How to Level a Washing Machine

Bubble level placed on top of washing machine with houseplant on top

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 20 mins
  • Total Time: 10 - 20 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0 to $5

Washing machines that vibrate, rock, walk, leak, or refuse to spin can often trace their problems back to just one cause: an out-of-level machine. Leveling the washing machine is critical to the proper functioning of the machine and can ward off worse problems, like water supply hoses tearing loose and flooding water. In most cases, leveling a washing machine takes only a few minutes.

How Washing Machines Become Out of Level

An out-of-level washing machine can be caused by issues with the flooring, obstructions under the machine, or by improperly adjusted front legs. Common causes include:

  • Rotted floor covering
  • Deficient subfloor and joists
  • Machine resting on soft surface, like carpeting
  • Floor not level
  • Spins with improperly loaded or heavy items like bedcovers displacing machine
  • Machine feet changing height over time
  • Front-loading washer spinning faster than top-loading washer, causing misalignment
  • Plastic washing machine pan out of alignment
  • Loose heavy-duty anti-vibration pads under washer feet

When to Level a Washing Machine

Level a washing machine only when the drum is empty of water. If safe, initiate the spin cycle to drain the drum. Otherwise, bail out water by hand with a kitchen measuring cup.

Level a washing machine immediately. There is no safe operating slope for washing machines outside of the manufacturer's recommended maximum slope,


Many Android phones already have a built-in level—no need to download a separate app. Ask for "bubble level" on Google Assistant. Apple phones also have a pre-installed level app. Open Measure, then tap Level.

Safety Considerations

Fully disconnect the washing machine before working on it. Disconnect the drain hose, drain the water, and place the end in the drum. Disconnect the hot and cold water supply hoses and drape them in the drum, too. Unplug the power cord to avoid shock.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Bubble level or phone level app
  • Adjustable pliers


  • Two-by-four block


Materials and tools to level a washing machine

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  1. Pull out Washer

    To check the flooring under the washing machine, first fully disconnect the machine. Slide the washer forward until the entire area below the washer is visible. If the machine is set in a plastic tray, slide the entire tray and washer forward.

    Washing machine pulled out into open area

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  2. Check for Loose Foot Pads

    Rubber anti-vibration pads, similar to furniture pads, placed under the washing machine feet may have come loose. The machine will need all four pads in place—or no pads—in order to remain level.

    Small rubber anti-vibration pad held up in front of washing machine

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  3. Check Flooring Condition

    The flooring should be solid flooring, such as tile, vinyl, laminate, or wood. Washing machines should not be on top of carpeting. With the level, check that the flooring is level. The floor must be solid and in good condition. The floor should not be rotted, cracked, waterlogged, or moldy.


    The maximum recommended slope for most washing machines is 1/2 vertical inch per horizontal foot. As washers are around 27 inches wide, this translates to about 1 vertical inch across the entire width or depth of the machine. Consider this a maximum slope and instead aim for perfect level.

    Bubble level placed on wood floor to check level conditions

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  4. Repair Flooring

    If needed, repair the flooring. For heavily rotted flooring, it's best to remove the floor covering, then remove and replace the poor subfloor, and then reinstall the floor covering. In some cases, the floor joists might be in poor condition.

    Alternatively, some washing machine manufacturers recommend installing 3/4-inch exterior- or marine-grade plywood on top of the finish flooring. Cut the plywood to 34 inches deep and 34 inches wide to fully span three floor joists from end to end. Screw the plywood to the floor joists with 2-inch screws.

    Tools organized on wood floor for repair

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  5. Check Washer Level

    With the washer back in place, check the level of the washer side to side and front to back. If the washer has a rounded top, choose straight areas such as along the side seams or along the top of the control panel

    Bubble level placed on side of washing machine

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  6. Settle Washer

    With the lid down, rock the washer forward to back and side to side to assess whether all four legs are in contact with the floor.

    If the back feet are uneven, the problem lies with the floor, since the back feet are fixed in place. If the front feet are uneven, adjust them in the following steps.

    Washing machine legs hovering above wood floor

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  7. Prop up Front of Washer

    Have an assistant tip the washer backward to raise the front by a few inches. Insert the two-by-four block under the front at the center of the washer.

    Two-by-four gray block slid in front of washing machine

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  8. Adjust Washer Feet

    With the pliers or by hand, turn the front leveling feet counterclockwise to lower the washer feet or clockwise to raise the washer feet. The feet may need to be at different levels to adapt to the floor. Make sure that each foot remains securely attached to the base of the washer.

    Pliers adjusting washing machine feet to different levels

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

When to Call a Professional

Call a general contractor to make substantial repairs to the finish flooring, subfloor, or joists under the machine.