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How to Fix a Clogged Washing Machine Drain

October 1, 2023

Is your washing machine spewing murky water into your laundry room? Or perhaps it’s making a humming sound?

While there are several possible explanations, the most common culprit is a clogged drain hose. Left unattended, it can cause a massive backup that can lead to leaks ansd possible flooding.

Don’t worry, though, it is fixable so you don’t have to get a new washing machine just yet.

How do you fix washing machine drains if they’re clogged? What should you use? How can you prevent issues with the drain pipes?

For the answers, be sure to keep reading. We’ll be going over everything you need to know about identifying and fixing clogged washing machine drains below.

How to Identify a Clogged Washing Machine Drain

how to fix a clogged washing machine drain

Here’s how you can identify the issue before it turns into an expensive repair.

Signs of a Clogged Drain

A clogged washing machine drain often presents itself with some tell-tale signs. For example, if your wash cycle isn’t completing or water is backing up out of the drain pipe, there could be something blocking your machine’s plumbing system.

You may also notice strange noises coming from the appliance; this can happen if the drain pump forces the water through whatever debris has built up inside.

You may also notice a musty smell if standing water is left inside your washing machine for long periods of time due to a clogged laundry drain.

The Role of Lint Traps in Preventing Clogs

role of lint trap in preventing clogs

Lint traps play an important role in preventing blockages by catching lint and other small particles from clothes during the cycles. But even with diligent use, buildup can happen over time and that can lead to a partial or complete blockage.

That’s why it’s so important to clean these traps regularly – that will ensure the smooth functioning and longevity of your overall plumbing system.

Common Causes of a Clogged Washing Machine Hose

Several things can cause a clogged drain hose. Here are some of the most common scenarios.

Lint and Debris Buildup

As your washing machine cleans your clothes, it naturally produces lint, which accumulates over time within the drain line.

Even if you’re diligent about cleaning out the pockets before laundry day, tiny fibers from the fabric will break off during each wash cycle and contribute to the issue.

Foreign Objects

You’d be surprised how common it is for small items like keys or kids’ toys to fall out during a load of laundry and end up lodged in your washer drain. These little invaders don’t just create an immediate blockage—they can damage the pipes too by creating friction against their inner walls.

Problems Caused by a Clogged Washer Drains

If your washing machine’s drainage is not working as it should, you might be facing some serious issues.

Cleaning Cycle Interruptions

If there’s an obstruction, the pump that forces water out through the drain hose won’t be able to work properly. This means the washing machine won’t be able to finish its cleaning cycles.

In other words, your clothes will remain soapy and wet.

Potential Damage from Overflowing Water

potential damage from overflowing water

The potential backup can cause water to overflow and it doesn’t just stop at creating messy puddles on the floor either.

For example, it could cause major flooding, which would lead to expensive repairs.

Risks That Come with DIY Fixes

You might be tempted to use a chemical drain cleaner but they can actually do more harm than good. Not only are these chemicals potentially dangerous to you and the environment, but they could also corrode or damage the pipes, resulting in further complications.

Given that, it’s best to avoid using a drain cleaner altogether.

How to Fix a Clogged Washing Machine Drain Hose

Clogs in your washing machine’s drain can be quite a headache. But don’t fret. You can often fix these problems with some simple tools and techniques.

Using a Handheld Drum Auger to Clear Clogs

An effective tool for unclogging drains is a handheld drum auger, also known as a drain snake. Generally speaking, you can get a 25-foot model for around $30, which makes it an affordable solution.

To begin, shut off the circuit breaker to disconnect your washing machine from its water supply. Next, remove the washer’s drain hose that connects to the laundry drain.

Insert one end of your auger into the washer’s drainage pipe or ‘snake’ it down until you feel resistance – that’s likely where your clog is located. Slowly turn the handle clockwise – that should dislodge any blockages while avoiding damaging pipes.

Using a Sewer Jetter

Using a sewer jetter is another option – it works by forcing hot water at high pressure through the drain line.

Note: Sewer jetters are often used by professionals due to their complexity.

Tips to Prevent Drain Clogs In Washing Machines

With some simple steps and regular care, you can prevent future clogs from forming in your washing machines.

Clean the Lint Trap Regularly

clean the lint trap regularly

Your first line of defense against clogged drains in a washing machine is the lint trap.

Just like you would with a dryer, make sure to clean this drain filter after every wash cycle. That will prevent lint and other debris from building up.

Maintain Your Machine Drains

Every few months, give your laundry drains an extra bit of attention by using equal parts hot water and vinegar.

Let this solution sit for 15 minutes before running a rinse cycle with cold water; this will remove any leftover residue in the drain hose that could lead to future issues.

Clean Your Washer Regularly

active washing machine cleaner mainIn addition to lint that collects inside the machine, laundry detergent can also be a major cause of clogged drain lines. Over time, detergent residue sticks to the inside areas of the washer, including the drain, which can lead to clogs.

Regular cleaning of your washing machine will help remove this buildup and prevent it from getting out of control, blocking the drain. The simplest way to keep your washing machine clean and clog-free is to run a cleaning cycle with ACTIVE Washing Machine Cleaner twice per month.

Avoid Overloading Your Washer

Resist the urge to squeeze just one more shirt into your washer. Overfilling won’t just strain your machine—it’ll also increase the likelihood of objects slipping past the filters or catching in the hoses.

When to Call a Professional Plumber for Washing Machine Drain Issues

If your efforts to fix the drainage hose don’t work, it may be time to get in touch with a licensed plumber. These pros have specialized tools and expertise that let them tackle stubborn clogs without causing damage to pipes.

For example, if there’s standing water in your washer even after the cycle is finished, you’ll want to call in the professionals.

You should also consider calling for help if recurring issues persist despite DIY attempts at fixing them yourself.

Washing Machine Drain Clogged – FAQs

How do you clear a clogged washing machine drain pipe?

To unclog your washer’s drain, first turn off the power. Next, detach the hose and use an auger or jetter to remove the clog. Reattach everything once it’s clear.

Why is my washing machine drain pipe backing up?

Your washer’s drain may be backing up due to debris buildup or foreign objects blocking the flow of water in your pipes.

Why is my washing machine backing up into my sink?

If your washer backs up into your sink, it may be because they share a common sewer line that has become blocked with lint or other debris.

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Picture of Ethan Clarke

Ethan Clarke

Ethan Clarke is a seasoned expert in appliances and household waste systems. Referencing his extensive experience as an appliance repairman, Ethan shares his invaluable knowledge through detailed maintenance & troubleshooting manuals. Ethan’s insights help homeowners understand and maintain their appliances efficiently, ensuring longevity and optimal performance. He’s here to provide practical, easy-to-follow advice for all your appliance needs.

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