How to level a washing machine

Man and his toddler bending down to use the washing machine in kitchen.
(Image credit: Getty)

If your latest load of laundry has caused your device to shake, you may be frantically searching for "how to level your washing machine." Unknowingly to most, a washing machine is balanced on four metal legs with rubber or plastic feet. It’s important to know how to level a washing machine because when one foot becomes lower or higher than the others, the machine can become unbalanced and start violently shaking, potentially causing havoc by knocking into kitchen cabinetry, pulling at pipes, and causing a ruckus. 

From the best washing machines to the oldest models, all washers are susceptible to becoming unbalanced, so it’s best to be prepared. We’ve broken down exactly how to level a washing machine in simple steps without any confusing jargon. We’ve also consulted a handyman to let us know exactly how to determine if your washing machine is unbalanced and when to act. 

How to tell if your washing machine is unbalanced  

If your washing machine is out of alignment, then you’ll notice some key signs, such as increased noise and vibration. In severe cases, you may also notice that the drum is not spinning in an even way because the washing machine is unbalanced, causing it to not rotate evenly. Here are some simple methods to check whether your washer being unbalanced is the cause:

It will rock back and forth if you apply pressure and lightly rock it. This indicates that the legs on one side of your machine are not the same height.

If you put a spirit level on the top of your machine, the bubble is not centered. 

If these tests reveal that your washing machine is unbalanced, then you need to find out how to level the washing machine before it gets worse.

How do washing machines become unlevel?

Your washing machine can become unlevel on its legs for a variety of reasons:

The nature of the washing machine spinning means that the machine is always in a state of physical agitation and vibration, especially during heavy spin cycles. This can slowly cause the metal legs to drop.

Your flooring might not be level; even a fractional difference in your floor height can make the machine unbalanced.

The anti-vibration pads under the feet may have come loose on one or more sides.

Sometimes, just time and regular usage are enough of a reason for the fixings of the legs to slightly move and cause an imbalance.

When to level a washing machine

Handyman Paul Dennison recommends using a spirit level to ensure that washing machines are balanced when they’re installed or when you move into a new property. Other than that, washing machines only need to be leveled if there are signs that they may be unbalanced. 

How to level a washing machine

This is a step-by-step guide for how to level a washing machine. Bear in mind that this is a general guide, and you should always make sure to check the manual for your washing machine to make sure you’re following the correct process for your particular model:

1. Empty it out

Make sure that your washing machine is turned off and emptied of laundry before disconnecting it.

2. Find the washing machine legs 

Some machines will require the plastic frontage of the washing machine to be removed with a screwdriver or clip to access the legs and feet of the machine. Check your model’s manual and gain visible access to the underside of the machine.

3. Check the anti-vibration pads

If you can see any anti-vibration pads have come loose, that could be the problem causing the imbalance. You’ll need to make room for them under the foot of the machine by raising the leg.

What the expert says...

Professional handyman Paul Dennison says, “If your washing machine is shaking more than usual, it might not be level. Look for signs it’s unbalanced, for example, if it wobbles when you open or close the door.”

4. Pinpoint the issue

Identify which metal leg needs to be adjusted to level out the machine. You can usually make a visual assessment as well as follow the bubble of the spirit level.

5. Adjust the leg height

Reduce or increase the leg height to regain balance. This will require an adjustable wrench to loosen the locking nut. Once the locking nut is loose, you should be able to retract the leg to the desired length. The key is to do so to the front and back legs in small increments until the bubble in the spirit level is completely centered. You can use a block of 4 x 4 wood to prop the front or back legs at any time to ensure you have a flat level on one side and access to the other.

6. Put the machine back together

Ensure you firmly replace the locking nut and plastic frontage of the machine. 

Tanisha Fletcher

Tanisha started her career in commercial retail buying for one of Amazon UK’s Top 10 revenue grossing online homeware retailers. Years spent obsessing over homeware products made it an easy career switch to writing about them. Her freelance career has seen her craft customer-focused web content for brands big and small, as well as writing articles in the health, lifestyle, home and retail sectors.

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