Why Would a Washing Machine Not Drain Out the Water?


A washing machine moves water and detergent around the tub as the agitator moves your clothes up and down. These factors combine to scrub and clean your clothes. After your washer is done, the water drains out during the spin cycle, preparing the load for drying. If your washer isn't draining properly, repair the problem yourself, and avoid costly service fees.

Drain Hose/Load Issues

  • If your washing machine isn't draining properly, check the drain hose, which is connected to the back of the machine. Scoop out the water from the tub, and remove the hose from the washer. Dig out clogs with a plastic utensil. Straighten the hose if bent, or replace it if it's crushed. Verify that the standpipe is no more than 96 inches above the floor and that no more than 4 inches of the tube extrudes into the tub. Do not overload the washing machine, which can prevent the washer from draining. If your detergent is causing too many suds, the washer may not go into the spin cycle. Use less or non-clumping detergent.

Lid/Lid Switch

  • Close the lid of the washing machine. Your washer won't start the spin the cycle or drain with the lid open. Check the lid switch, which is located in the main housing by the door frame. Use a multimeter, and see if the part has continuity. If not, the switch is defective. Get a new one from a washer parts dealer since you usually can't repair this part.


  • A common reason for a washer not draining is the pump, which can get clogged or break. Remove the water from the tub, and unplug the washing machine. Pull out clothing or clogs with needle-nose pliers. Visually examine the pump, and see if any part is broken, especially the impeller. Replace the pump if any part of it is broken. Look at the pump pulley, and see if you can turn it. If not, get a new pulley since the current one is probably frozen.

Motor Coupler/Timer

  • Certain models of washing machines have motor couplers. These are rubber and plastic parts that attach to both the motor shaft and transmission. Disconnect the washing machine from the power source, and remove the main access panel. See if the part is broken, and replace it if necessary. The timer regulates the washer cycles. If the timer isn't advancing to the next cycle, your washer may not drain. Use a multimeter, and test the timer for continuity. Get a new one from a washer parts dealer if it's defective.

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