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In plain, simple English, washing machines should not be kept in the rain.

Let’s address this question in details.

Why washing machine should not be left in the rain?

There are a few reasons why washing machines should not be left in the rain:

  1. Washing machine IP rating
  1. Rain water can lead to rust damage
  1. It can damage the electric wire installation.

Washing machine IP rating

Can washing machine be kept in rain

This is perhaps the most important reason why washing machines should not be put in the rain.

IP ratings or the Ingress Progression is a 2-digit short code used to indicate the seal protection a mechanical or electrical equipment has. 

This rating defines if and how much resistance to solid and water contaminants, such as dust and water.

The rating has the coding pattern:


Where the two stars indicate two digits. The first digit indicates the equipment’s resistance to solid, while the second is its resistance to liquid.

For example, most video walls has a rating of IP65.

Our interest is in the second number, in this case of the number 5.

The table below indicate the meaning of each 5 and their meaning.

Second digit – protection from moisture ingress:

 In the table below the “*” represents IP numbers that represent the level of protection from solid.

Our focus is on the next digit.

Here it goes:

IP RatingLevel of liquid protection
IP*0No protection
IP*1Protection against drops of water falling from a vertical position.
IP*2Protection against dripping water when the enclosure is tilted up to 15° angle
IP*3Protection against water sprays up to angle of 60° from vertical
IP*4Protection against water splashing from any direction.
IP*5Protection against low pressure water jets of from any angle. Water pressure from 6.3mm nozzle
IP*6Protection against stronger water jets (12.5 mm nozzle) from all direction.
IP*7Protection when submerged in water up to 1 meter for about 30 minutes.
IP*8Protection when submerged in water greater than 1 meter and higher pressure.
IP*9kProtection against directed water jets of high temperature and pressure, wash downs or steam cleaning procedures.

How does this relate to washing machines?

Washing machines are rated IP54. The number 4 indicates that they can withstand water splashes. Anything more that will result in a damage.

This answers the whole question. But as a summary:

Washing machines are rated IP54. This means it cannot withstand water from rainfall. Even rainfall of lower pressure will damage a washing machine.

Damage from rust

Have you heard that washing machines are made of steel? Steels don’t you might think to yourself.

Well the appliance also contain about 3% cast iron as such they can get rust. Actually rusts are a common issue in washing machines.

Exposing washing machines to rainfall only increases the possibilities of your washing getting rust, not from the water withing, but also from the rain.

Even dry seasons without rainfall,dews, fogs, and mist, basically water in the atmosphere in it’s different forms can form perspiration of items outdoors.

This does not have the same effect of rainfall, but is sure more damaging than a few splash of water from bathroom. 

As such even on dry seasons, leaving washing machines outdoor, is not a good decision.

Damage to a washing machine’s electric wire installation

Water in a washing machine’s electric wire compartment is a real cause of washing machine fire outbreak.

A quick measurement of my washing machines shows that it is only 2cm high from the ground.

Of course, yours might be higher if adjusted, but the distance is still small. 

The short distance from the floor is a invitation to flooding. 

washing machine kept in the basement can easily be flooded in a rainfall. 

Even without flooding, if a washing is in the part of a flowing water, its low height from the floor can cause water to enter it from  the base.

A flooded washing machine will lead to electric wire getting wet. This can result in shock,short-circuit or fire when operated with the cable still wet.

How to protect washing machines from rainfall

Can washing machine be kept in rain

Washing machines are not an outdoor appliance… most of the time.

Sometimes however, it can be installed in locations, such as balconies, that can expose it to rainfall.

It is possible to keep this appliance in such areas, but still protect it from the element. 

Let’s discuss some twicks that can protect your washing machine from rainfall.

  1. Place it in a sealed cabinet.
  1. Protect balconies with transparent glass frames
  1. Use transparent polythene bags.

Place it in a sealed cabinet

washing machines are a short appliance. Usually 84 inches in height. If your washing machine is located in an exposed location, you can install the washer in an enclosed wooden cabinet with a see through door.

This protects the washer from rain and sunlight, while giving you the freedom to do laundry at any weather conditions.

Using a sealed cabinet is also a good space management technique, since the cabinet’s top can be used to store cleaning items like detergents, soap, fabrics softner and other laundry cleaning items.

Lovers of home plants can use this available space to store flower pots.

The extra space created on the cabinet top can be used creatively, like for placing carved and sculptured artwork, painting, etc.

Protect balconies with transparent glass frames

A balcony does not have to be exposed to the elements.

It can still be used as a vantage point to see the city’s beauty while being protected from rainfall. 

All you need to do this is to install a glass wall. 

Installing a washing machine on a glass-sealed balcony gives you the best of both worlds: a good vantage point, and protection of your appliance from rainfall.

And if you have flowers decorating your balcony, they can still benefit from the rich sunlight that shines through.

Of course, this has its downside: finance.

Installing a glass frame to cover the entire balcony can be quite expensive. And except you have a window cut in to the glass, it will also deprive the home of the much needed natural air you’ll normally enjoy in a home with balcony.

If finance is major constraint, then it’s better to opt for a glass cabinet instead.

Use transparent polythene bags

If you are on a budget, you can opt for a nylon or polytene bag. This can be build like a small tent and used to shield the washing machine from rain.

When built correctly, it will look like a cabinet, except this time, the covering is not wood or glass, but a nylon bag.

This, usually will not have the best look. But on the up side, it is cheap to install and maintain.

Plus it gets the job done.


Can washing machine be kept in rain

Keeping washing machine in the rain is a bad choice.

The simple reason is that they are not built to withstand rainfall, and you can damage your appliance or even hurt users when it is kept and operated in the rain.

So by all means, find ways to protect your washer from the rain. If you can’t find ways to do so, then install it somewhere safe, like in the kitchen.

If there is absolutely no safer place to keep the washer, then consider postponing buying or installing the washer until you can find a safe place to install it.

Leaving washing machine in the rain is dangerous and should be avoided by all means.

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