How to manually drain a washing machine

A washing machine has simplified the way many people used to clean their clothes. If you have this machine, you should know some of the common problems that you may experience while using it and find out how to fix them.

Sometimes, a washing machine can stop draining in the middle of a cycle. If this happens, you can try manually draining it. If, for instance, you have a top-loading washing machine, you should start by turning off the power then finding the drain hose. Once you locate it, you can easily drain the machine. If no water comes out, unclog the drain hose or drain pump. Here is more!

What makes a washing machine stop draining?

This appliance can stop draining due to different reasons. For instance, a kink in its drain hose or a lint clog can prevent a washer from draining as it should. If a small piece of clothing, such as a sock, gets stuck in the drain pump, it can also hinder the machine from draining.

Luckily, you can manually drain the machine safely without creating a big mess. To drain it manually, ensure that you get all the right supplies that you will need for this job. Some of them include a screwdriver, plumber’s snake, pliers, bucket, a shallow container, and some towels.

Draining a top-loading washer

Ensure that the lid of this washing machine is completely closed before you begin draining it. You should also confirm that the lid switch is not defective since this can also prevent a top-loading washing machine from draining. If you have tried pressing the lid down and the machine is still not draining, you should try out the steps below.

Unplug the washing machine

If the top-loading washer is hard wired, ensure that you switch off the right circuit breaker. Doing this enhances safety since it can prevent an electric shock. You can even tape the power cord so that it does not get caught under the washer. To avoid spillage, you can place a few towels around the machine before you begin draining it manually.

Find the drain hose

If the washing machine is next to a wall, pull it to gain access to the drain hose located on the back part. The drain hose is responsible for carrying dirty water out of the washing machine. This washer also contains two other hoses that bring clean cold and hot water in. Turning the blue and red knobs counterclockwise will enable you to cut off the water supply.

Drain the water

Once you have accessed the drain hose, you should now disconnect it from the pipe by wigging it. Get a large bucket and hold the drain hose up in the air to allow the water to flow out. Do this for some time until you drain the top load washer.

Get rid of any clogging in the drain hose

If you lower the drain hose into the bucket and no water or very little water comes out, it shows that the drain hose is clogged. You can release the blockage using the plumber’s snake. You should push the coil’s tip until you get to the blockage. Once you get rid of the blockage, water should flow out of the drain hose freely.

Unclog the drain pump

Sometimes, a top-loading washing machine can fail to drain due to a clog in the drain pump. If the drain pump of your appliance is located underneath it, you may have to tilt the appliance forward so that you can access it. Use a pair of pliers to squeeze the spring clamps. You should get rid of any form of clogs that you find in the drain pump using the needle-nosed pliers. Once you do this, you can reattach the hoses.

Draining a front loading washing machine

If you have a front loading washer, you should first switch off the power button before you start draining it. Once you do this, you should follow the steps below.

Find the drain pump filter

Some of the front load washing machines have one drain pump filter, which gets rid of excess water and filters debris. Others come with a drain hose and a separate drain pump filter. You can find the drain pump filter of this machine by unscrewing the front panel.

Drain the water

If the front load washer has only a drain pump filter, you should place a container under the machine and a towel on the ground to drain it. Placing a shallow container below the filter can catch the standing water. Turning the knob of this filter counterclockwise will remove the filter and allow water to start spilling out.

Clean the filter

Once you drain the front load washer, you should manually get rid of any solid material that may have accumulated on the filter. Use a soft-bristled brush to achieve this, then rinse the filter with some warm water.

Here is a summary of how to manually drain a washing machine

Top loading washing machine
Front-loading washer
Unplug the machine
Turn off the power and duct tape the cord
Find the drain hose
Find the drain pump filter
Drain the machine by holding the drain hose up in the air over a bucket
Drain the water by turning the knob of the filter
Unclog the drain hose/drain pump
Clean the filter


A washing machine requires a drain line and pump for it to drain water properly. If the appliance is not draining, you can manually drain it. Follow the steps above based on the type of washing machine you are using.


When should I call a professional?

If you have tried unclogging the drain pump filter or drain pump hose and still can’t drain the washing machine, consider calling a professional.

Can using the wrong amount of detergent cause draining problems in a washing machine?

Yes. Using too much detergent can increase buildup in the machine, which can, in turn, lead to draining problems.

Dennis Vaughn

Dennis Vaughn is a certified plumber and has been offering apprenticeship experiences to most of his employees for the past 12years. Dennis owns and runs an appliance store, and has a team made of different expertise from electricians, appliance repair individuals, and plumbers. According to him dealing with appliances is one thing but the after-sales services are what makes for the loyal clients. Many people don’t know who to call when their appliances break or become faulty, and a good number are not aware of the varieties of appliances in the market tailored to fit their expectations. The above is what necessitated the creation of the extensive excerpts on the washing machine units, which come complete with directions on the simple home repairs.