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How to stop a washer from shaking

When washer problems arise, it can be frustrating. However, a shaky washer doesn't need to be an obstacle in caring for your family's clothing. Understanding common reasons behind what may be causing the shaking can help you troubleshoot the issue on your own or know when to consult a professional.

Follow along with this helpful guide for tips on troubleshooting problems with a shaking washer, as well as possible do-it-yourself washer fixes.

A white Whirlpool® washer and dryer pair in a modern laundry room A white Whirlpool® washer and dryer pair in a modern laundry room

Why is my washing machine shaking? 

If you’ve noticed your washer shaking a lot, the problem could be an overloaded tub, improper installation or leveling issues. During spin cycles, shaking can usually be attributed to an unbalanced washer.

To help avoid washer problems before they start, it’s recommended to arrange professional installation for your appliance.

Is it normal for a washing machine to shake? 

The nature of washer cycles means a small amount of shaking is to be expected. Shaking can be particularly noticeable during the spin cycle, as clothes are moved rapidly to remove water prior to drying.

However, a washing machine that is jumping or “walking” across the floor can indicate a problem. When the appliance is properly installed and used in accordance with the owner’s manual, excessive shaking may be your sign to inspect the washer or speak with a technician. 

A woman using a Whirlpool® dryer next to a matching washer A woman using a Whirlpool® dryer next to a matching washer

How to prevent your washer from shaking

When troubleshooting your shaking or jumping washing machine, considering simple washer solutions first is a helpful way to identify the problem or decide whether the issue warrants inspection by a professional. Follow this guide to help you find the cause behind your shaking washer and remember to consult your appliance’s manual for model-specific advice.

What You’ll Need

Tools
  • Level

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Adjustable pliers

Bolt icon

Step 1: Remove lingering shipping bolts

If your washer is new, check for leftover shipping bolts, which are used to secure the wash basket during shipping. Failure to remove shipping bolts prior to operation can cause the new washing machine to shake forcefully and potentially result in damage. If you’ve recently bought a new washer, make sure the shipping bolts have all been removed before attempting another cycle.

Laundry basket icon

Step 2: Inspect your laundry loads

When the wash basket is filled too high due to overloading, the washing machine can shake during the cycle. Running a single large, bulky item or one that is highly absorbent through a cycle can also throw the washer off balance and cause shaking. If you notice shaking, try to load fewer clothes and ensure items are evenly dispersed throughout the basket to equalize weight inside the washer. You can also try adding other items to help equalize weight inside the basket to help stop the shaking.

Level icon

Step 3: Stabilize the washing machine

Leveling problems with the appliance or your home’s flooring can be a common source of noise and excessive vibration during washer cycles. To determine whether your washer is unlevel, follow these steps to improve the stabilization: 

  • Inspect any storage compartments on the washer and remove any items that may be rolling around during washer cycles.
  • Check the balance of the washer by placing a level on the top of the appliance, both width-wise and front to back. 
  • Modify the level of the washer by raising or lowering the leveling legs with an adjustable wrench or pliers if necessary. Also ensure any jam nuts that are in place to secure the leveling legs are tight, securing the legs against the base of the appliance.

  • Inspect the washer pedestal for loose mounting screws and tighten as needed, ensuring the pedestal feet maintain firm contact with the floor. Be sure that the lock nut that’s in place to secure the washer legs is also tight against the appliance frame.

Check icon

Step 4: Check the washer basket or drum

Problems with the washer basket or drum may warrant professional service. The shock absorbers or drum bearings of older or outdated washing machines can become worn out over time, leading to internal imbalance that can cause the washer to shake. 

 

Take a look inside the washer and make sure the basket or drum of your top- or front-loading washer is visibly centered in the opening. Then, try manually moving the component. If you hear a grinding or clanking noise, it may be time to arrange for professional service. If you have a Whirlpool® washer, visit Whirlpool® Customer Care to connect with a technician. 

Shop Whirlpool® washing machines and accessories

If it’s time to upgrade your laundry pair, browse washer and dryer sets designed to work together. With features on select models like the 2 in 1 Removable Agitator and stackable designs, Whirlpool® washing machines bring comfort and convenience to your laundry experience. Shop the full collection of washers and accessories by Whirlpool brand for an appliance that helps make your household’s busiest days more manageable.

Learn more about laundry machine maintenance with Whirlpool brand

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