10 Reasons Why Your Washing Machine Won’t Drain

washing machine no drain

Gone are the days when people would have to wash clothes by hand. It’s only when your washing machine develops a fault – like not draining water – do you appreciate what this appliance does for us.

For busy working families with kids, the laundry process is nonstop, and starts at the washing machine. We’ve all been there, you throw the school uniform and work clothes into the washing machine late on Sunday night, only to find that the clothes are soaking wet and a puddle remains at the bottom of the drum.

Don’t panic, because we’ve got a troubleshooting list of 10 possible causes for your machine not draining water property – most of which can be solved without calling in any expensive professionals.

Diagnosing a Drain Problem

When your washing machine can no longer properly pump out the water, you’ll notice that clothes are extremely wet after the wash cycle. Due to the weight of the water, it will not be possible to properly perform the spin cycle afterwards, which is needed to remove excess water from fabrics. This is especially necessary for large items of laundry such as bedsheets, as these absorb a lot of water and can become extremely heavy as a result.

Other signs that your machine is not draining:

  • There is water in the drum
  • The washing machine door won’t unlock
  • The program aborts towards the end of the cycle and an error message displays
  • knocking noises can be heard from the washing machine
  • Washing machine does not draw water

If you experience any of the above symptoms, it is likely that there is a problem with draining. Most washing machines has a separate drainage hose, which is located at the fluff filter and through which you can drain off the excess water manually, before inspecting. This is very easy to spot because in most cases it is made of black rubber.

The hose is then pulled out, the stopper removed and the water drained into a shallow pan. Now you’re ready to work on sourcing the real issue.

10 Washing Machine Draining Faults

A washing machine, like a dishwasher, is a kitchen appliance that has moving parts and components that break, wear out, or develop faults through regular use. Some errors can be remedied by quick DIY in just a few simple steps, while others require a specialist. So let’s run down ten reasons for your machine not draining;

  1. Load failed to spin
  2. Blocked filter
  3. Damaged drain pump
  4. Foreign object causing blockage
  5. Drain hose blocked
  6. Problem with U-bend
  7. Problem with belt
  8. Broken internal component
  9. Rinse hold function activated
  10. Backup problems

Before exploring any faults, it is essential that you disconnect the machine from the mains power supply. Some of the faults on this list will require unscrewing the rear cover of the machine to find and fix a fault, for example with the belt.

1. Clothes Won’t Spin

If you find clothes still completely soaked and some water in the drum, it might just be that the load was too heavy for the drum to spin fast enough. If the load is unbalanced or too heavy, the machine won’t spin at it’s highest RPM, which means the clothes won’t be rinsed out and will still be soaked.

This is why you should invest in a top washing machine with a high KG capacity. It might be tempting to save money by buying a smaller 6kg washing machine over a 10kg, but the difference in load capacity is substantial and the possibility of the machine not spinning and draining is reduced.

First thing you should do is take some of the clothes out – heavy jumpers and towels hold a lot of water and weight – then run the machine on a rinse cycle. If the machine still fails to drain, move into the next troubleshooting steps.

2. Blocked Filter

washing machine lint filter

The lint filter is always one of the first parts of the washing machine to investigate when faced with a draining problem. It is located at the bottom front of the machine, behind a small cover plate, and is opened using a screw motion by hand so that it can then be pulled out. To remove, inspect, and clear the lint filter, take these steps;

  • Remove filter cover (may need flat head screwdriver or knife)
  • Place flat baking stray under the drain to catch water (and towels)
  • Grip and turn the filter anti clockwise, this may take a little force
  • The filter should slide right out
  • Expect some excess water to spill out
  • Clean the filter under running water
  • Pull off any strands or lint and hair
  • Inspect inside the filter opening and remove any blockage
  • Replace the filter, ensuring a it’s locked tight in place
  • Replace cover

If your draining problem was caused by this blocked filter, then cleaning it should now allow the machine to drain. Older or basic machines have problems with this, and don’t have an error display to point out the clogged fluff filter. You can assume that the lint filter needs to be cleaned after a certain number of washes, especially if you’re laundry is heavily soiled or you have casting pets.

Another point to mention. If you’re using too much soap powder, this can cause the filter to clog with thick bubbles and soapy sludge. If you find this to be the case when you remove the filter, clean it thoroughly and run a few rinse cycles to completely clear the pump and filter of excess soap.

3. Drain Pump

If the drain pump is damaged, the washing machine can no longer expel the water and so it stays in the machine. The reason for this is can simple be down to wear and tear on the pump itself – nothing last forever without breaking. The pump can become strained if it is clogged and has to pump against an obstacle, causing back pressure. If the water still does not drain after you have checked the following points, you can suspect that the pump has died.

  • The lint filter cleaned
  • The drain pump checked for blockages
  • Hoses clean and clear

If you can also hear an unusual grinding noise from the lower area of ​​the washing machine, this can be a sign the pump is struggling to work. You can then either replace this yourself or hand this work over to a specialist. Pumps are quite cheap to replace, but will require some handy skills.

4. Foreign Objects

Even small foreign objects such as coins, kids toys or buttons can make their way to the drain pump, causing a clog. Foreign bodies in the drain pump are quite easy to spot after removing the filter. All you’ll need is a light and a good pair of eyes.

  • Remove the lint filter as described above
  • Allow excess water to drain out
  • Shine light into the cavity
  • You should be able to see pump preparer blades
  • If you find anything lodged there, remove with pliers
  • Put everything back together and test with a rinse cycle

You might be surprised to discover some of the little parts that end up lodged down there. A reminder – always double check clothing pockets before washing.

5. Drain Hose

washing machine drain plumbing hose

You should inspect the drain hose from where it leaves the back of the washing machine all the way to the drainpipe under the sink – if this is how your system us set up. This is often the case for machines in the kitchen, as they use the drain via the sink.

You should therefore check the siphon connection to see whether it has been installed in the right direction or whether it is blocked. Especially dual connections for more than one appliance without a non-return valve sometimes lead the wastewater from the other device into the hose of the washing machine. This can lead to all sorts of blockages.

Remove the drain hose, you may find it’s blocked with gunk, either in the hose or into the pipes where the water should drain away. If you find a blockage, remove and clean it. Remember, when disconnecting pipes, have a bucket and towel handy to catch spills.

6. U-Bend

The drain hose should have a raised u-bend to ensure waste water makes it to the drain, without any back seepage. Sometimes this bend can become clogged or the bend has a compressed kink. Clear any blockage and make sure that water can flow freely through this waste pipe.

7. Drive Belt

Like a car, the washing machine’s motor has a drive belt that control the drum spins the drum. The longer you use a machine, the higher the chance it will stretch, slip, and even snap. You can recognize a broken belt by the fact that the machine can no longer spin at all. If the belt is slipping or faulty, it can mean that high rpm needed to rinse is being interrupted and leaving clothes soaked.

It’s hard to tell if a belt is slack without opening the back panel and checking, and if you’re not knowledgeable in this area, it’s hard to know what to look for, so it’s a good idea to get someone with some know-how to have a closer look.

8. Internal Components

Due to the numerous electrical components within the machine, problems can arise from faulty switches, wiring, and onboard electronics. If you ran through all the manual check so far and the machine still won’t drain properly, it’s time to call in a washing machine repair specialist for a diagnosis.

9. Rinse Hold Function

Sometimes it can happen that the rinse hold was activated by mistake. The rinse hold is a function that is used for sensitive laundry such as lingerie that does not have a spin cycle. Simply start an extra spin and see if the problem is resolved.

10. Fuse

It can happen that the current program of the machine is interrupted if the fuse is blown or breaker switch has tripped. If power is cut and then reinstated, the machine should pick up where it left off and complete the draining process.