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Washing machine not draining? Here’s how to fix it

Washing machine not draining water with question mark illustrations

So, your washer’s not draining after the wash cycle stops? What a mess. You’ll need to fix that right away. Good news: You may be able to do it yourself. We’ll walk you through some troubleshooting steps. 

Asurion Experts care for your tech and appliances, and we’ll help you troubleshoot any issue, including a washer that won’t spin or a washing machine that won’t start. Here’s our guide on what you can do to fix a washing machine that won’t drain.

Why is my washer not draining? 

There are several possible reasons you’ve got a washing machine that won’t drain, from the most basic, which you can fix, to the more complicated, which will require expert help. Here are some common reasons your washing machine may not be draining:

  • The tub is too full. 
  • The laundry load is unbalanced. 
  • The lid switch is broken. 
  • The drain hose is kinked.
  • The hose or washer pump is clogged. 
  • The water level valve is faulty. 
  • The motor or drive belt is broken. 

Troubleshooting a washer that won’t drain

Here are some simple fixes to try when your washer tub is still full of water after a cycle: 

Reset your washer

Unplug your washer, and wait about a minute. Then, open and close the lid a few times, and plug it back in. 

Check the load balance 

Open the lid and check to see whether the laundry load is out of balance. This often happens with heavy items like a blanket or shoes. Try shifting the items you’re washing or adding items, like a towel, to even out the load. Just make sure not to overload the drum and layer the clothing into the washer evenly. After you’ve adjusted the load, push start to see whether the cycle will finish and the washer will drain. 

Test the lid switch

A washer will only spin and drain if its lid is securely closed. Find the lid switch and press it down. If the machine responds and the drum begins to drain, you may just need to adjust the lid switch assembly so it depresses the switch. If the machine doesn’t respond when you press it, you probably need to replace the switch. 

Check the drain hose

There are likely three hoses attached to your washer: one for hot water, one for cold, and a third attached to the bottom where your drain is. Inspect the largest of the three hoses attached to your washer, which should be the drain hose. If it’s kinked or coiled, straighten it out. That may solve your issue. 

Look for clogs in the drain hose or pump

If something’s stuck in your washer’s drain hose or pump, it can prevent your machine from draining. To check, you’ll need to remove the front panel of the washer, unhook the hose, then inspect the hose and pump for obstructions or clogs and remove them—who knows, you might find a missing sock or two. Warning: water may come rushing out when you unclog the hose so bail out as much water from the washer as possible before disconnecting it and keep a bucket and old towels close by. 

Check the water level control

If your washer won’t drain, your water level control could be the culprit. Open your machine’s control panel and look for a plastic tube attached to the water level valve. (If you need help finding the control panel or the valve, check your owner’s manual.) If the tube is clogged, clean it out with a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water. If the valve is damaged, you’ll need to replace it. 

Ask for help with advanced repairs 

Is your washer still not draining? It’s possible the motor is burnt out or the belts are loose or broken. These repairs can be fairly complicated, so don’t risk injury to yourself or damage to your appliance by attempting an advanced repair. An appliance expert can help. 

What type of washer is best for you? Check out our guide on front load vs. top load washers

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