A Blocked Drain in the Washing Machine

Written by christie gross
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A Blocked Drain in the Washing Machine
A small piece of laundry can create a blocked drain. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

When a washing machine drain becomes blocked, water can't drain from the machine. Before you can unclog the drain, you must empty the machine of laundry and manually pump water out. Although a blocked drain is a frustrating problem to address, once the block is removed, the washing machine should drain automatically at the end of the wash cycle.

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How the Drain Becomes Blocked

Most washing machines have two tubs: an inner and outer one. The inner tub holds the laundry. The outer one holds water and directly connects to the drain. The tubs are separated to prevent small articles of clothing, such as a sock, from entering the outer tub and getting caught in the drain. However, the dual-tub design isn't foolproof. Occasionally, clothing enters the outer tub and blocks water from draining.

Empty the Machine

Cut the power to the washing machine, and take out each item of laundry from the machine and place it in a waterproof container. Look in the rear of the washer for a water pump filter hidden behind a small flap. You can consult your washing machine manual for help locating it. Once found, take out the hose and place it in a nearby sink or large 5-gallon bucket and allow water to drain. If you're unfamiliar with how your washing machine operates and don't feel comfortable draining the machine manually, contact a washer repair technician to drain it for you.

Easy Clog Removal

Refer to your washing machine manual for instructions on where to find the washer's main access panel. After it has been located, take out the large diameter rubber hose that links the water pump to the outer tub. You can use your fingers or a pair of needle-nose pliers to reach into the gap and remove the block from the entrance to the port.

Dealing With a More Complex Block

Depending on the placement of the clog, you might need to remove the agitator from the washing machine, which allows you to eliminate a block from further down the drain line past the point of it being easily reachable. However, because removing the agitator is a more complex task, you're probably better off contacting a washer repair technician to complete the job. The washer repair technician can also confirm that the block didn't damage the washer's drainage system. For example, if the clog entered the water pump, it can prevent it from pumping water from the tub even after the block is cleared. In this case, the pump would need replacing.

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