Why Is Your Washer Not Draining? A Guide to Solving The Mystery

There’s nothing more frustrating than opening your washing machine to find a tub full of water, seemingly refusing to drain. It’s a scenario that can leave you scratching your head, wondering what went wrong and how to fix it.

Fear not, dear reader, for we’re about to embark on a journey to unravel the mysteries behind a washer that won’t drain, and equip you with the knowledge to tackle this common household conundrum like a pro.

The Culprit: A Clogged Drain Pipe

One of the most common reasons your washer isn’t draining is a clogged drain pipe. Over time, lint, hair, and other debris can accumulate in the drain line, creating a blockage that prevents water from flowing freely. This buildup can occur in the washing machine’s internal drain pump or the external standpipe or drain pipe leading to your home’s main drainage system.

fixing Clogged Drain Pipe

If you suspect a clogged drain pipe, there are a few telltale signs to look out for:

  • Water backing up into the washing machine tub
  • Gurgling or bubbling sounds coming from the drain pipe
  • Slow or incomplete draining of water from the machine

To fix a clogged drain pipe, you’ll need to locate and remove the obstruction. This may involve using a plunger, a drain snake, or even disassembling the drain line itself. Be prepared to get your hands a little dirty, but the satisfaction of clearing that stubborn clog will be well worth it.

Watch this video to solve this!

The Sneaky Suspect: A Faulty Drain Pump

While a clogged drain pipe is a common culprit, a faulty drain pump can also be the reason your washer isn’t draining properly. The drain pump is responsible for pushing the water out of the machine and into the drain line. If it’s not working correctly, water will simply sit in the tub, unable to exit.

Symptoms of a faulty drain pump include:

  • Loud, grinding noises coming from the pump during the drain cycle
  • The pump runs continuously without draining water
  • Water leaks around the pump housing

Replacing a faulty drain pump can be a bit more involved than clearing a clog, but it’s still a relatively straightforward repair for the handy homeowner. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and unplug the washer before attempting any repairs.

The Unexpected Offender: A Kinked or Damaged Drain Hose

changing drain hose

Sometimes, the issue isn’t with the drain pipe or pump itself, but rather with the humble drain hose that connects the washing machine to the drain line. If this hose becomes kinked, crushed, or damaged, it can restrict or completely block the flow of water, preventing proper draining.

To check for a kinked or damaged drain hose, simply follow its path from the washing machine to the drain pipe. Look for any sharp bends, pinches, or visible signs of wear and tear. If you find any issues, you may need to replace the hose or reposition it to eliminate any kinks or obstructions.

The Stealthy Saboteur: A Lidded or Blocked Drain Standpipe

In some cases, the issue isn’t with the washing machine itself but with the drain standpipe – the vertical pipe that the washer’s drain hose feeds into. If this standpipe becomes blocked or has a lid that’s not properly vented, it can create an air lock that prevents water from draining out of the machine.

To check for a blocked or lidded standpipe, locate the pipe where your washer’s drain hose connects. Remove any obstructions or debris that may be blocking the pipe, and ensure that any lid or cover on the pipe is properly vented or removed altogether.

The Silent Saboteur: A Malfunctioning Lid Switch or Door Lock

Modern washing machines often have a safety feature that prevents them from draining or spinning if the lid or door is open. This mechanism is controlled by a lid switch or door lock, which can sometimes malfunction and send the wrong signal to the machine.

If your washer seems to be stuck in the fill or wash cycle and won’t drain or spin, even though the lid or door is closed, a faulty lid switch or door lock could be the culprit. Replacing these components may be necessary to get your washer back on track.

FAQ Section

How do you fix a washing machine that won’t drain?

To fix a washing machine that won’t drain, start by checking for a clogged drain pipe or hose. If that’s not the issue, inspect the drain pump for any signs of failure or blockage. You may also need to check for kinked or damaged drain hoses, blocked drain standpipes, or malfunctioning lid switches or door locks.
In some cases, replacing faulty components or clearing obstructions can resolve the drainage problem.

Why is my washing machine not draining on the wash cycle?

If your washing machine is not draining during the wash cycle, it could be due to a clogged drain pump filter or a malfunctioning drain pump. It’s also possible that the drain hose is kinked or blocked, preventing water from flowing out of the machine.

How do I force my washing machine to drain?

To force your washing machine to drain, you can try running a drain or spin cycle. If that doesn’t work, you may need to manually drain the machine by accessing the drain filter or pump and removing any blockages.
However, be cautious when dealing with standing water in the machine, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid potential safety hazards or damage.

How do I know if my washing machine drain hose is clogged?

Signs that your washing machine drain hose is clogged include water backing up into the tub, gurgling or bubbling sounds coming from the drain pipe, and slow or incomplete draining of water from the machine. You can also visually inspect the drain hose for any kinks, obstructions, or buildup of debris that could be causing a blockage.

Also Read: Oatey Sure Vent Problems And Issues With Troubleshooting Tips


Dealing with a washer that won’t drain can be a frustrating experience, but armed with the knowledge we’ve shared, you’re now better equipped to tackle this common household issue head-on. Remember, a clogged drain pipe, faulty drain pump, kinked or damaged drain hose, blocked drain standpipe, or malfunctioning lid switch or door lock are among the most likely culprits.

By systematically checking each potential problem area and taking the appropriate steps to clear obstructions or replace faulty components, you can restore your washing machine to its former glory, ensuring that your laundry routine runs smoothly and efficiently.

So, the next time you encounter a stubborn washer that refuses to drain, don’t panic. Take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves, and channel your inner appliance repair guru. With a little elbow grease and the right approach, you’ll have that pesky drainage issue resolved in no time, and your clothes will be clean, fresh, and ready to wear once again.

Clyde Mitchell

I run a hardware store nearby Court Anaheim, CA. Over the last 7 years, I have been blogging about home improvement and yes, I own ReliefInBath.com From me and this website, you can expect some useful tips on great ideas for a modern bathroom.

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