How to Fix a Washing Machine That Won’t Drain

Updated: Mar. 08, 2024

Washing machine not draining? Here's the fix!

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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.

Tools Required

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

Materials Required

  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Paint cans or 2x4 scraps to prop up the machine.
  • Sponge

Note: We’re showing the repair on a Maytag washing machine. Some details may be different depending on the brand and model of your washer.

Project step-by-step (4)

Step 1

Remove the Front Panel Screws

Start by unplugging the machine and emptying the water.

  • Bail the water out of the tub.
    • Pro tip: 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 is empty, support the front of it on paint cans or stacked 2x4s.
  • Prop up the washer and remove the two screws that secure the front panel. The photo below shows where to find the screws that hold the front panel in place.

Remove the front panel screws of dishwasherFamily Handyman

Step 2

Open Up the Washer

Before you do any work on the inside of the washing machine, make sure that the machine is completely unplugged.

  • Pull the lower edge of the panel outward and “unhook” the top.
    • Pro tip: On some kinds of washers, you’ll have to remove the entire shell to access the pump.

washer dryer repair remove front panelFamily Handyman

Step 3

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.

  • Loosen the clamp that holds the hose to the bottom of the tub and remove the hose.
    • Pro tip: Have a bucket and sponge handy. Any water that’s left in the machine will run out.
  • 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.
    • Pro tip: 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.

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

Step 4

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. 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. To do so, unscrew the three screws that hold the pump to the washer and remove it from the machine.

How to Replace the Pump

Buy a new one to match.

  • You can find a new pump by searching for your washing machine’s brand and model number online.
    • Pro tip: 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. Attach it with screws and connect it to the washing machine hoses, then reinstall the belt. While you’re at it, learn how to fix a washing machine that is not filling with water.

check dishwasher pump and remove itFamily Handyman