Why Your Washer Won’t Drain: Inspecting & Fixing the Drain Pump

Ever had that sinking feeling when your washer machine just won’t drain? Picture this: you’re ready to move your laundry to the dryer, but the water refuses to budge. Frustrating, right? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! In this article, we’ll unravel the mystery behind why your washer machine is playing hard to drain.

Common Reasons for Drainage Issues

If your washer machine won’t drain, several factors could be at play. Here are some common reasons to consider:

  • Clogged Drain Hose: A blocked hose can prevent water from flowing out properly.
  • Faulty Pump: A malfunctioning pump may hinder the draining process in your washer.
  • Clogged Filter: An obstructed filter can impede water drainage and cause issues.
  • Issues with the Lid Switch: The lid switch plays a crucial role in the draining cycle.

Understanding these common culprits can help you diagnose and address the drainage problem in your washer.

Check the Drain Hose

When your washer is failing to drain, one common offender could be a clogged drain hose. This vital component is responsible for carrying the water out of the machine during the drain cycle.

Let’s walk through a simple procedure to inspect this crucial element:

  • Disconnect: Start by unplugging your washer from the power source to ensure safety.
  • Locate the Hose: The drain hose is typically found at the back of the machine.
  • Inspect for Blockages: Check for any kinks, clogs, or bends in the hose that could impede water flow.
  • Clean or Replace: If you spot any blockages, carefully clean or replace the hose as needed.

Don’t overlook this straightforward yet often overlooked step in troubleshooting your washer’s drainage issues.

Clean the Drain Filter

When your washer won’t drain, one common culprit could be a clogged drain filter. Over time, lint, debris, and foreign objects can build up and block the filter, preventing proper drainage. Here’s what you can do to clean it:

  • Locate the drain filter: Typically found near the bottom of the front-loading washing machine behind a panel.
  • Prepare for cleaning: Place a towel underneath to catch any water that may spill out when opening the filter.
  • Open the filter: Using a screwdriver or coin, carefully loosen the filter cap and remove it.
  • Check for blockages: Look for anything obstructing the filter, such as lint, coins, or small objects.
  • Clean the filter: Rinse it under running water to remove buildup and debris.
  • Tip: Use an old toothbrush to scrub stubborn residue.
  • Replace the filter: Once clean, put the filter back in place, ensuring it’s securely tightened.

Regularly cleaning the drain filter can help maintain your washer’s efficiency and prevent drainage issues.

Inspect the Drain Pump

When your washer machine won’t drain, a common culprit could be a faulty drain pump. The drain pump is responsible for removing water from the washer during the drain cycle. To check if the drain pump is causing the issue, here’s what you can do:

  • Locate the drain pump: Typically found at the bottom of the machine. Refer to your washer’s manual for specific instructions.
  • Check for blockages: Look for any debris like lint, coins, or small objects that may be obstructing the pump.
  • Inspect the pump impeller: Ensure that the impeller, the fan-like part of the pump, can move freely and is not blocked.
  • Test the pump: Manually rotate the impeller to check for any resistance or unusual noises.

If you find any blockages or issues with the pump, you may need to clean or replace it to resolve the draining problem. Regularly inspecting and maintaining the drain pump can help prevent drainage issues in the future.

DIY Solutions for Unclogging

When your washer machine won’t drain, a common culprit is a clogged drain pump. Here are some DIY solutions to help you get your washer back in action:

  • Check the Drain Hose: Start by examining the drain hose for any kinks or blockages. Straighten out the hose and clear away any debris that may be preventing proper drainage.
  • Inspect the Drain Pump Filter: Most washer machines have a drain pump filter that can get clogged with lint, coins, or other debris. Locate the filter, remove it, and clean out any buildup to improve draining.
  • Run a Cleaning Cycle: Sometimes, simply running a cleaning cycle with hot water and vinegar can help dislodge any stuck debris in the drain pump and hoses.
  • Use a Plunger: If the clog persists, try using a plunger to dislodge the blockage. Place the plunger over the drain opening, create a seal, and plunge several times to break up the clog.

Remember, regular maintenance and quick action can help prevent future draining issues with your washer machine.


Ensuring your washer machine drains properly is crucial for its performance. By inspecting the drain pump, checking for blockages, and maintaining it regularly, you can prevent future issues. DIY solutions like unclogging the drain hose, cleaning the pump filter, and running a cleaning cycle with vinegar are effective. Remember, quick action and regular maintenance are key to keeping your washer machine running smoothly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the drain pump located in a washing machine?

The drain pump is typically located at the bottom of the washing machine.

What should I check for if my washing machine is not draining properly?

Check for blockages like lint or small objects in the drain pump and inspect the pump impeller for any obstructions.

How can I test the drain pump of my washing machine?

Test the drain pump for any resistance or unusual noises that may indicate a problem.

What should I do if the drain pump is clogged?

Cleaning or replacing the drain pump may be necessary to resolve draining issues in the washing machine.

What DIY solutions can help unclog a washer machine?

Check the drain hose for kinks or blockages, clean the drain pump filter, run a cleaning cycle with hot water and vinegar, and use a plunger to dislodge persistent clogs.

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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