How to Move a Washing Machine by Yourself

A car with stacked appliances on the roof

So, you find yourself in a pickle.

Your washing machine sits in one corner of your home, and you’ve decided it’s time for a change. Or maybe it’s an item on your honey-do list.

Whether upgrading, downgrading, or just rearranging, the task seems impossible: moving that heavy washing machine all by yourself. But it can be done — and with the right equipment and technique, it may be easier than you think. Here, we’ll walk you through the steps.

Gather Your Supplies

First things first. If you have a history of back or heart problems, or if you weigh 80 lbs soaking wet, it’s a terrible idea to move a washing machine alone. This is not the time to play brave or save money by forgoing professional assistance.

Hire someone to do the work for you, even if the washer is moving just a few feet. But, if you’re in good health and are reasonably strong, moving a washer DIY should be within your capabilities. Start by rounding up the right tools and equipment.

1. The Hand Truck: Your New Best Friend

A hand truck is a two-wheeled, L-shaped box-moving handcart with handles at one end. It’s a godsend for moving heavy appliances like your washing machine solo.

Why not a dolly, you may ask? A dolly is great for moving multiple smaller items or heavy, oversized furniture like a piano, but often requires at least two people to maneuver and keep items balanced.

A hand truck is usually a better choice for stacked boxes and appliances. It’s more stable, more maneuverable, and easier to control. It can negotiate bumps, thresholds, and even stairs. Ideally, your hand truck should have pneumatic (inflatable) tires to cushion the load and improve traction.

Avoid cheaper models with semi-pneumatic (airless), hard rubber tires — they’re often too stiff.

2. Cardboard or Blankets: Pamper Your Machine

If you’re moving from house to house or apartment to apartment, wrap your washing machine in cardboard or thick blankets to protect it from scratches and dings. Your machine deserves the VIP treatment!

3. Tape and Rope: Secure Everything

Use heavy-duty tape to secure the cardboard or blankets, and double-check that no corners or edges are exposed. For extra security, you can bind everything together with sturdy rope. Just don’t tie it so tight that you damage the machine.

4. Ratchet Straps: Secure Your Load

Adjustable moving straps will keep your washing machine from rocking, sliding, or wobbling off your hand truck — potentially causing a dangerous situation. You can purchase or rent regular moving straps or ratchet straps. Ratchet straps are best, since they allow extra tightening and security.

Place the strap around the middle of the washing machine or slightly above it. This will prevent any tilting. Secure the strap, but don’t over-tighten it.

  1. Feed the Strap: Take the loose end of the strap and feed it through the slot in the center rotating spool of the closed ratchet.
  2. Pull Through: Pull the strap through. Remove the slack and make sure the strap isn’t twisted.
  3. Crank the Ratchet: Crank the ratchet until it is tight. The ratchet mechanism will lock the strap and prevent it from loosening.
  4. Check the Strap: Ensure the strap is firm but not overly tightened. An overly ratcheted strap can damage your washing machine.
  5. Lock the Ratchet: Once you’re happy with the tension, close the ratchet to lock it in place.

5. Tool Kit: Just in Case

Always have a basic toolkit — you never know when a screw might play hide and seek. Having the essentials at arm’s reach can save you from snafus and hiccups.

6. Friend on Speed Dial: Emotional Support

Even if you plan to move the washing machine alone, having a friend or family member on speed dial is always a good idea. Moving heavy objects can be physically demanding and emotionally taxing, so having an extra pair of hands when things get difficult can make all the difference.

The Big Lift: It’s Showtime!

Now it’s time to get down and dirty. Follow these steps, and you’ll move that washing machine like a seasoned pro!

  1. Clean & Drain the Tank: Empty your machine of all water and cleaning fluids before attempting to move it. This will make it lighter and easier to handle.
  2. Disconnect the Hoses: Unplug the washing machine and disconnect the hoses, including drainage pipes. Again, this reduces weight and minimizes the risk of damage during transport.
  3. Secure the Drum: Tightly secure the drum of your washing machine. You can do this with padding and straps, tape, or by following the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent the drum from moving around during transport.
  4. Position the Hand Truck: Slide your hand truck’s nose plate under the washing machine. Always lift with your legs, not your back! The bottom of the machine should rest on the nose plate while the body leans against the hand truck’s frame.
  5. Secure the Machine: Bind the machine to the hand truck using your ratchet straps.
  6. Tilt the Machine: Tilt the hand truck backward until it’s resting on its wheels.
  7. Respect the Control Panel: Avoid placing pressure on the control panel of your washing machine. This part is particularly fragile and could break under strain. Treat it like the delicate flower it is. Always lift from the body of the machine.
  8. Move & Steer: Start moving in the direction you want, pushing and steering with one hand while supporting the machine with your other hand.
  9. Move Carefully on Stairs: Take small, measured steps. If you’re using a stair climber hand truck, take one step at a time.
  10. Wrap for Protection: Wrap the machine in blankets or cardboard for protection during transport. Use heavy-duty tape to hold the protective materials in place.
  11. Unload: Lower the washing machine into place when you reach your destination. Unstrap and unwrap it.
  12. Reconnect the Machine: Reconnect the hoses and plug the washing machine in.

Ta-da! You’ve just completed your moving solo performance.

Navigating Stairs & Tight Spaces

Staircase Survival Skills

  1. One Step at a Time: Tackle each step individually. Don’t rush. That heavy washing machine can quickly get out of control.
  2. Get a Grip: Keep a firm grip on the hand truck. Make sure your hands aren’t too sweaty or slippery. Wear gloves if necessary.
  3. Don’t Go It Alone: If possible, have someone help you navigate the stairs by holding onto the machine or hand truck from the bottom.
  4. Avoid Overbalancing: Keep your body and feet close to the hand truck’s wheels for balance. Don’t lean too far back or forward.

Tight Squeeze Tips

  1. Measure Twice, Move Once: Measure all doorways and stair landings before attempting to move your washing machine.
  2. Plan Your Path: Before you start, figure out the best route. Verify that the washing machine and the hand truck can fit.
  3. Angles Are Your Friends: Sometimes, tilting the washing machine or taking an angle can make a big difference. Just don’t tilt too much and destabilize the load!
  4. Easy Does It: Move slowly. Rapid movements can lead to bumps and bruises for you and the washing machine.
  5. Keep it Clean: Clear the path of obstacles that could trip you or scratch the machine.

Loading & Unloading Safely

Loading and unloading the washing machine onto and off the truck requires care and precision.

Loading Safely

  1. Clear the Path: Make sure there’s nothing in your way from the house to the vehicle. This also goes for any low-hanging branches, potholes, or pesky rocks.
  2. Ramp It Up: If your vehicle has a loading ramp, great! If not, consider renting one. Ramps make loading heavy items much easier and safer.
  3. Teamwork: This is usually a two-person job. One person should be at the bottom of the ramp, guiding the machine up, while the other person is on the ramp, pulling the machine into the vehicle.
  4. Secure for Transport: Once loaded, secure the machine with additional straps to prevent it from moving during transport.

Unloading Safely

  1. Gentle Down the Ramp: One person should be in the vehicle, slowly guiding the machine down the ramp, while the other is at the bottom, stabilizing the machine.
  2. Slow and Easy: The key is to move slowly and keep a firm grip on the hand truck.
  3. Flat Landing: Make sure you’re unloading onto a flat surface to prevent the machine from tipping over once it’s off the ramp.

Leveling & Testing

An uneven machine can cause excessive vibrations and wear, reducing lifespan and causing a racket in your home.

  1. Check the Level: Place a spirit level on the machine. Check the leveling side-to-side and front-to-back.
  2. Adjust the Feet: Adjust the feet if the machine isn’t level. Most washing machines have adjustable front feet. You can turn these by hand or with pliers.
  3. Check Again: Repeat the adjustment process until the machine is level in both directions.
  4. Lock the Feet: Lock the feet if possible when the machine is level. This will prevent them from moving out of position.

Now, run a test cycle to confirm everything is working correctly.

  1. Load Some Laundry: Drop a small load of laundry into the machine to see how it performs with clothes in it.
  2. Choose a Cycle: Select a short wash cycle.
  3. Start the Machine: Observe the machine for a few minutes to see if it’s running smoothly.
  4. Listen for Noises: If the machine emits strange sounds, there may be a problem.
  5. Check for Leaks: After the cycle, check around the machine for water leaks.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid the most common mistakes DIY movers make! These include:

  1. Overestimating Strength: Serious injuries can occur if you attempt to move a heavy machine without proper equipment or assistance. Always use a hand truck and ask for help if you need it.
  2. Forgetting the Prep: Before you start moving, it’s crucial to disconnect the power and water supply, drain any leftover water, and secure the drum. Forgetting these steps can lead to damage, water leaks, or even electric shocks.
  3. Neglecting to Check the Pathway: If the path from your old location to the new one is blocked or cluttered, you risk damaging your machine or causing an accident.
  4. Ignoring Safety Measures: Improper lifting techniques or safety equipment can lead to injuries. Always bend at the knees, not the waist, and use gloves for improved grip and protection.
  5. Skipping the Leveling: An unbalanced machine can cause vibration and noise and be vulnerable to premature wear and tear.
  6. Not Testing After the Move: Always run a test cycle after the move to ensure everything is working correctly. This can help you catch any issues early and avoid potential water damage.


Congratulations! You successfully a washer by yourself! Bear in mind that for stacked units and commercial appliances, you may need additional help. For local moves in metro Los Angeles, Walsh Moving & Storage is the service you can trust for all your moving needs, including bulky appliances. We’re local family-owned and have been in business for over half a century. All estimates are free. Call us today!

FAQs: Moving a Washer DIY

Q: Can I drag the washing machine instead of using a hand truck?

A: You could, but your floors might not thank you. Dragging can damage both the machine and your flooring.

Q: Do I need professional help?

A: Not necessarily. With the right tools and a can-do attitude, most people can move a washing machine solo.

Q: How do I lift a washing machine onto a truck?

A: Follow the same principles: hand truck, straps, and a bit of muscle. Make sure the machine is secure before hitting the road. If your moving truck has a lift, use it to make the process easier.

Q: Can I lay a washing machine on its side during transportation?

A: Laying a washing machine on its side can damage internal components and cause leaks. Always keep the machine upright.

Q: How do I secure the drum for transportation?

A: Use padding and straps to secure the drum, preventing internal damage during the move.

Q: What tools do I need to move a washing machine?

A: Essential tools include a hand truck, straps, padding, and a Crescent wrench or pliers for disconnecting utilities.

Should I level the washing machine immediately after moving it?

A: Leveling the machine ensures optimal performance and prevents issues like excess vibrations.

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