How to Clean and Remove the Agitator in Your Washing Machine

How to Clean and Remove the Agitator in Your Washing Machine

The washing machine is one of the most vital appliances in the house, and its importance has grown significantly since the start of the past decade when manufacturers began to implement the latest technologies into their different washers. People are beginning to embrace all the good things that come with using the washing machine, including convenience and comfort. Let’s face it – nobody likes to spend hours doing something that can be done by a machine, and even better as long as they can afford it.

Gone are the days when the washing machine was viewed as a luxury that could only be afforded by the elites in the society because they had enough money to spend on machines that would, in return, bring them comfort and convenience. Things have improved significantly in the past few years as almost 85% of the households in the United States now own at least one washing machine in their dedicated laundry rooms. Many people now believe they need washing machines and dryers in their homes to fully maximize time as they’ll have enough of it to focus on other parts of their lives.

If you own a top-loading washing machine, knowing how to remove the agitator from the washing machine is an important thing to know, and it will come in handy most times when you need to remove some parts of the washer beneath the agitator. The washing machine agitator removal process is not as difficult as most people think, although that may be hard to believe if you’re trying it for the first time. According to SF Gate, many parts of a washing machine can fail, and the annoying thing is that some of these parts are beneath the machine, which means you need to remove the agitator before you access them.

The agitator shaft has gaskets and seals around it, which are the main washing machine agitator parts, and anything inside the agitator can only be removed and replaced once the agitator has been removed. Other repairs that require removing the agitator include drive block, tub bearing, washtub, etc. Some washing machine technicians will tell you they can work their way around it, which is true – but how good of service will you be getting at the end of the repair?

The level of difficulty that comes with removing washing machine agitators largely depends on the manufacturer of the machine in question. While some agitator removals are very complicated, you can remove some in minutes without using any agitator removal tools at all, which is super fantastic. To clean an agitator washing machine is not what most people love to hear or think about because they think the process is also similar to removing a washing machine agitator, but it might just be the easiest thing you’ll ever do if you get the steps correctly.

It is advisable to leave all repairs for professionals, but little things like removing the agitator from the washer can make the whole process faster and easier for whoever is coming to get your washer fixed. It also means that you get a few things done yourself as long as you have a few simple tools, some of which we’ll be exploring later in this article. Knowing how to remove the washer agitator will help you avert many issues which may result in total damage to your washing machine if you leave an issue unattended for too long.

Having an agitator in your top-loading washing machine automatically eliminates the need for handwashing because it brings that aggressive rumble that helps combat tough stains in your fabrics. However, the downside of the powerful component is that it will reduce the quality of your fabrics over time, and may end up damaging them completely if you use the agitator too frequently. You may not need to know how to fix the agitator in a washing machine, but you have to know how to take the agitator out of a washing machine.

What Is A Washing Machine Agitator?

The agitator is one of the most vital components in a washing machine, and its presence in the top-loading washing machine gives people the assurance they need that they’ll always get the best results. When you purchase a washing machine with an agitator, you are getting it because you want something that can help combat the stains in your laundry effortlessly, and that’s what the agitator brings to the table. According to a post on The Spruce, the agitator is usually located in the center of the washing machine drum where it gets to touch every part of your fabrics.

Looking for the best top-loading washing machines with agitators? Read our detailed review of the best washing machines with agitators.

If you’re familiar with an auger or a screw, you’ll have an idea of what the agitator looks like because it is shaped just like those two components. Its responsibility is to move and agitate the clothes in the drum filled with water such that the clothes can come out very clean. The component moves up and down the washer randomly, rolling the clothes around in the water while also cleaning them. The most surprising about the agitator is that is it locked into place in any spin cycle because if let loose, it can destroy your fabrics due to its aggressive moment.

Average annual expenditure on washing machines (owned home) per consumer unit in the United States from

The information used to create this chart was extracted by the statistics published by the Statista Research Department in 2013, and it shows the U.S. household expenditure on washing machines for owned homes from 2007 to 2012. In 2007, the average annual expenditure on washing machines for owned homes per consumer unit in the United States in U.S. dollars stood at $32.08, the best on the chart. The figures dropped in 2008 when only $28.27 was the average annual expenditure, but things dipped further in 2009 when the numbers stood at $27.23. In 2010, 2011, and 2012, the average expenditure stood at $27.25, $27.41, and $28.86 respectively.

The United States washing machine market has been one of the biggest washing machine markets globally, competing with the likes of China, South Korea, Germany, Spain, and Canada. The information provided by the United States Census Bureau shows that more than 85% of the households in the country have a washing machine in their home. Today, the United States has higher ownership rates than Turkey, the UK, Italy, Russian, Germany, and Japan.

If you know how to remove the spinner in a washing machine, you should also be familiar with how to clean and remove the agitator in your washing machine. Although the washing machine agitator will most likely not break for as long as the washer exists, we can’t rule out the possibility as several other factors can contribute to this cause. Let’s take a quick look at when you need to start considering removing the agitator in your washing machine.

When Do You Remove Your Washing Machine Agitator?

As important as the agitator is in every top-loading washing machine, even though it’s hard to believe, the component can also break down. Early detection of whatever might be wrong with the agitator can save you a lot of stress and money because you might not know just what you might be averted by taking it out soon enough. Most people still don’t believe that a washing machine agitator can break because it is made of two pieces of solid plastic, making it one of the strongest washing machines parts.

Sometimes, you’ll be required to remove or replace the agitator, not because the agitator itself is bad, but because you have to do it to take of other problems in the washers. We mentioned earlier that the location of the agitator means that you’ll have to get across it to reach the other components located just beneath the machine. So, removing the agitator doesn’t necessarily mean that the agitator is bad or needs to be replaced because something is wrong with it.

One of the most common things you’ll experience with your top-loading washer that has an agitator is that clothes can get stuck under the agitator base a lot, but removing the agitator is not the only solution. Taking off the agitator should be your last move because there are other effective methods that can help you untangle the clothes from the base of the agitator without having to remove the agitator. It’s very difficult to get to the bottom of the washing machine, so it’s always very easy to remove the agitator if you want to clean it rather than trying to clean it in the washer.

You should remove your washing machine agitator when:

  • Its movement is weak
  • You want to check the tub for leaks
  • You want to remove the spin drum
  • It doesn’t function properly
  • It only moves in one direction
  • It doesn’t move at all
  • You want to check the spines
  • You need to replace the directional cogs

How To Remove Washer Agitator

Removing the agitator from your washing machine is not as difficult as most people have portrayed it to be in the past few years. The process takes about 20 minutes with an estimated cost of $10 to $20 which you may not end up using if there’s no damage whatsoever in and around the agitator. The tools you’ll need when removing a washing machine agitator include pliers, socket wrench set, screwdriver, and wrench extension.

Unplug Your Washer

This is usually the first step of every troubleshooting process. It is very important to always unplug your washing machine before working on the agitator or any other component that requires you to go deep down the washer. If you don’t unplug the washer from the outlet, the agitator may start spinning accidentally and you may be hurt in the process if your hands are close to the component.

Remove Top Agitator Cap

Once you’ve unplugged the washer from the outlet, it’s time to get to work on the agitator, and the first step involved in that process is to remove the top agitator cap. The cap is usually the round disk at the top of the agitator and can sometimes contain laundry detergent or fabric softener. The best way to get it off is with a screwdriver, although much of that depends on your type of washing machine.

Take Off the Inner Cap

The inner cap is usually directly below the top cap to prevent detergent and any other components from getting into the agitator mechanism. This is one of the easiest parts of the process as you can easily remove it with your hand or a screwdriver.

Remove the Agitator Bolt

After taking off the inner cap, the next thing is to remove the agitator bolt using a socket wrench. When choosing the socket wrench, you need to make sure the size is perfect for your washing machine. Once the have the socket wrench, fit it on the end of the extender while holding the base of the agitator with one hand. Use the other hand to fit the socket onto the agitator bolt that can be found in the center of the agitator and turn counter-clockwise to get the bolt off.

Remove the Agitator Completely

Once you’ve removed the agitator bolt from the equation, it’ll be very easy for you to take the agitator out. All you need to do is reach to the bottom of the washer drum, grab the agitator base with your fingers, and pull it out from the drum. It’s that simple.

Separate the Agitator Mover From the Base

Sometimes, you may be required to separate the upper agitator clothes move from the agitator base, so it needs special attention. Here, you need someone else to help hold the base firmly on the ground while they pull the clothes mover out of it. It’s safe to remember that if you need to replace the agitator dogs in your washer, you’ll have to separate the two large agitator parts to give you access to the dogs.

Replace the Agitator

If you want to replace the agitator you’ve just removed with a new one, all you have to do is to reattach the agitator top and base. Start by reassembling the parts back into the machine, screw the bolt, and add the two caps on top.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I need to know how to clean the inside of an agitator?

Cleaning your agitator washing machine is not as hard as many people think. As long as you have little knowledge on how to clean a washing machine agitator or how to clean the inside agitator in a washing machine, you shouldn’t have a problem.

2. Can you remove the agitator from a washing machine?

Yes, you can. We’ve highlighted the important steps to take when removing the agitator in your washing machine and we’re sure you can get it done if you follow the steps correctly.


Knowing how to clean and remove the agitator from your washing machine will come in handy a lot of times. As opposed to what many people think, it is very easy to remove the agitator in your washing machine. However, if the agitator bolt or the entire agitator begins to rust or corrode, you should know it’s time to involve a professional as you will not be able to remove it without breaking the agitator.





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