process of replacing a drain pump in an LG washer, highlighting common issues when a washer makes strange sounds and fails to drain properly.
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Appliance Technician Expert

How to Fix If Your Washer Won’t Drain

It can be frustrating when your washing machine fails to adequately drain the water after finishing its wash and rinse cycles. You’re often left with a tub filled with murky water and sopping wet laundry that wasn’t fully rinsed. Before you call the repair technician, there are several fixes you can try yourself to get your washer draining properly again.

This article will walk you through the most common clogged pump or kinked hose issues that impede proper water drainage. We’ll also cover quick fixes for electrical or mechanical problems inhibiting the spin cycle. Follow along to learn how to:

  • Clear out a backed-up drain pump or drain hose
  • Check for issues with the electrical power connection
  • Unclog debris caught in internal hoses or pumps
  • Straighten out kinks in external drain hoses
Type of Drainage IssuePossible CauseDifficulty to Fix
Water left in the drumClogged pump or hoseEasy
Won’t spinElectrical or mechanical issuesHard

Main Causes of Washer Won’t Drain

So you’ve tried all the usual troubleshooting tricks, and your washer still refuses to drain properly. Frustrating for sure!

But don’t spiral into laundry despair just yet – identifying the root cause of your washing machine’s draining woes is key to getting it functioning again.

Let’s explore the main culprits of washer drainage failure and see if we can pinpoint why your machine is misbehaving:

Clogged Pump Filter

The number one offender behind the lack of drainage is a blockage in the pump filter. This handy filter catches all kinds of debris, from coins and buttons to dirt, pet fur, and small clothing items. Over time, it eventually gets so gunked up that water can no longer pass through quickly.

  • Easy fix: clean out the filter regularly! This should be part of your monthly washer maintenance.
  • If the filter is cracked, however, replacement is required.

Kinked Drain Hose

Pressing the washer too close to the wall blocks the crucial ‘exit path’ water needs to drain properly.

  • The drain hose getting smashed or kinked prevents successful drainage.
  • Pull the washer out and thoroughly inspect the drain hose for any block-inducing kinks.

A Clogged Drainage Pipe

If your drainage pipes under the house or behind walls contain buildup from years of soap scum, small debris etc, it can impede swift water flow.

  • Step 1: Detach the drain hose from pipe connections and shine a flashlight inside to check for clogged culprits.
  • Step 2: You may need to call a plumber to clear deeper clogs with professional drain snakes for a home warranty.

Old Ineffective Drain Hose

There could be tiny cracks or holes along the rubber drainage hose that leak water outside of the pipe during the drain cycle. If your model is over 5 years old, it may be worn out.

  • Check thoroughly for leaks and weeping holes which indicate replacement is needed.
  • Ensure connections at both ends are secure and watertight.

Outlet Height Issues

Remember, for proper flow, the drain hose outlet must be positioned AT LEAST 8 inches off the ground. This prevents icky backflow issues from a drain configured too close to floor level.

  • Check that the outlet behind your machine is raised adequately high enough. Level and reconnect if needed.

Not Level Machine

Speaking of proper positioning – if your washing machine is rocking from uneven legs or tilting on the floor, the internal tub or drain pump may not be aligned correctly to fully empty water.

  • Level all 4 legs with proper adjustments and test for wobble-free operation.

Get Your Washer Draining in 3 Simple Steps

Here is a 3-step process to get your washer draining back.

Diagnose the Draining Issue

Ugh, I hate it when my washer decides to stop draining properly. It can really put a wrench in your plans when you have a sink full of sopping wet clothes rather than freshly cleaned laundry ready to toss in the dryer!

But don’t worry – with a few easy troubleshooting steps, you’ll get to the bottom of the issue if your washing machine won’t drain. Grab your detective hat, and let me walk you through how to diagnose why your washer won’t drain. This might feel frustrating at first, but we’ll get your washer draining again soon!

First, let’s check the obvious – is the drain hose kinked, jammed, or otherwise blocked?

  • Step 1: Gently pull the washing machine away from the wall and inspect the drain hose leading from the outlet on the back of the machine.
  • Step 2: Make sure there are no sharp bends or pinches that could obstruct water flow.
  • Step 3: While you’re back there, remove any debris around the drain outlet that could cause a clog.

If the hose looks okay, we’ll dive into the inner workings – specifically the pump filter. This handy little filter catches all odds and ends that could get tangled in the pump.

  • The location varies by machine, but it’s usually behind a small access panel near the bottom front. Consult your manual if you can’t find it!
  • Twist the filter counterclockwise and pull it out. Be ready for some water spillage!
  • You may find sediment buildup, small items like coins or buttons, pet hair, or a stray sock causing the clog. Clean out the filter thoroughly and reseat it firmly.

Still won’t drain? The issue could be in the overall configuration of your machine’s drain system.

  • Ensure the drain hose outlet is at least 8 inches above the ground. This prevents backflow.
  • Is it pushed too far into the drain pipe? Pull it out so there’s a small 1-2 inch gap.

Do you have all those bases covered and still won’t drain? Then, it’s likely an internal issue, and you may need to enlist professional help. But try not to panic! At least now you have some handy troubleshooting tricks up your sleeve for the next time your washer gets clogged.

Let me know if the diagnosis steps helped uncover why your washer is misbehaving. Catching draining issues early saves a whole lot of headaches down the road!

Unclog the Drain

Now that we’ve diagnosed that pesky clogged drain as the reason your washer won’t drain let’s move on to step two: getting that water flowing again!

Unclogging your washing machine drain is a messy but not particularly difficult task. Do your oldest, rattiest clothes and be prepared to get your hands dirty as we plunge deep into drain cleaning mode.

The first place to attack is the pump filter – it probably got gunked up enough to stop water from draining through it efficiently. Or it is because there’s a clog or the pump is broken.

  • Turn the filter anti-clockwise and pull it out.
  • Have an old towel or bucket ready to catch any leftover water still trapped inside.
  • Here comes the gross part: reach your hand inside and pull out anything clogging the filter. Eww, I know! Garbage disposal life over here.
  • Give the filter a good rinse until the water runs clear, and rub off any stubborn residue. Ready to put the shield back?

While the pump filter is off, shine a flashlight inside the filter housing chamber. Do you see a random sock or other debris causing more blockage? Retrieval time! You’ll be thankful to get those rogue items out of the way.

Ok, the filter was unclogged and replaced. But is water still a bit sluggish? There may be a blockage somewhere in the washer drain hose. Follow the steps below:

  • First, disconnect a clogged or jammed drain hose from the washer and drain outlet/pipe to simplify the process.
  • Get your trusty wire coat hanger and bend a small hook on one end. Carefully fish it through the hose until you meet resistance and can remove debris.
  • If you just can’t clear it, disconnect and bring the hose to obtain an identical new one from your local home improvement store for a swap. Make sure to note the exact length and dimensions!

While you have everything detached, inspect the drain outlet behind your machine as well. Use a small brush to clear any visible gunk around this crucial exit point so water flows out easily during drain cycles.

Once all areas are gunk-free, reattach the thoroughly cleaned or new drain hose using those handy universal washing machine connector clamps. Make sure it’s nice and secure!

Remember that regular drain maintenance like this might be needed 3-4 times per year to keep drains gunk-free. But take pride in those newly unclogged pipes!

Attempting Self-Repairs

You’re a handy, DIY type of person – I get it! I like tinkering with stuff too. But before you break out the tool kit and dive hands-first into your malfunctioning washing machine, let’s chat safety and risk management quickly. Attempting repairs on heavy machinery can get dicey if you aren’t extremely careful!

I don’t say this to discourage your adventurous spirit regarding home appliance repairs. But electrocution is no joke, so promise me you’ll proceed cautiously, especially when working with electrical components.

Here are a few tips to prioritize safety if you insist on becoming an amateur washer mechanic:

  • Turn off the power supply at the breaker before starting ANY work
  • Never stick your hands blindly inside the machine’s body and parts
  • Wear gloves and eye protection – no exceptions!
  • If working with cleaning chemicals like bleach, have proper ventilation
  • Do NOT attempt repairs involving the motor or main electrical system

Speaking of electrical systems, unless you have professional-grade skills and training, I strongly advise calling for backup if you suspect the issue lies with internal parts like:

  • Control board or computer modules
  • Drive motor (makes the spinning actions)
  • Water inlet valves (control water flow)
  • Internal wiring harness

Repairing or replacing those complex components has high risk if wiring connections or configurations aren’t perfect. Better leave it to a seasoned appliance technician!

I know your eagerness just to fix the blasted thing already. But there’s no shame in admitting some jobs are better left to the pro services like EZFIX Appliance Repair with proper diagnostic tools, technical knowledge and parts-sourcing capabilities.

Basic external repairs like unclogging and replacing hoses? Have at it! Anything involving circuitry or mechanical malfunction? Swallow your pride and hire help 😉 We all gotta know our limits!

Frequently Asked Questions About a Washer That Won’t Drain

Why does my washer fill with water but won’t drain?

If your washer fills with water but won’t drain, the issue is likely a clogged or blocked drain hose or pump filter. Check the drain hose for kinks and clear any debris from the pump filter to allow proper water flow out of the machine.

What should I do if my washing machine stops mid-cycle?

If your washing machine stops mid-cycle, first unplug the machine. Check that the door is fully shut and latching properly. Make sure the drain hose is not kinked. Clean out any debris in the pump filter. You may need to request the machine to rest for 30 minutes before restarting the cycle.

How do I unblock the pump on my washing machine?

To unblock the pump, disconnect or switch off power to the machine. Locate the pump filter, twist it counterclockwise to remove it, then pull out any trapped debris or objects. Give the filter a rinse until the water runs clear before securely replacing it.

How can I get my washing machine to finish the spin cycle?

If your washer doesn’t advance to the spin cycle, ensure the drain pump and hose are clear of blockages. Confirm the load is balanced and evenly distributed. Verify the outlet height meets the 8-inch minimum to prevent backflow. Make any needed adjustments and restart the cycle.

Why does my washer make noise but won’t drain?

If your washing machine makes noise during the drain cycle but won’t empty water, there is likely a partial blockage interfering with the pump operation. Check the drain hose and pump filter for clogs. Clear out any built-up debris so the pump can drain properly.


When your washer won’t drain properly, it can put a wrench in your plans to prepare clean clothes. But in many cases, this frustrating issue can be fixed with some simple troubleshooting and maintenance. First, thoroughly inspect the drain hose and pump filter for blockages preventing water from exiting the machine. Carefully clear any clogs and make sure the hose is kink-free. Also, confirm your drain configuration allows for proper outflow.

If these steps don’t get your washer draining again, the problem may require professional electrical or mechanical washer components repair. But know that many drain failures are debris-filled filters, bent hoses that need straightening, securing loose outlet joints, or reinforcing hose positioning to prevent backflow issues. With some tinkering and adjustments, you can often outsmart annoying drain failures and keep that fresh laundry coming!