If you're having a house party and you're running low on space to store either ice or iced-down beverages, a washing machine can certainly get the job done. It's not a particularly elegant presentation for your guests, but for the laid-back crowd, it gets the job done.
How to Use a Washing Machine as a Cooler or Ice Chest
Things You'll Need
Bags of ice
Canned or bottled drinks
Various cleaning products
In preparation for your party, make sure your washing machine is empty and clean. Take a few minutes to clean up the immediate area around the washing machine by mopping the floor, wiping down dusty parts of the machine and picking up any scattered trash. This way, if your guests will be making trips to the washing machine to get sodas or beers, they won't have to step over a mess to get there.
If you just plan to use your washing machine as backup ice storage, buy bagged ice and keep it in the bags. Arrange the bags as well as you can inside the washing machine to maximize space. Keep the lid closed when you're not adding or retrieving ice. This will keep it very cold in there and most of the ice will last all day long. This works equally well with front loading and top loading washers.
If you plan on using your washing machine as a cooler, stick with top loading washers. Put down a few inches of ice, then add a layer of drinks. Keep layering ice and drinks until the machine is full or you're out of drinks. Keep the lid closed when you're not adding or retrieving drinks so that everything stays cold. Keep a towel nearby so that you and your guests can wipe your drinks dry.
At the end of the party, be sure to remove any drinks that may still be in the washer. If there are bags of ice left over, take them out and dispose of them.
Either wait for any remaining ice in the washer to melt or add some warm water to speed up the process. When only water remains, close the lid and turn on the spin cycle. This will spin out all of the remaining water.
If someone turns on your washer while it's full of ice and beer, you have a problem. Carefully consider who you've invited to your party. If there's anyone that might think to do this, either unplug your washer before the party or go buy some actual coolers.