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Why Is My Washer Not Draining? 6 Possible Reasons

pillow near a washing machine

Washers and dryers are some of the most useful appliances today, completely eliminating the need to hand wash and air dry clothes. However, it can be extremely frustrating—not to mention, wet—when your washer refuses to drain.

Luckily, there are a handful of main culprits that cause the issue. Let’s see what causes a washer to not drain and how you can fix the issue.

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The 6 Possible Reasons Why Your Washer Isn’t Draining

1. Kinked Drain Hose

If the drain hose is kinked anywhere, it’ll be impossible for the washer to drain. This is one of the easiest problems to fix because all you need to do is visually inspect your drain hose. If it’s kinked at any point or objects are constricting the hose, straighten it out and see if the washer will drain. If not, continue on to the entries below.

plumber holding a kinked drain/broken flexible drain hose of washing machine
Image Credit: ReaLiia, Shutterstock

2. Faulty Lid Switch

Top-loading washers will only drain and spin if the lid is firmly closed, which they verify with a lid switch assembly. If your lid is firmly closed and not blocked, press on it with your hands. If the washer engages, the lid switch needs to be adjusted.

Try extending the lid switch stem and seeing if that fixes the problem. If not, the entire lid switch assembly could be shorted out or otherwise faulty. It’s also possible that a different issue is at fault.

3. Drain Hose, Coin Trap, or Drain Pump Blockages

The pump filter and drain hose in your washer can get clogged up with dirt, coins, pet hair, or other debris. First, disconnect the drain hose and see if either end is visibly clogged. If not, run some water through it to make sure there aren’t any hidden blockages.

Next, check your washer’s documentation to locate the drain pump. It may be on the back, front, or under the front panel. Pull the pump out and see if it’s clogged up and check your coin trap if you have one. If there aren’t any clogs in the pump, coin trap, or hose, blockages aren’t your problem.

Coins in washing machine's drain pump filter
Image Credit: Pradit.Ph_, Shutterstock

4. Improper Drain Height

Every washer has an ideal drain height that allows the water to flow out. If it’s too high, the washer can’t pump the water through your drain hose. If it’s too low, the water will simply flow back into the drum.

Check your washer’s documentation to find the drain height range for your model to see if this may be the problem. If so, you can adjust the drain hose or its attached standpipe.

5. Unbalanced Drum

Many washers will simply stop if the drum gets severely unbalanced, which can happen when washing large loads, blankets, or other bulky items. This makes it seem like the washer won’t drain because it won’t continue the cycle as usual.

Try moving your laundry around in the washer to distribute the weight more evenly through the drum. If an unbalanced drum was your problem, the washer will continue as usual.

Washing Machine with laundry
Image Credit: Steve Buissinne, Pixabay

6. Plumbing Issues

This is the final thing to check after you’ve verified that your washer isn’t broken or clogged. It’s easy to assume a washer that won’t drain is simply broken in some way, but sometimes it’s really your plumbing to blame.

If the pipes your drain hose flows into are blocked, it makes it seem like the washer won’t drain. To fix this, you can completely disconnect the drain hose and run a drain snake through the plumbing to dislodge any clogs.

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Washers are supposed to make our lives more convenient, but they can actually do the opposite when they won’t drain properly. To diagnose why your washer isn’t draining, go through the entries above to figure out the cause. In many cases, it’s pretty easy to fix, but faulty components and plumbing can complicate things quickly. If all else fails, you might need to call in a professional to have a look.


Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock


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