Should Your Washing Machine Shake?

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante
Credit: Shutterstock / oasisamuel

Washing machines are commodities that make life at home much easier. However, they are also prone to problems that can be intimidating. So, should your washing machine shake?

Your washing machine will typically shake during the spin cycle, but not violently. An imbalanced load of laundry can make the machine shake too hard and walk across the floor. That can also happen if the ground is uneven or if the feet are loose. Excessive shaking also happens if the washer drum is off-center.

Never put all the clothes on one side of the machine, or your machine may shake violently. The hose can even detach from the wall and create a flood. Follow along as we explore what it means when your washing machine shakes.

Is It Normal For A Washing Machine To Shake?

It is okay for a washing machine to shake a little bit during the spin cycle. This happens when clothes move around and slap the sides of the drum. The combination of the impact of the clothes and the washing machine spinning makes it shake.

However, it’s not normal if your washing machine shakes so much that it “walks” or slides across the floor. This can be dangerous, as the machine can damage your wall or unplug from the water connection. In that case, water may pour out indefinitely until you catch the problem.

If you’re not home, you may return only to find interior flooding and water damage. Don’t run another load until you address the problem, or it may only get worse.

Why Does My Washing Machine Walk Across The Floor?

A washing machine can walk across the floor if the drum is imbalanced. This may just seem like an inconvenience, but it can be dangerous. Stop the washing cycle right away if you see the machine walk, unless it would be dangerous to do so.

Luckily, most of the causes are fixable without professional help. That said, it’s dangerous to work on a washing machine alone if you must lift or tilt it. Let’s explore the causes and fixes for a washing machine that walks across the floor.

Uneven Ground

Is your washing machine on even ground? If not, it will almost definitely shake and even walk across the floor. The water and clothes within your washing machine will violently move back and forth toward the side that slopes downward.

It’s dangerous to put a washing machine on uneven ground because the unit’s feet can easily lift. Move your washing machine if it’s on uneven ground. That said, you must enlist the help of a friend, as washing machines are heavy.

The machine will suffer the same consequences as if it were on uneven ground if the feet are loose. In that case, you may need to have someone lift the machine so you can inspect each foot. Exercise caution because you don’t want the machine to drop on your hands as you adjust the unit’s feet.

Lopsided Load

The easiest way to make a washing machine shake and walk is to overfill it with clothes. This can also happen if you unevenly position the clothes within the washer drum. For example, the machine will shake if most of the clothes are on one side.

Never wash heavier items, like rugs, alone in a single load. Heavier items have nothing to balance the other side of the drum unless they fill the whole drum. An imbalanced load can make the drum rattle back and forth.

The force of the vibration and weight of the load can make your washing machine rumble. This can even be dangerous if you or your pets are nearby, as you could injure your foot. Never dump all your clothes into a washer drum at once. Instead, put the items in the machine one at a time and spread them evenly throughout the drum.

Imbalanced Washer Drum

Over time, a washing machine’s drum can become imbalanced. This happens due to natural wear and tear, but it also happens if you frequently load the machine incorrectly. It can also happen if the washer legs, suspension rings, or shock absorber are damaged.

You can replace these parts, but it may be hard to find one compatible with your unit. Luckily, many pieces of washing machine hardware are universal. Inspect each of these parts one at a time until you find the culprit.

Hire a professional to replace the parts or inspect your washing machine if you don’t have much experience.

You Didn’t Remove The Shipping Bolts

Washing machines come with shipping bolts that you must remove before you run a load. If not, the machine will vibrate excessively. This can help machine walk across the floor if other problems are present as well.

Otherwise, it will simply shake a lot and you will experience load spin cycles. Many people forget to remove the shipping bolts if they don’t have a professional install their washing machine. Shipping bolts hinder a washing machine’s suspension.

You can find the shipping bolts on the back of your washing machine in most cases. Keep in mind that you don’t have to worry about shipping bolts if you have a top-load washing machine. Simply use a wrench and screwdriver to remove the shipping bolts.

Why Is My Washing Machine Humming But Not Filling?

Check the inlet valve if your washing machine hums but won’t fill. This typically indicates that the inlet valve is either broken or clogged. Clogging is common for homeowners with excessive minerals in their water supply.

However, you may simply need to replace the inlet valve altogether. It typically costs $120 to $200 to replace an inlet valve. You can save money if you avoid professional help, but that can be tricky if you have no experience.

The inlet valve is at the back of your washing machine, and it’s right by the hose. You must remove the connection block, disconnect the hoses, and remove the valve with a screwdriver. Many people also have to pull the valve by hand after they loosen it. Replace the valve, reconnect the hoses, and run a load to see if it worked.

Why Does My Washing Machine Stop Mid-Cycle?

A washing machine can stop mid-cycle if the lid switch breaks and fails. Lid switches ensure the machine won’t run when the lid is open. Sometimes, this switch can fail and falsely detect that the lid is open when it isn’t really.

You can replace the switch without help, but you must first turn off the circuit. This will reduce the risk of electric shock. Remove the panel to access the controls, then remove the panel’s screws.

Move the panel to reveal the lid switch. Carefully remove the screws from the switch’s wire enclosure so you don’t damage the wires. Now, remove the switch, install the new one, and then re-attach the wire enclosure and control panel. Call a professional if you don’t want to risk damaging your washing machine.

Summing It Up

It’s normal for a washing machine to shake, but not normal for it to walk across the floor. That typically happens when the load is uneven in the washer drum. Excessive shaking can also occur if the feet are loose, the ground is uneven, and the shipping bolts are still in place. Always remove the shipping bolts before you run a load in your new washing machine.

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Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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