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What to Do When Your Washing Machine Won’t Drain

A functional washing machine is an effective tool for getting dirt, sweat, and stains out of clothing. The exact way the washer cleans your clothes depends on the precise settings you choose, but the basic premise is the same: first, the drum fills with water when you hit “Start.” After the wash cycle, the drum drains, and the first spin cycle begins. Then, the drum refills to rinse the clothes with clean water. Finally, the machine drains one final time and spins the clothes dry.

If you open the lid after the washer stops running to find your clothes swimming in water, something is obviously wrong. The drum won’t drain, that much is certain, but why? To get to the bottom of it, follow these troubleshooting tips before you call in a professional for help.

Perform a Master Reset

Unplug your washer for about one minute. Then, plug the appliance back in. Open and close the door six times in 12 seconds to tell the computer to reset everything. This may not work on all machines, but it’s an easy fix if yours is compatible with this technique.

Test the Lid Switch Assembly

Top-loading washers will only drain and spin if the lid is securely closed. Therefore, a defective lid switch assembly could be causing the problem.

See if the machine responds when you depress the lid switch with your finger. If this triggers the drum to drain, you may simply need to extend the stem on the lid so it depresses the switch. If nothing happens when you press the lid switch, it may need to be replaced.

See if the Drain Hose is Kinked

Adjust the hose behind the washer to make sure water can easily flow through it. If the hose is kinked, that could stop an otherwise functional machine from draining.

Check the Drain Hose or Pump for Clogs

It’s common for a sock or other small piece of clothing to get into the drain system and clog the hose or pump. Remove the front panel of the washer and check for any obstructions in these areas. If you find anything, remove it to see if you can get the washing machine to drain.

Be aware that if you remove the hose to get an obstruction out of the pump, any water in the washer will come pouring out. To avoid a mess, scoop out as much water from the drum as possible before disconnecting the hose.

Clean out the Coin Trap

Some washers have a coin trap designed to catch foreign objects before they flow into the drain. Coin traps usually have a panel designed for easy access. If your washer has one, clean it out and see if the tub will drain now.

Check the Water Level Control

If your washer won’t drain or spin, the water level control may be faulty. Open the machine’s control panel and look for a plastic tube attached to the water level valve. If it’s clogged, clear it out with vinegar. If the valve itself is corroded, it may need to be replaced.

Schedule Washing Machine Repair

If these troubleshooting tips don’t solve the problem, you could have a broken water pump or drive belt. These components require professional repair or replacement to get your machine working again.

Washing machine repair is best left to the professionals. If your washing machine still won’t drain, it’s time to call Mr. Appliance® for help. Our experienced technicians can efficiently and effectively restore your washing machine to good working order.