My Washer Won't Drain

Washer Won't Drain

Don't panic, there may be some simple solutions to try before you call a serviceman.   Some of these tips are good for all washing machines whether they are top loaders or front loaders.  First, try to observe what part of the cycle and what the washer was doing when it stopped draining.  Make a note of the timer, water level, and error code is your washer is equiped with a display and displays an error code.

There are a lot of things that you can do yourself and I am sure that a lot of you will really want to roll up your sleeves and dig into the machine.   Knowledge is king here, you could do most jobs yourself if you have the knowledge to know what to do.    

Start by figuring out what your machine is, I will try to give instructions for a variety of machines. Answer these questions:

 Is it a top loading or front loading machine?

Does it have an electric pump or a mechanical pump?

Is the drain hose soft rubber or hard plastic?

Does the washer normally drain while the lid is open?

Has the washer been moved recently?

Have you had a slow drain that you have tried to solve by taping the drain hose into the drain?

Does everything else work?

If something else does not work, what is it?  Agitation, spin, timer advance, etc.?


Whirlpool Kenmore

Simple Problems to Look For Rated: Easy

All washing machines can have simple problems that cause a no drain state that anyone can check.

Please follow all safety cautions when working on an appliance.  Click here to review safety precautions.

Is the drain hose kinked or bent so that water cannot flow through?   Check the drain hose and make sure that it is not bent or kinked or flattened by something.   The pump in the washer is not designed for high pressure that would be needed for an obstruction such as this.  Carefully check the drain hose to make sure that it is not compromised in anyway.   If it is, this could be the problem, straighten the hose out and make sure that it is in good condition.   If the drain hose is damaged, replace it.  This would be an inexpensive repair.

The door or lid is not closed all the way.  Some machines will not drain and most will not spin if the lid is open.   If the machine is not spinning, click here to review easy spin repair.

If you determine that the lid or door switch is bad or broken or you suspect it, click here to see how to replace the lid switch.

New Style Electric Pump and Old Style Whirlpool Belt Drive

Duet Washer Access Filter Behind Bottom Panel

Whirlpool, Duet, Front Loader Washers Electric Pumps: Rated Moderate Difficulty

Newer machines that are front loaders generally have an electric pump. The pump is normally located in the front of the machine on the base plate and access is easy. You just have to remove the bottom panel located on the bottom of the front of the machine under the door.

The bottom panel on the Duet is help in place with three screws in the ridge between the top and bottom panels. Remove the panel to gain access. You will see a pump and a filter assembly. You are going to have water. You need a shallow pan, towels, and a sturdy plastic garbage sack. If the water has not drained you may have as much as a couple of gallons.

There is a white filter near the pump. The filter has a plug that turns and comes out, it filters the lint out of the washer and it collects here. Put several towels on the floor and under a plastic bag, insert the plastic bag into a bucket laying on its side, wrap the bag around the filter and remove the filter, if you are lucky the water will go into the bag and you can then dump the filter into the bag and place it in the bucket and tip the bucket up. The filter gets plugged and does not permit the washer to drain. Check inside of the filter to see if there are any foreign objects like pencils, hair pins or clips, and jewelry. Clear them out and return the filter. The problem will be solved.

Other Machines That Have Electric Pumps

Some other machines have electric pumps, like GE profile series and other front loaders without filters.  These machines have a typical problems with the electric pumps where an object or debris has gotten into the pump and the pump impellers cannot turn.   You need to gain access to the pump which is typically located in the front of the machine. 

Normally access to the inside of the washer is gained by removing a front panel or case.  See how to gain access to a Whirlpool Direct drive machine by clicking here

Once you have access to the pump, disconnect the inlet hose, normally a boot will be attached at the same place.  Check the boot for debris and check inside of the pump.  Remove any obstructions until the impellers in the pump move freely.

Old Whirlpool Kenmore

Old Whirlpool or Kenmore belt drive machines.   Check the belt to see that it is tightened properly, too tight or too loose and the machine will not operate correctly.   The belt when tightened properly with give in the longest span about 1/2 inch with 10 pounds pressure.   If the belt is too loose, tighten it by loosening the tightenting bolt and taking slack out of the belt,  notice where it was to begin with, and tighten is by moving the bolt about 1/4 inch tighter.

Older GE designs cannot be tightened and loose belts are rare, it is more likely that there is a clutch problem. 

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Comments 22 comments

justom profile image

justom 5 years ago from 41042

I'm filing this one away too Steveo, great info as always! Hope you're doing well, Peace!! Tom


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 5 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

I love this hub, great job, this is the kind of advise every women needs, so what was your phone number LOL. Rate up excellent advise and hub, love & peace Darski


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 5 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

@ justom Thanks justom, feeling great to tell the truth. Glad you approve of these uninteresting hubs. Always want them to be able to actually help someone.

@Darlene Sabella Thanks for the support, most of this is easy as pie. Hope many women find it useful and save themselves a service call.


justom profile image

justom 5 years ago from 41042

FYI, I don't find them uninteresting at all, this stuff is extremely useful to goofballs like me (and I'm pretty sure there are a bunch of us) Keep doing them, sooner or later they'll come in handy. Take care, Tom


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 5 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

@justom Hey, what can I say? Love your support and usually hang out with goofballs. I hope they do help some day! Thanks again.


whitton profile image

whitton 5 years ago

This is a very informative Hub! I enjoy reading your Hubs SteveoMc.


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 5 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

@whitton Thanks, I love it when someone enjoys reading this junk. It is gratifying and it actually helps some people. I appreciated you coming by.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA

My washer was not draining the other day and I had to call maintenance. I would try myself if I was more into working on machines, but I admit I am not :). Great info though.


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 5 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

@SweetiePie I bet you could do some of these things yourself. Thanks for the comment.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Great hub. We still haven/t found the reason for our washing mashine not working. My son cleaned and checked everything, renewed some parts. Now it won't take the water in.


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 5 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

@Hello, hello, What kind of washer is it? Did you turn the water off when you were working on it? No water: Maybe water is turned off, hoses are mixed up, did you disconnect the hoses and connect them backwords? Try different temperature settings. Turn the water level selector to the highest setting. Let me know more info.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

Steve - this is great! In a time when lots of people are concerned about money, what a help! Those repair visits can really add up and I know that I've paid out only to find that the problem was very simple. And I see that you have posted other hubs on the same topic. You are The Man! Voted up!


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 5 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

@Dolores Monet Thanks so much for the support and for reading.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

The water comes as far as the machine but not into the machine. He put a new part after the water inlet (don't know what it is called) think that might be the problem. The machine is an INDESET.


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 5 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

I have never seen an INDESET, so I don't know much about them only what I can read. You might be talking about a water fill valve. If that does not solve the problem, then there are some general things to look for, the water level switch and air connections, overflow sensor, and timer. Wish I could help more, good luck. Let me know the outcome.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for your kindness trying to help. I will tell my son, who fiddle around with it.


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 5 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

@Hello,hello, no problem, I got my fingers crossed.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

We recently had a problem with water on the floor and after putting some prescribed stuff down the drain where the water was supposed to go...problem solved! Believe me, your hubs are not boring and if it can help people that is good work on your part. Thanks!


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 5 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

@Peggy W Glad you find the hubs helpful, and great to hear that you solved your problem. Thanks for the comment.


Donna 5 years ago

I have a Kirkland top loader. I ran the washer with a full load. The next day I went to put the clothes in the dryer and the tub was still half filled with water at the rinse cycle. Thinking some one had stopped the cycle I reset it at the beginning of the rinse cycle and added more softener to the center container. The washer filled up but would not continue. I tried changing cycles, but nothing happened except a slight humming sound (as if the machine was trying to start) and then a click (like a safety shut off). After wringing out clothes and bailing water, I'm thinking I could fix this myself. Any advice where I should start?


mwarner 5 years ago

@Donna, we are have the same issue with the same product. @SteveoMc is there anyway to manual drain the washer or do I need to do like Donna and bail it out?


TroyM profile image

TroyM 5 years ago

Informative article on washing machines. Thanks...

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