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Washing Machine Won’t Drain: What You Need to Do

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There could be a number of causes why your washing machine won't drain. Washing machines have complex mechanisms, and we use them constantly, making them especially vulnerable to breaking down from wear and tear. It might not surprise you that this problem is actually one of the most common failures.

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Fortunately, there are a number of things you can troubleshoot to resolve this frustrating issue. Many homeowners think they'll need to purchase an expensive new machine or hire an appliance repair person. But, in fact, you might be able to fix the problem yourself. This article will cover the top reasons a washing machine won't drain, and show you what to do to get the water moving again!

How a Washing Machine Works

Although each setting varies, your washing machine basically uses this process to clean your clothes:

  • Press the START button and the drum fills with water and begins the wash cycle.
  • When the wash cycle finishes, the drum drains, and the spin cycle begins to remove the water from your clothes.
  • Once the spin cycle finishes, the drum fills with water to begin the rinse cycle.
  • When the rinse cycle ends, the drum once again drains and the second spin cycle removes the excess water from your clothes.

Everything works great until your washer doesn't drain and you open the lid and see your clothes sitting in a tub of water!

Before calling a professional, it's worth your time to do some quick troubleshooting. You just may be able to fix the problem yourself.

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Troubleshooting Why Your Washer Won't Drain

Although not all models are designed with a master reset option, but it's worth trying this method anyway just in case it works on your washer. You simply need to unplug the washer from the wall and wait for about 60-seconds. Then plug it back in and open and fully close the door 6 times within 12-seconds. 

If the master reset worked, then you're back in business, if not, there's no harm done and you can move to the next troubleshooting item.

Drain Pump or Hose Clogs

The most common reason your washer won't drain is due to a clog in either the drain pump or the drain hose. Socks and other small objects often find their way into the drain hose and pump and cause a clog.

You'll need to remove the front panel from the washer in order to access the drain pump. And if you need to disconnect the drain hose from the pump, you'll want to manually drain the water from the washer drum. Keep in mind that any water within the drum will come rushing out once the drain hose is disconnected, so have a bucket and towels ready.

If you need to replace your drain pump, this OEM model may work. There are many different models available, so make sure the one you purchase works with your washing machine.

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Lid Switch Assembly

If the lid switch assembly is defective it won't allow a top-loading washer to drain. This switch is a safety switch to ensure objects or hands/arms can not access the washer drum when its spinning and draining.

Mechanically the lid switch assembly may appear to be operating fine, but it can also fail electrically which would require a multimeter for troubleshooting continuity.

If you enjoy DIY projects, replacing the switch isn't too difficult. However, many people choose to hire a professional to do the job for them. The video below shows how to replace the lid switch assembly.

If you need to replace your lid switch assembly, you can check if this OEM model will work for your machine. To make sure it fits, enter your washing machine brand and model number on the top of the page.

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Drain Hose

Check your drain hose that runs from the back of your washer to the drain. These hoses sometimes become twisted or kinked and don't allow water to flow through. 

If the hose is in good shape, you should remove it and check for clogs. If there is an obstruction, you should be able to remove it and your washer will drain again.

However, if your drain hose is damaged, you'll need to replace it, but don't worry its a simple process and something you should be able to do yourself. This video shows how.

If your drain hose is damaged, this universal drain hose should work with all washing machines. 

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Coin Trap

Many front load washers have coin traps that prevent foreign objects from clogging the drain. When the coin trap clogs, it'll prevent the washer from draining as it should.

If you find your washer is draining slowly or won't drain at all, then the problem could be the coin trap. You can easily remove the trap and remove any obstruction that may have been caught, and then return the trap.

It's an easy fix. This video will show you how.

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