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  Washing Machine Won't Drain

One of the most common faults on a washing machine is that the washer will not drain the water from the drum and there are several reasons why your washing machine could fail to drain the water away. In this article we will explain the most common reasons for a failure to drain as well as a few of the less common reasons and how you can often cure the problem yourself which could save you money, even when your washing machine is inside a warranty.

We actually want to save you money here and not be having to call out a repairer if you don't need to so please take the time to read this article before you do, it could save you cash.

  Top Reason A Machine Doesn't Drain

A washing machine pump blocked by junk in itWithout any doubt at all the number one reason that a washing machine not draining is that something is stuck in the machine that prevents the washing machine from draining.

Let us re-stress that once again, this is THE number one reason a washing machine will not drain the water away.

All manners of small objects will find their way into the drain pump in the washing machine and end up preventing the drain pump from running including kids toys, keys, nails, children's socks and other small items, small items of lingerie, condoms, screws, and, most of all, coins. You name it, we've pulled it out a pump housing!

Then we have the organic favourites like dog and cat hair, fluff and lint as well as various other unmentionable things.

The reason is very simple, people do not check their laundry properly or miss small items that are small enough to worm their way past the inner drum, fall down to the sump hose and then onto the drain pump itself.

In our experience, over 85% of all service calls that are related to a washing machine not draining will be something in the pump or blocking the drain hose. So, if your washing machine will not drain, the odds are that there's something stuck in there that shouldn't be.

Also please note that no manufacturer that we know of will cover something in the washing machine stopping it from draining as a warranty repair, every one will consider this to be not covered by warranty as the fault is caused by a foreign object and is not a manufacturing fault or defect in the actual washing machine.

This is why you will find many people that sell and know about washing machines will only recommend ones with a decent filter that you can actually get to and clear yourself as, this will happen to most people's washing machine at some point.

Therefore, before you call an engineer to repair (you can find one on our engineer search for washing machine repairs) please check the drain pump filter and hoses first. It could save you a lot of time, hassle and money.

  How To Check Your Drain Pump Filter

As above, before you look anywhere else and before you even consider calling a washing machine engineer to repair your washing machine, check the filter!

Do not just pull out the filter when the machine has water in it as the water will come out and you will get very wet or have a very wet floor as all the water in the washing machine will come out from there!

The following video was filmed using an ISE washing machine as it has a really good filter to show you what to do and how to check a washing machine drain pump filter but most washing machines will be similar if the pump filter is user accessible.

Please watch this as it is a "best in class" way to get a washing machine that is full of water drained down and what's in it out. If you do not have an emergency drain hose life is a bit tougher (a lot in some cases) but you can still do it which we will explain below.

Make sure that the filter is completely clear then try to run a rinse and spin only before you attempt to do another load of washing in the machine.

  Draining Your Machine With No Emergency Drain Hose

This can be a problem for many people.

If the washing machine is full of water there are two ways that you can get the water out, the machine drained and the door opened to get clothing out of it. However you do this there will be water that gets on the floor so, have a basin and some old towels to hand while you do it.

The first, if you can get to the drain hose easily and get it to floor level, is the easiest and is known as "gravity draining" the washing machine.

Gravity Draining A Washing Machine

The grey semi-rigid corrugated plastic hose from the rear of the washing machine is the drain hose, older washing machines sometimes used a rubber type grey hose as a drain hose but they are rare these days. This needs to come out of the drainage point (this will depend on how your washing machine has been installed) and brought down to a basin or similar at floor level. As soon as you do that water should start to flood out of the hose.

What this is doing is dropping the hose below the water level in your washing machine, gravity will do the rest. Hence the name, gravity draining.

Of course this assumes that you can access the drain hose, get it ALL down to floor level and so on. If this is not possible then the next option is the only one that you have to get teh water out of your washing machine.

If your washing machine has a drain hose that rises internally as many modern washing machines do then this method of draining the washing machine manually will not work.

Manually Draining A Washing Machine

A typical installation of a freestanding washing machineThe second method is very common for us so, for us it's normally an easy job or it usually seems that way but for a novice, it might not be so. We should also warn you that you need to be reasonably fit in order to do this as you have to move a washing machine that is full of water so it will not be light by any stretch.

Typically a normal freestanding washing machine will be installed between kitchen units and look something like the image to the right.

Obviously the filter is at the bottom of the washing machine either in plain sight or, sometime, behind the bottom kick-plate which will normally pop off. If you look in the instruction manual for your particular model of washing machine it will normally detail how you access the drain pump filter.

One trick is to put a small drop of washing up liquid directly in front of each of the washing machine feet to help it slide out easier and, washing up liquid is easy to clean up later. This won't help the back feet slide until they get to that point but, it will make life a lot easier nine times out of ten.

Now you need to try to "break" the feet as they will usually stick to the flooring and, if the washing machine is sitting on a vinyl floor the feet will effectively dig in quite often and be a pain to move so, try to tip the machine backwards a bit so the feet lift off the floor then try to tip it forwards to accomplish the same with the rear feet.

If your worktop is too tight to allow that to happen you just have to skip to the next stage and hope for the best.

Then get your hands underneath the front of the washing machine making sure that you have a hold of the metal case and not the kick-plate. If you have a grip of the kick-plate it will simply pop off, often breaking in the process.

At this point it is almost a case of brute force and ignorance to pull the washing machine forward until it is out of the housing.

Once the washing machine is out far enough to allow you to tip it back to get a basin or something like that under the filter you need to tip it back, and open the filter to let the water out.

A top tip here is to have someone hold the machine back while you unscrew the filter body but keep the filter in place while the water is drained out of the washing machine so that, when the basin fills, you can screw the filter back in stopping the water from coming out so that you can empty the basin to collect more water.

When you tip the machine forward again any remaining water will come out so beware as it can be a fair amount of water. 

  Washing Machine Will Still Not Drain

If you do all of this, get the filter cleared and you cannot find anything then it is entirely possible that either the drain pump itself is faulty or, there's something still in the washing machine preventing it from draining.

One favourite is a UK 5 pence piece in the drain hose that can act like a flap valve and cause intermittent drain timeouts and failures. This can become jammed in the pump housing or manifold as well as in the drain hose itself.

Beyond this you will need to do some more reading to solve the problem, primarily get an understanding on how the drain pump works in your washing machine, how to test the drain pump and you can find more on that in this article about washing machine drain pumps.

  Not Covered Under Warranty

These faults will almost certainly not be covered by any warranty and you will have to pay to have any blockages cleared.

The reason is that it is not a fault with the washing machine as such, it is what has been put in the washing machine that should not have been that has caused the problem or, the washing machine that you have wasn't designed to deal with whatever it is that is being washed.

Manufacturers make washing machines to clean laundry and they do not anticipate that people will wash anything other than clothing in them.

Small items of clothing should be put in a net bag to wash so they should never get to the pump. Coins and other things should not be in the machine at all and can in fact cause much, much more severe damage than a blocked pump so do check your pockets carefully, including for the small coins in the corner of a pocket.

Lego bricks and other small children's toys are also very common.

None of these being in your washing machine are the fault of the washing machine manufacturer, it is entirely down to the user and, so is the cost to repair it.

Where it gets a little more into a grey area is when you get buttons and the likes in the pump but, many manufacturers seem to be taking the line that they won't cover this under warranty either. We think this is largely down to them taking the view that, if the washing process managed to get a button to come loose that either the garment wasn't designed to be washed in a washing machine, the quality of the garment may be questionable or that it may have been washed and/or spun on the wrong program. Then there's the obvious that if the filter had been checked the item would have been found.

The moral is however, check the filter in your washing machine on at least a semi-regular basis and most of all the above can be easily avoided.

Steve Rafferty
Machine not draining
Thanks so much this tutorial really helped me clear what was blocking my machine filter
Washing Machine Blockage
smile Just wanted to say, whether or not your page is helpful specifically to me, that you’re awesome and will help so many people! Stay amazing! xx
Darren Williams
I was literally going to throw my old washing machine out until I emptied the filter.

You’ve saved me a fortune


John Fowler
Machine not draining
I'd got F05 coming up on the display and the machine refused to do anything
Followed your instructions. Emptied out most of the water using gravity - and then dug the lint out of the pre-pump chamber
Worked like a charm - thanks

Thank you you have just saved me a fortune !!
Stuart Buchanan
Machine not draining.
Your advice online is second to none!! The \'diagram\' in the manual appeared to show the use of a bucket and no mention of the gravity function. Thanks to you my machine is now working fine with minimal water on the floor. Thanks so very much.
when all else fails
After clearing the pump filter, my washing machine still did not drain. So I gave the inner barrel a good old shake to dislodge whatever was in drum and set the machine to drain and bingo!

Elina Vagner
please help
Hi, good afternoon!
How are You??
Please help me to clean my filter coz water doesnt go through , but i couldnt even to switch off from electricity,
Thanks so much! my mob. 07503684828

Thanks so much this tutorial really helped me clear what was blocking my machine filter
Thanks so much to this man been saved of buying a washing machine because of 3 hair pins!!! lol lol

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