My Washer Won't Agitate

Washing machines might stop draining and spinning for different reasons, from a clog to a more complicated problem. To determine why your washer has stopped agitating, start by checking the simplest possibilities and progressing to the more complicated scenarios. You might save yourself a call to a licensed repairman, or you might determine the problem is too complex and decide to call in a specialist.

Determine yourself why a washer won't agitate.
  1. Check the washing machine drain hose for kinks or clogs -- if the water is not draining out, the machine will not spin. Straighten the hose or replace it if it is tangled. If there are no tangles, remove the hose with a screwdriver and inspect it for a clog. Run a smaller hose through the drain hose to push out any clogs. Keep a bucket handy to catch any spills and rags or a mop to clean up any mess. If the water still doesn't drain out the machine, continue to Step 2.
  2. Inspect the lid to make sure it is closing properly. If the lid switch does not click into place correctly, your washing machine will not start. If the lid is simply bent, you should be able to bend it back into the correct shape to allow the switch to work. Otherwise, remove and replace the lid switch according to the manufacturer's instructions. Continue to Step 3 if the lid switch isn't the problem.
  3. Move the washer away from the wall. Remove the panel on the back of the machine, using a screwdriver. Shine a flashlight inside the machine to look for any loose or broken belts. You can replace a washing machine belt yourself if you have replaced a belt on a lawn mower or car. Move on to Step 4 if the machine still isn't agitating.
  4. Check to make sure the machine's pump is getting power, using a voltage meter. Access the pump inside the back of the machine, as you did with the belts. Turn on the washing machine to see if the pump is working, but the machine is not draining. If this is the case, you will have to remove and clean the pump, or replace it. Once you have taken these steps with the pump, try the washing machine again to see if is draining and spinning.
  5. Call a professional if the washing machine still isn't draining. Replace the back panel until the repairman arrives.

Things You Will Need

  • Screwdrivers
  • Small hose
  • Bucket
  • Rags or mop
  • Drain hose
  • Lid switch
  • Flashlight
  • Wrenches
  • Voltage meter


  • Always check the troubleshooting section in your washing machine's user's manual to look for any tips or steps particular to your model.


  • Unplug your washer before touching any electrical components.
  • Protect your eyes with goggles when checking your washer.

About the Author

Based in Orange County, Calif., Herman Cruz has been writing since 2007. His articles have been published in various content platforms and he also has written for Internet entrepreneurs who need assistance with writing sales letters and articles for their businesses. Cruz is pursuing his Bachelor of Arts in integrated composition, improvisation and technology at the University of California in Irvine.

Photo Credits

  • waschmaschine image by Stefan Häuselmann from Fotolia.com