bottom side, helping to support the drum. This is not an easy DIY task. So if you’re unsure about doing this yourself, you should refer to a qualified technician instead.
3. Broken Suspension Rods
In top-loading washing machines, you’ll find multiple suspension rods that play a similar role to the shock absorbers mentioned above. These rods dampen any movement in the washer’s drum and prevent the rest of the machine from shaking.
How it fails:
After being in use for a long time, one or more of the suspension rods could break. Firstly, that means there won’t be enough suspension rods to dampen all of the drum’s movements sufficiently. Besides that, it would also mean that the drum will become unbalanced.
How to fix:
There are a few silver linings when it comes to fixing broken suspension rods. Firstly, there are several of them (some models have four or more). That means you won’t necessarily have to replace all of them at once. You’ll only need to replace the broken ones.
Besides that, a visual inspection is all that’s needed to identify a broken suspension rod. Once you’ve spotted the broken one, you can replace it, and you won’t have to worry about your washer moving anymore.
4. Washing Machine Accessories
Lastly, plenty of washing machine accessories help stop your unit from moving, especially during the spin cycle.
Non-slip mats are some of the most common accessories that you can find for this purpose. Besides that, you can also get additional anti-vibration and anti-slip pads to place underneath each of the washer’s adjustable feet.
These washing machine accessories are cheap and very easy to find. You’re free to use them if you’d like but bear in mind that they are not necessary.
Remember: washing machines are already designed to prevent excessive vibrations and movement.
So, as long as you set up and use your washer correctly, and so long as its parts are in good working order, then there’s no need for any additional accessories.