Won’t Washing Machines drain? Find Out Why And What To Do

Have you ever faced a draining problem with your washing machine? I bet you have! It’s a common problem, as common as one that’s not spinning, that all washers at some point face. Fortunately, it’s simple and you can easily solve it. 

A washing machine with drain problem

The most frequent sign you may notice is water left in the drum after the end of the wash cycle.   There are numerous reasons why this happens. Something might be stuck in the drain hose, or the drain pump may be broken. Here are some troubleshooting tips to help you deal with that problem. However, we have to warn you; Get plenty of towels and be prepared for a little wet mess!

Why can’t my washing machine drain water?

Once you notice that your washing machine doesn’t drain, you must determine why this is happening. There might be a piece of clothing that clogs the drain hose Or the drain pump might be broken. And don’t forget about the fact that a broken lid switch might prevent your washer from draining. No matter the reason, you’ll be able to fix it on your own without the need for a plumber.

Before taking up action, you should check for any kinks and damages at the machine’s hoses that are responsible for the drainage issue. What’s more, as silly as it may sound, double-check the program you have set. Some programs, like “Anti-crease”, “Stop water”, or “Night cycles”, exclude the spin cycle and drainage. Thus, once you’ve done your checkings and all things seem right in place, but the drain problem remains, then it’s time to take matters in hand. 

Step 1: Unplug the washing machine

The first step you should take is to unplug your machine or turn off the mains power for your own safety.

an unplugged washing machine

Step 2: Turn the water supply hoses off

Then, you should find the supply hoses and turn them off too. These water hoses will be connected to the hoses or knobs from your appliance to a pipe on the wall. Find them and turn the water off. 

Step 3: Empty the drum 

Now, you can continue by emptying the drum from the water.

To get the stuck water out of your appliance, you’re going to need:

  • Some towels
  • A tray 
  • A few containers

The newest washing machines have a service hatch at the front panel where an emergency drain hose is located. If you own an old appliance, look at the back of the machine for the central drain hose hooked up to the standpipe. Raise its end above the washer and then do as follows:

  1. Lay some towels in front of the machine and place the tray under the hose to avoid spills.
  2. Next, place the hose into the container by lowering it below the water level to pour the water out. 

Step 4: Remove the front panel

You now have to remove the panel that hides the machine’s pump. 

Here’s what you’ll need for your washing machine repair:

Now follow the next steps:

  1. To do so, support the front of the machine on paint cans and unscrew the panel
  2. Now, you’re ready to open the washer and access the pump
A washing machine with the front panel removed

Step 5: Check the drain water pump 

Once you’ve drained the washing machine, you can start by checking the drain pump. A drain pump removes the water from your appliance. It can easily clog and stop the device from draining. To be sure where to find the pump, look at the machine’s manual, where you’ll also find instructions on how to disconnect the pump to get it unclogged. 

To unclog the washing machine pump, you’re going to need:

  • A bucket
  • Needle-nose pliers 

Once you’ve disconnected the pump, do as follows:

  1. Place the bucket under the pump as water will probably spill. 
  2. Use the pliers to pull the blockage.

Step 6: Check the pump belt

Many times a faulty pump belt or a broken impeller might cause a drainage problem. If that’s the case, there isn’t much you can do. It needs to be replaced to resolve the issue. 

Step 7: Check the lid switch

If you own a top-loader, a faulty lid switch assembly can prevent the washer from drainage. Depress the lid switch to check if it’s working properly. If it’s broken, then you should replace it to close the lid securely. 

Step 8: Check the filter

The filter is usually located low down under the door. The filter traps dirt, fluff, suds and objects like coins, zippers,  safety pins, buttons that come off the garments. A buildup in the filter can lead to drain problems. Thus check it and clean it regularly for the effectiveness of your appliance. 

The filter of a washing machine

Here’s what you need to check and clean the filter:

  • Some towels
  • A tray 
  • Hot water
  • A toothbrush

Now, do as follows:

  1. Lay a towel on the floor and a tray under the filter to collect the water that will come out of the filter. 
  2. Unscrew it and place it under running hot water to clean it. Use a toothbrush to clean the inner part from all residue.
  3. If the filter isn’t removable, get a soft brush or some paper towels and clean it.

Step 9: Check the water level control

If you’ve done all the above DIY steps and the problem still remains, then it’s time to check the level control. How to do so? Just open the machine’s access panel and find a plastic tube attached to the level pipe. Clean it with vinegar if it’s blocked, otherwise, replace it if you notice corrosion.

Step 10: Call the pros

Having tried all the above, but still, your washing machine doesn’t drain? Then it’s time to let professionals do their job. There might be a broken drain pump, a faulty belt or something more serious keeping your appliance from draining properly. An expert plumber would find out what the problem is and fix it. 

Tips to prevent washing machine drain problems

Dirt and lint in clothes loaded in the washing machine can cause drain pipe issues, like clogging. Thus, instead of taking action when the problem occurs, you can follow some tips to prevent the hose blocking and, as a result, water not draining correctly. 

A woman checking and cleaning a washing machine
  1. Clean your appliance and all its compartments regularly to remove all the dirt, sud and lint gather from the drum, the filter and the hoses. 
  2. Use a lint catcher on the end of the pipe to “catch” the grime and debris before reaching the drain. 
  3. Use a plumber’s snake to clean the hose from any blockage.
  4. Treat your drain pipe to enzymes every month to clean it. This way, you’re going to break down the soap scum build-up, blocking the water from draining properly. 

Any time your washing machine doesn’t drain shouldn’t be a headache anymore. These DIY steps should make that chore a piece of cake. Before doing anything, make sure that it isn’t your fault that the machine doesn’t drain and always turn it off before starting the maintenance process. There might be a little hassle, but we can promise that the problem will be solved if you apply the above steps!

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