Solutions to Help You Resolve the Washing Machine Won’t Drain

Dealing with a washing machine that won’t drain can be a frustrating experience for anyone. When your laundry comes out sopping wet or you find water standing in the drum after a wash cycle, it’s a clear sign that something isn’t working as it should. Fortunately, understanding a few common reasons behind this issue and learning some simple troubleshooting steps can often help you get your washing machine back on track without the need for professional assistance. In this guide, we’ll explore the easy-to-follow solutions to help you resolve the problem. From checking for clogs to examining the drainage pump, we’ll break down the steps in plain and simple language, empowering you to tackle the issue and get your laundry routine back to its smooth, efficient self.

Check for Clogs in the Drain Hose

A frequently encountered issue causing a washing machine not to drain is a clogged drain hose. To troubleshoot, start by unplugging the machine to ensure safety. Locate the drain hose at the back of the machine and visually inspect it for any visible debris or lint obstructing the flow of water. If you identify any blockages, carefully remove them. If the issue persists, it’s advisable to disconnect the hose and flush it with water to ensure complete clearance. This simple step can often resolve the problem, allowing water to flow freely during the drain cycle.

Examine the Drain Pump

The drain pump plays a crucial role in expelling water during the machine’s drain cycle. When the pump malfunctions or becomes obstructed, it can lead to drainage issues. Begin by finding the pump, typically located behind an access panel or at the bottom of the washing machine. Carefully inspect the pump for any debris or foreign objects that may be impeding its operation. Clean the pump and its impeller thoroughly, ensuring it spins freely. A properly functioning drain pump is essential for efficient drainage and optimal washing machine performance.

Examine the Water Inlet Valve

Responsible for facilitating water flow into the dispenser, the water inlet valve can suffer from sediment or mineral deposits over time, affecting its functionality. Begin by turning off the water supply and disconnecting the water line. A meticulous inspection of the inlet valve should follow, with a focus on identifying visible clogs or debris. The remedial action involves cleaning the valve or replacing it if necessary, culminating in the restoration of proper water flow. Guidance from your refrigerator’s manual is essential when accessing and servicing the water inlet valve for an effective resolution.

Verify Dispenser Actuator and Switch

Central to the proper functioning of the water dispenser is the dispenser actuator, triggered when you press the lever. A thorough examination should be conducted to identify any visible damage or misalignment. Simultaneously, attention must be directed towards the switch situated behind the actuator, as a faulty switch can hinder dispenser operation. Press the dispenser lever and listen for a distinctive clicking sound, indicative of the switch functioning correctly. If no click is audible, consider replacing the switch, or, if needed, making simple adjustments to a malfunctioning actuator. These straightforward measures often prove instrumental in resolving issues where the dispenser fails to dispense water.

Inspect the Lid Switch

A malfunctioning or misaligned lid switch is a common cause of a washing machine not draining. This safety feature is designed to prevent the machine from draining water when the lid is open. To troubleshoot, locate the lid switch, usually situated near the machine’s lid. Check for any visible damage or wear. If the switch appears damaged, it may need to be replaced. To determine its functionality, use a multimeter to test the switch’s continuity. If the switch fails the test, a replacement is necessary to restore proper drainage functionality.

Clear the Pump Filter

Some washing machines are equipped with a pump filter that can become clogged with lint, fabric fibers, or small objects. Refer to your machine’s manual to locate the pump filter, commonly found at the front or bottom of the machine. Regularly cleaning the filter can prevent blockages and ensure optimal drainage. Remove the filter, clean it thoroughly, and check for any visible obstructions. This simple maintenance task can significantly contribute to the efficient functioning of your washing machine’s drainage system.

Verify the Drainage Path

Ensuring a clear and unobstructed drainage path from the washing machine to the sewer or septic system is crucial for proper drainage. Begin by checking the drain hose for any kinks or twists that may impede the flow of water. Additionally, confirm that the drainage path is not elevated too high, as this can affect the machine’s ability to drain water effectively. Adjust the hose and ensure it follows a smooth, downward route to facilitate unobstructed water flow.

Assess the Belt

For washing machines with belt-driven pump systems, a loose or damaged belt can be a contributing factor to drainage issues. Begin by turning off the machine and unplugging it to ensure safety. Access the belt, usually located at the back of the machine. Inspect the belt for any signs of wear, such as fraying or stretching. If you notice any issues, secure the belt tightly around the pulleys or replace it following the instructions provided in your machine’s manual. A properly functioning belt is essential for the efficient operation of the pump and drainage system.

Examine the Drain Valve

The drain valve controls the flow of water out of the washing machine during the drainage cycle. If the valve malfunctions or becomes clogged, it can impede the drainage process. To troubleshoot, locate the drain valve within your washing machine and inspect it for any visible issues. Clean the valve and the surrounding areas to ensure there are no obstructions hindering its operation. By addressing any potential problems with the drain valve, you can contribute to the efficient drainage of water from your washing machine.

Evaluate the Control Board

In some cases, electronic or control board issues can contribute to a washing machine not draining properly. If all physical components seem to be in working order, it might be worth checking the control board for any error codes or malfunctions. Consult your machine’s manual for guidance on accessing and diagnosing issues with the control board. If you’re unfamiliar with electronics, it’s recommended to seek professional assistance for advanced troubleshooting or potential replacement of the control board. Properly addressing electronic issues can ensure the overall functionality of your washing machine, including its drainage capabilities.

Safety Precautions

IBefore delving into any troubleshooting or maintenance tasks, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Always disconnect the washing machine from the power source before attempting any repairs or inspections. This precautionary measure minimizes the risk of electrical shock and ensures a safe working environment. Additionally, if you encounter difficulties or uncertainties during the troubleshooting process, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance. Professional technicians have the expertise to diagnose and address complex issues, safeguarding both your safety and the integrity of the washing machine.


A washing machine that won’t drain can disrupt your household routine, but many common issues have straightforward solutions. By systematically exploring these eight potential causes and implementing the corresponding solutions, you increase the likelihood of identifying and fixing the issue causing your washing machine not to drain. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the drain hose, pump filter, and inspecting components like the lid switch and belt, can contribute to the overall efficiency of your washing machine. Remember to consult your machine’s manual for specific instructions and guidance tailored to your appliance. Whether you’re a seasoned troubleshooter or new to appliance maintenance, following these steps can empower you to resolve drainage issues and keep your washing machine running smoothly.