How to Unclog a Washer: Effective Drain Cleaning Methods Revealed

Ever had your washer suddenly decide it’s done draining? Picture this: you’re all set to do laundry, and there it is, water pooling at the bottom. Frustrating, right? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! In this article, we’ll walk you through simple yet effective ways to unclog your washer and get things spinning smoothly again.

Ever wondered how to tackle this pesky issue without the hassle or the hefty repair bill? That’s where we come in! By the end of this read, you’ll be armed with practical tips and tricks to troubleshoot and unclog your washer like a pro. Say goodbye to standing water and hello to laundry day bliss!

Check for Visible Blockages

When your washer isn’t draining properly, visible blockages are often the culprit. Here’s how to investigate:

  • Inspect the Drain Hose: Look for kinks, bends, or clogs. Make sure it’s not pinched between the wall and the machine.
  • Check the Pump Filter: Remove it and clear any debris. This little maintenance step can work wonders.

If you find any obstructions in these areas, that might be all you need to get things flowing smoothly again.

Clean the Drain Filter

When facing a washer that’s not draining properly, one crucial step in troubleshooting is cleaning the drain filter. Over time, lint, small objects, or debris can accumulate in the filter, hindering water flow and causing drainage issues. Here’s how you can tackle this task effectively:

  • Locate the drain filter: Depending on your washer model, the filter could be found behind a panel at the front bottom of the machine or under the agitator in top-loading washers.
  • Prepare for cleaning: Have a shallow container ready to collect any water that may come out when you open the filter. Consider placing a towel beneath to catch any spills.
  • Remove the filter: Carefully unscrew or unlatch the filter cover. Be cautious as water might spill out. Pull out the filter and visually inspect it for any visible debris or clogs.
  • Clean the filter: Using a soft brush or cloth, gently remove any buildup on the filter. Ensure all traces of debris are cleared before reinserting it back into place.
  • Reassemble and test: Securely place the filter back, close the cover, and run a short cycle to check if the drainage issue is resolved.

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Regular maintenance of the drain filter can prevent future clogs and keep your washer running smoothly. Remember, a clean filter is key to proper drainage and efficient laundry cycles.

Run a Maintenance Wash

If you’re facing washer drainage issues, running a maintenance wash can help clear out any buildup in the drum and pipes. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Select the Hottest Setting: Choose the hottest temperature and longest cycle on your washer.
  • Add Vinegar: Pour two cups of white vinegar into the detergent dispenser.
  • Add Baking Soda: Sprinkle half a cup of baking soda directly into the drum.
  • Let It Run: Start the wash cycle and let it complete.

Running a maintenance wash regularly can help prevent clogs and keep your washer functioning efficiently.

Use a Plunger

When facing a clogged washer, a plunger can be a handy tool for resolving the issue efficiently:

  • Step 1: Fill the washer with a small amount of water.
  • Step 2: Place the plunger over the drain hole at the bottom of the washer.
  • Step 3: Push and pull the plunger vigorously to create suction and dislodge the clog.
  • Step 4: Continue plunging until the water begins to drain properly.

Remember, using a plunger might require a bit of effort, but it can often clear minor clogs without the need for harsh chemicals or professional help.

Try a Drain Snake

If plunging didn’t do the trick, consider using a drain snake to tackle more stubborn clogs. Here’s how you can use this handy tool:

  • Step 1: Insert the drain snake into the clogged drain until you feel resistance.
  • Step 2: Rotate the snake handle clockwise to help it navigate through the pipe and break up the clog.
  • Step 3: Continue pushing and twisting the snake until you no longer feel blockage.

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Remember, a drain snake can be especially useful for reaching deeper blockages that a plunger might not be able to dislodge.


By following these simple steps, you can easily tackle washer clogs and ensure smooth laundry cycles. Remember to clean the drain filter regularly and use a plunger for minor clogs. Running maintenance washes with vinegar and baking soda will help maintain your washer’s efficiency. For tougher clogs, a drain snake can be a handy tool to have on hand. Taking these preventive measures will keep your washer in top condition and save you from unnecessary hassle in the long run. Keep up with these maintenance tasks, and you’ll have a clog-free washer ready for all your laundry needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I address washer drainage issues effectively?

To address washer drainage issues effectively, start by cleaning the drain filter and using a plunger. Locate the filter, remove debris, clean it, and reassemble. For stubborn clogs, consider using a drain snake.

How do I clean the drain filter?

To clean the drain filter, locate it in your washer. Remove the filter, clear any debris like lint or small objects, clean it thoroughly, and put it back in place securely.

Can I use a plunger to unclog my washer?

Yes, you can use a plunger to unclog your washer. Fill the washer with water and create suction over the drain hole with the plunger to dislodge minor clogs.

What is a maintenance wash, and how do I perform it?

A maintenance wash involves running your washer with vinegar and baking soda on the hottest setting. This helps clear buildup in the drum and pipes, preventing clogs and ensuring washer efficiency.

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When should I consider using a drain snake for my washer?

If basic methods like cleaning the filter and using a plunger do not clear the clog, consider using a drain snake. Insert it into the clogged drain and rotate it clockwise to break up the blockage. Repeat until the clog is cleared.

Charlie Thomson is Appliance Mastery's expert on laundry appliances. With a degree in mechanical engineering and over 8 years of experience in the appliance repair industry, Charlie is a go-to resource for homeowners who want to tackle common issues with their washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers.

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