Washing machine not draining

How to Fix a Washing Machine Not Draining: Full Guide

Last updated on April 12th, 2024

A washing machine not draining the water out can be frustrating and cause your laundry to smell bad if not sorted quickly.

Regular washing machine cleaning should be carried out to help prevent smells and other problems like this from happening.

I have been a full-time plumber for over a decade and have fixed and fitted many washers.

Washing Machine Not Draining

When a washing machine is not draining or not draining properly, it is almost always because of two parts:

  • The drain hose
  • The pump filter

Drain Hose

The washing machines drain hose should be the first to check when your washer won’t drain the water out.

The outlet drain hose is a flexible grey pipe fixed to the washer on the back and at the bottom. It empties the dirty wastewater from the laundry out of the drum during and after every spin cycle.

Connecting washing machine drain hose
Drain hose connected under sink

This hose will either be poked into the top of a waste standpipe (typically in a plastic horse shoe clip), or connected to the waste pipe under the kitchen sink.

You must disconnect the washing machine drain hose to check for any kinks or blockages and clear them out if you find any.

You should also check the waste pipe where the drain hose is connected for any blockages. This will sometimes have a hose clamp securing it on which will need to be removed first then the hose can be pulled off the connection.

Make sure that the wastewater is flowing freely all the way to the drain outside (or soil pipe) from the connection.

Pump Filter

Many washing machines have a drain pump filter that can become clogged with hair, hair clips, coins, or other debris.

Locate the pump filter (usually at the front bottom of the machine) and check for any obstructions inside and clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Washing machine dirty filter
Dirty drain pump filter

The pump filter on a front-loading washing machine is on the front bottom and will be behind a panel.

The pump itself can stop working if the impeller becomes obstructed by an item of clothing or other object. The impeller can also become damaged causing it to fail, or the pump can fail electrically.

How to Drain a Washing Machine

Knowing how to drain a washing machine is something you should know as water being stuck inside happens to most people.

Manually draining a washing machine is sometimes needed to empty the water out and save the laundry.

Once it’s drained you can find and fix the washing machine problem.

Here are 3 ways to drain a washing machine:

  • From the mini drain hose or pump filter
  • Scoop or syphon the water from the drum
  • From the drain hose

Mini Drain Hose or Pump Filter

Draining the water from the front mini drain hose (if you have one) is the easiest way to drain a washing machine but also the most time-consuming.

Here’s how:

  1. Pull down the panel to access the pump filter and drain hose
  2. Pull out the mini drain hose
  3. Remove the cap to let the water out into a tray
  4. Refit the cap and empty the tray
  5. Repeat until no more water comes out
Washing machine mini drain hose
Mini drain hose

Draining the washing machine from the pump filter:

  1. Pull down the panel to access the pump filter
  2. Tilt the washing back and sit something solid underneath it
  3. Place a tray under to catch the water
  4. Unscrew the filter slowly (anti-clockwise) until water starts coming out and let the tray fill up
  5. Close the filter when the tray is full
  6. Empty the tray
  7. Repeat until no more water comes out
Draining washing machine pump filter
Opening the pump filter

Scoop or Syphon the Water Out of the Drum

Scooping or syphoning the water directly out of the drum is another way to drain a washing machine.

You will need to tilt the washer back so the water level drops to below the door opening to open the door then start scooping out the water.

Syphoning it out is also possible but you might get dirty water in your mouth briefly (not recommended for most people).

Here’s how:

  1. Hold a rubber hose down to the lowest point in the drum
  2. Suck the hose hard until the water is nearly at your mouth (hard to tell, I know)
  3. Put the end of the hose into a bucket. It must be lower than the end that’s in the drum
  4. Watch that bucket fill up

From the Drain Hose

The drain hose is sometimes connected to the washer at the bottom. If so then you can drain it from here.

The drain hose needs to be removed from wherever it is connected to and laid flat on the floor and the water should just come out if it’s not blocked. Ideally outside.

Washing Machine Softener Dispenser Not Draining

Washing machine softener dispenser not draining
Dirty washing machine softener dispenser

Whenever you have a washing machine softener dispenser not draining It is almost always because the drawer is mouldy and dirty which causes the space above the drawer where the water comes from to become dirty also.

The first thing you should do is remove (by pressing the button) and clean the drawer thoroughly in some hot soapy water.

Cleaning washing machine drawer
Cleaning drawer

The water jet holes above can become blocked which causes the softener to not drain from the dispenser.

You should clean above the softener dispenser with a wet soapy sponge and brush and try to get right in the holes with the bristles. You might need to poke some metal wire through the jet holes to clear them out properly.

Softener dispenser washing machine cleaning
Cleaning above softener dispenser

Washing Machine Drawer Full of Water

A washing machines drawer full of water means you need to give the drawer a good clean. The drawer fills with water every washing cycle and if it doesn’t empty then it’s because it’s blocked with dirt or softener.

Cleaning washing machine drawer toothbrush
Cleaning drawer w/ toothbrush

Remove the drawer and clean thoroughly making sure to get in all the nooks and crannies with a toothbrush.

Fully cleaned washing machine drawer
Fully cleaned washing machine drawer


A washing machine not draining can usually be fixed easily.

Clean out the pump filter, check the drain hose for any blockages or kinks, and make sure the waste pipe it’s connected to is free from any blockages and grime.

If you are having any problems with the softener dispenser drawer, or if just looks dirty, give a good soak in a sink full of hot soapy water and scrub all the gunk away with a brush.

Feel free to ask me any questions in the comment section below and I’ll try my best to help.

Please share this post if you find it helpful.


  • Steven Reid

    I am a full-time plumber and Gas Safe registered engineer. I incorporated Housewarm Ltd. in 2011 to provide heating and plumbing services to homes in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. I now blog about what I've learned over the years to help DIYers and plumbers.

    View all posts
Share this post

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top