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How to Drain a Washing Machine That Won't Drain

Save a bundle on appliance repair bills. We show you how to unclog your washing machine so it drains and replace the pump if you need to.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine


If the water won't drain out of your washing machine, either something is stuck in the drain hose or pump, or the pump is broken. Both fixes are simple if you're even just a little bit handy with tools. We’re showing the repair on a Maytag washing machine.

Getting started

Start by unplugging the machine and emptying the water. Bail the water out of the tub, or you can drain the tub using gravity by placing the drain hose on the floor near the drain or in a bucket. Clamp the hose to prevent any remaining water from running out (Photo 3). Once the washer's empty, support the front of it on paint cans or stacked 2x4s. Photo 1 shows where to find the screws that hold the front panel in place. Remove the panel and you'll see the pump.

Look for the clog

The pump has a translucent housing, so you might even see the offending piece of clothing wrapped up in the pump. Photo 3 shows what to do if the pump is clogged. If you don't see the clog in the pump or in the hose near the pump, then it could be stuck in the outlet where the hose connects to the bottom of the tub. To find out, loosen the clamp that holds the hose to the bottom of the tub and remove the hose. Have a bucket and sponge handy, though. Any water that's left in the machine will run out. When you locate the piece of clothing, pull it out with needle-nose pliers.

If there's no clog, check the pump

If nothing is clogging the hose or pump, the pump could be shot, although in most cases you'll hear noise from a bad pump, and it’ll start to leak if you don’t replace it right away. Photo 4 shows how to remove the pump. Buy a new one to match. You can find a new pump online or go to your local appliance parts center. You’ll need the brand and model number for proper part identification. Model numbers are usually stamped on a small metal plate located under the tub lid or on the top, side or back of the machine. Copy down all the plate information and use it to access online parts suppliers, or take it along to the parts distributor. Install the new pump by attaching it with screws and connecting the hoses, and then reinstall the belt.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Clamps
    • 4-in-1 screwdriver
    • Needle-nose pliers
    • Nut driver

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • Paint cans or 2x4 scraps to prop up the machine.

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October 22, 3:34 PM [GMT -5]

Thanks for the help! I will take your advice and see what I can do, if not I'll call plumbing in Colorado Springs. It would be great if I could save money. Thanks again for the help.

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How to Drain a Washing Machine That Won't Drain

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