Why the Washing Machine Does Not Drain

A washing machine fills up with water and moves your clothes around with an agitator, which helps clean your clothes.

Timer/Lid Switch

Repair drainage problems in your washing machine yourself.Repair drainage problems in your washing machine yourself.
When the washing cycle is done, water drains out of the tub before the spin cycle. If your washing machine isn't draining, repair this common issue without the help of a washer repair person to eliminate repair wait times and charges.

The timer controls the wash cycles. If your washing machine is not moving on to the spin cycle, your washing machine won't drain. Your washing machine won't start the spin cycle if the lid is open. Close the lid. Check the lid switch, which lets the control board know that the washing machine lid is closed. Disconnect the washing machine from the power source and remove the main access panel. Test both switches with a multimeter, and see if they have continuity. If not, replace the defective switch.

Motor Coupler

Certain washing machines, especially Whirlpool-made machines, have motor couplers which turn the tub instead of a belt. The coupler is made of plastic and rubber and can break. Unplug the washing machine and remove the main access panel. Examine the motor coupler and see if it is cracked or broken. Replace the coupler since you normally can't fix it.


The pump pushes water out of the tub during the spin cycle. If water doesn't drain from the washing machine, see if the pump is clogged with fabric or lint. The pump can suck up small pieces of clothing, preventing it from doing its job. Scoop out the water from the tub, and unplug the washing machine. Remove the main access panel, and pull out any trapped objects using needle nose pliers. Check the pump pulley. If the pulley is frozen, the pump won't work. See if the pulley turns. If not, get a new one from a washer parts dealer. Replace the pump if any part of it is cracked or broken. You usually can't repair these parts.


The most common reason for your washer not draining is a clogged or kinked drain hose. The drain hose is connected to the back of the washing machine. Straighten the hose if bent. Replace the hose if you can't straighten it or if it's crushed. Remove the hose from the back of the washing machine, and scoop out debris with a plastic utensil. Verify that the standpipe is no more than 96 inches above the floor. Measure how much hose protrudes into the tub. If it's more than 4 inches, remove the excess.

About the Author

Misty Faucheux became a freelance writer in 1998 and has been an editor since 2004. She has written for a variety of websites and blogs, specializing in topics ranging from digital photography to computer systems to digital media. Faucheux received a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Loyola University New Orleans.