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How to Drain a Washing Machine That Won’t Drain

Washing machine not draining? Here's the fix!

FH10SEP_WAMADR_02-2 washer won't drain washing machine wont drain washer won't drain washing machine water pumpFamily Handyman
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.

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Washing machine not draining? If the washer won’t drain or spin, either something is stuck in the washing machine drain hose or pump, or the pump is broken. If a washer won’t drain or spin, the fix is simple if you’re even just a little bit handy with tools. We’re showing the repair on a Maytag washing machine.

Remove the front panel screws

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 washer drain hose on the floor near the drain or in a bucket. Clamp the hose to prevent any remaining water from running out. 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.

Remove the front panel screws of dishwasherFamily Handyman

Unplug the washer. Then prop up the washer and remove the two screws that secure the front panel.

washer dryer repair remove front panelFamily Handyman

Pull the lower edge of the panel outward and “unhook” the top. On a Whirlpool washer, you’ll have to remove the entire shell to access the pump.

Look for the clog and pull it out

The pump has a translucent housing, so you might even see the offending piece of clothing wrapped up in the pump. The photo below shows what to do if the pump is clogged and why the washer won’t drain or spin. If you don’t see the clog in the pump or in the washing machine drain 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 that’s making it so the washer won’t drain or spin, pull it out with needle-nose pliers.

Look for the clog and pull it out of dishwasher diagramFamily Handyman

It’s spring-loaded, so it comes off easily. Then remove the hose. Remove the belt from the pulley on the bottom side of the washing machine water pump, and if the clog is visible, pull it out. Twist the pulley to unwind the fabric as you pull it out.

If there’s no clog, check the pump and remove it

If nothing is clogging the washing machine drain 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 washing machine water 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 washing machine hoses, and then reinstall the belt.

check dishwasher pump and remove itFamily Handyman

If the impeller inside the pump is damaged (reach your finger inside to feel for broken fins) or if the pump leaks or makes noise, you’ll have to replace it. Remove the three screws that hold the pump to the washer. Buy a new washing machine water pump and install it.

Did you know you should also clean your washing machine once a while? Watch this video to learn why and how:

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY washer won’t drain project lined up before you start – you’ll save time and frustration.

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Clamps
  • 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.