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How to Drain Your Washing Machine

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How to Drain your Washing Machine

I’ve been where you are now. Standing in front of your washing machine, sighing heavily, and wondering why it chose now to stop draining. It’s really frustrating, and I know you’re thinking about how much this is going to cost you. However, you might just be able to fix the issue yourself.

A washing machine that’s not draining, or needs to be drained, is usually a DIY job. This might be a little extra work for you, but it’s also a massive relief for your wallet. Are you ready to learn all about the art of washing machine draining? Grab your toolbelt, and let’s get it working smoothly again.

How Do You Manually Drain a Top Loading Washing Machine?

Top Loading Washing Machine

There isn’t too much about the drainage process that is different with a top loader, but it is good to know how to work with it if you own one. There are just a few simple steps you need to follow, each of which can be found below:

#1 Remove the clothes from the washing machine and use a bucket to drain all the water. This can be slow, and wet, but it is important to get as much water out as possible.

#2 Check the back of the machine for a water pump filter. It’s usually on the back wall of the machine under a small flap, but you may sometimes find them on the front for an older model. Grab a bucket, and pull the drain hose out of the flap and hold it over the bucket. The water will then drain slowly until the machine is empty.

#3 Next pull the drainage pipe from the main pipeline connection; this is the pipe your washing machine uses for drainage normally. Just remember to have a few buckets and basins ready to catch the excess water. This will drain really quickly, and you might find it hard to catch up with all the excess water. You can then locate the blockage and remove it accordingly. The videos and instructions at the end of this guide are able to help with the removal process.

Why Won’t My Washing Machine Drain Water?

There are a few reasons why your washing machine might have stopped draining. These include, but may not be limited to, the following:

  • Clogged drain hose
  • Broken pump
  • Broken lid switch/belt
  • Jammed hose

Regardless of what’s caused the issue, the fact remains that you will need to manually drain the water from the machine before you can get any closer to diagnosing it.

What Does the Drain Function on a Washing Machine Do?

Drain Function

In basic terms, this is what removes the water from the drum during the washing cycle. Once the machine fills with water in order to wash your clothes, it will drain after they have been rinsed. Following this, the laundry is spun to get all of the excess water out and ensure it’s left clean.

The way this works is that there is an area at the base of the machine that is connected to the pump, which forces water from the tub into the drain hose. The hose itself actually loops around the top of the machine and down into the drain. This means that once the tub, or drum, is emptied, the water travels down to the bend of the hose and is drained back out of the machine.

How to Drain Your Washing Machine for Moving

If the machine is full of water, it’s going to be too heavy to move yourself. In situations like this, you need to drain it before you can get it into a better position for repair. The good news? It’s actually a really simple process that shouldn’t take you too much time. Just head down to the instructions section and check out the drainage process for more detailed information.

How to Drain a Washing Machine Mid-Cycle

This can happen, and it is also really annoying, but it is not the end of the world. The first thing you need to do is try and get the washing machine started again. This is because it should drain by itself when turned back on, allowing you to assess the damage clearly. However, there will be times when you cannot get it back on, and it is instead left full of water. The instructions in the next section will show you what to do when you get stuck like this.

Instructions for Drainage

Ready for the basics on how to drain your washing machine? Look no further. Below, you will find the basic steps for the drainage process. This should be the perfect template for a range of washing machines, especially when combined with the video in the next section. First, here is a quick list of the things you need in order to get started:

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Clamps
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Nut driver
  • Something to hold the machine up (bricks or paint tins)

Method #1 - Remove Front Panel Screws

Removing the Front Panel Screws

First, you need to drain the machine. You can do this by removing the filter cap so that all the water pours out. It is normal for some water to come out anyway, but you are likely to find there is an excessive amount in this scenario. If you are able to bail out the drum, this will help you a lot. However, if it is locked, then it will have to wait for later.

When the machine is empty, you can lift it up and prop it up on your paint tins or bricks. The back of the machine should be facing the floor, and the front panel should be upwards. Locate the screws that hold the front panel on, and loosen them with the screwdriver. Remove the panel, and you will be able to see inside the machine; including the pump.

Method #2 - Drain via Pump Filter Drain Tube

Drain Pump Filter

This is the step for those with a machine full of water that needs to be emptied carefully; especially if you cannot open the machine door. Many washing machines have a small drainage tube that can be pulled out a little and held over a bucket to drain. It can be a little slow if there is a blockage, but it is definitely one of the best and safest ways to ensure that the machine ends up empty.

Method #3 - Look for Blockage and Remove

Blockage on Washing Machine

The housing for the pump itself is actually translucent, so you may even find that you are able to see the clog right away. Much of the time, it is a piece of clothing that has escaped and stopped things from working properly. If this is the case, all you need to do is take the pliers and slowly ease the article of clothing out of the pump so that you can get back to normal.

However, if you don’t see the clog in the pump or the drain hose that’s near it, it could be stuck in the outlet where the hose connects to the drum. If you need to take a closer look, loosen the clamp that holds the hose to the bottom of the tub and then remove the hose. You can then use the pliers to pull out the offending article so that things can start working properly again.

Method #4 - If No Blockage Remove the Pump

Washing Machine Pump

No blockage? Time to get in a little deeper. This part might feel more complex, but it’s actually pretty easy and is sure to go smoothly for you. It could be that the pump is dead, but if this is the case, you will normally hear a loud sound, and it will start leaking right away. You can also reach inside the pump to feel for broken fins and internal damage to see if it needs to be replaced.

If you do need to buy a new one, make sure you get an exact match by locating the part number so that you can find one. All you need to do is unscrew the old one, take it out, and screw the new one back in. Simple as that. I just want to stress how important it is to make sure you get the exact same pump as the old one in order to have the machine function correctly.

Clearing a Washing Machine Pump

Know that your pump is blocked and need some help? I have sourced the perfect video to take you through each of the steps to unblock a pump. First, here are the main sighs that your pump is blocked in the first place:

  • Wet clothes after the final spin
  • Excessive vibration
  • Long cycle times
  • Washer pauses
  • Door stays locked with clothes inside

It might be as simple as a pin or coin getting stuck in the drum or finding its way deeper into the machine, but it could also be more than that. Take a look at the handy video below to find out more and for a great visual guide to clearing that pump.

To Conclude

I hope that this has been a clear and helpful guide on washing machine drainage. It’s not always going to be simple, but once you get through the instructions and have everything in order, it’s an absolute breeze. Whether you have a top-loader or a front-loader, there are tips and tricks here that will help you to drain all of that old water out in no time at all.

What did you think of my washing machine draining guide? Did it hit the mark, or are there parts you felt needed a little more clarification? I love hearing from you, so let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. 

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