For most of us, doing the laundry is about as exciting as watching paint dry, but discovering that your washing machine isn’t draining as it should can turn a dreaded chore into a laundry nightmare. Thankfully, the most common causes of a washing machine not draining can easily be fixed with a little bit of knowledge and a few simple tools.

In this article, we’ll explain some of the common culprits that may be causing your washing machine to stop draining and give you some quick tips for how to drain a washing machine and save yourself the headache and expense of a costly plumbing repair.

Washer Not Draining? Check The Owner’s Manual First

Before you start dismantling your washing machine, make sure to check your owner’s manual for information about your warranty. Some manufacturers will not honor the warranty if you attempt to repair the machine yourself. The troubleshooting section of your manual should also have some useful information that may help you identify the cause of the problem and suggest ways to repair it.

How to Drain a Washing Machine

If your washing machine won’t drain, here’s a step-by-step troubleshooting guide that will show you how to identify and repair the most common problems that can cause your washing machine to stop draining.

How to Drain a Washing Machine (Step 1): Remove Standing Water

Try to remove as much water as you possibly can before unhooking any hoses. It will make the job much easier when the water’s out of the way. Once you’ve gotten as much of the water out as you can, unplug the machine and remove the front panel

How to Drain a Washing Machine (Step 2): Check for Clogs

The most common cause of a washer not draining is a clogged water pump or drain hose. It is not unusual for small clothing items like socks or rags to get pulled into the machine’s drain system and block the hose going into the pump. They may even clog the water pump as well.

Remove the drain hose from the back of the washer and run a steady stream of water through it (a garden hose works great for this). If there is something blocking the hose, this should flush the clog out. When you replace the hose on your machine, make sure that it is not bent or kinked, as this will slow the drain time and make it easier for small items to get caught in the hose again.

How to Drain a Washing Machine (Step 3): Run the Spin Cycle

Reconnect the drain hose and try to run the machine’s drain/spin cycle. If the water drains out, you’ve found the problem and you’re done. If not, the next step is to locate the pump and clean it.

The pump will be a circular, plastic object near the drain hose. Remove the top to get access to the screen inside. This screen acts as a filter to catch lint or small pieces of clothing or debris that could clog the pump and cause the washing machine to stop draining. Run clean water through the screen until it is completely clean and then, using your finger, make sure the pump’s fan spins freely.

How to Drain a Washing Machine (Step 4): Run the Spin Cycle Again and Determine if You Need a New Pump

Re-install the pump and try to run the machine’s drain/spin cycle again. If the water still does not drain or the pump’s fan isn’t spinning, then most likely you will need to replace the pump. You should be able to get a new pump at any plumbing supply store and it is a fairly simple repair.

Once the new pump is installed and the hoses reconnected, run the drain/spin cycle one more time to ensure that it is working correctly and to flush out any dirt that may have been stuck in the hose.

Regular Maintenance to Keep Your Washing Machine Draining Effectively

Once your washer is working properly again, you can avoid future problems with your washing machine not draining by cleaning the drain hose and pump filter regularly. A clogged pump can burn out the washing machine’s motor if it is not fixed quickly, and that is a machine repair that can end up costing you hundreds of dollars.

Discovering that your washing machine isn’t draining can be a nightmare, but hopefully the tips provided above can get you back to laundry day with minimal hassle and expense. You might also look into a home warranty that will cover you in case your washer breaks.

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