How to Know if my Washing Machine Drain is Clogged


Washing machines are one of the most time-efficient and convenient inventions of the modern age. 

The reduction of what would once have constituted hours of manual labor to a quick, hands-free washing process is often taken for granted these days, but most of us simply wouldn’t know how to live without our washing machines. 

Unfortunately, many people end up finding out what life without a functioning washing machine is like on a daily basis due to the issue of clogged drains. 

A clogged washing machine drain can wreak havoc on your laundry routine.

Luckily, the causes are usually easy to fix, and there are several simple steps you can take towards preventing this issue, all of which will be covered in this article. 

How to Know if my Washing Machine Drain Hose is Clogged?

If your washing machine drain hose has become clogged, you’re likely to become aware of it pretty quickly. 

The surest and most obvious sign that your washing machine’s drain hose is clogged is if you notice that the water in your machine isn’t draining away properly.

Many people first notice this after putting their laundry on the spin cycle and realizing that it’s still soaking wet at the end of the timer. 

Usually, the culprit is either a buildup of fibers from clothes getting trapped in the hose or drain filter, preventing the water from draining fully. 

If the blockage has been allowed to remain for some time, you may start to notice an unpleasant smell coming from your machine.

This is the result of residual water becoming trapped due to the blockage, which can lead to an accumulation of bacteria and even mold. 

So, if you notice that your washing machine isn’t draining water efficiently or has started to smell bad, you may be dealing with a clogged drain hose. 

How do I Stop my Washing Machine Drain from Clogging?

A clogged washing machine drain is probably one of the last things you want to be dealing with when you’re trying to get some laundry done after a hard day at work.

However, the good news is, there are a few easy steps you can take to stop this from happening. 

One of the easiest preventative measures for drain pipe blockages in washing machines is installing a lint catcher at the mouth of the pipe. 

Lint catchers, like these highly-rated Lint Trap Snares from SUNHE, are size-adjustable to fit inside the openings of most washing machine hoses.

Once inserted into the hose, these lint traps work by catching any lint that comes out of the drum of the machine in their rust-proof, stainless steel coils.

They’re easily removable, and since they’re so budget-friendly and come in large packs, you can immediately replace the used snare with a new one. 

If you either can’t or don’t want to use a lint catcher for whatever reason, your other option is regular and thorough cleaning. 

How do I Clean my Washing Machine Drain Pipe?

If your washing machine drain pipe is clogged, you’ll need to give it a thorough cleaning. If you don’t know how to do this, don’t worry – that’s what we’re here for!

Since a washing machine is an electrical appliance, the first thing you’ll need to do is unplug it.

This is crucial for your own safety, so don’t skip this step.

Also, remember to put the plug somewhere high off the floor (like on top of the machine) so that any water that spills out won’t damage it. 

Next, position yourself behind the machine and remove the plate from the back of the unit.

You’ll probably need a screwdriver for this part since most plates are secured using screws. If your machine’s hoses are not covered by a plate, ignore this step. 

Now that you have your hoses exposed, you’ll need to work out which one is the drain hose. This typically isn’t too difficult since the drain hose is almost always the largest one. 

Where the drain hose connects to the drain pump, you’ll encounter a clasp. This is what attaches the hose to the pump.

Different clasps can be fastened with screws or another locking mechanism. Depending on what machine you have, you’ll need either a wrench or a screwdriver to unlock the clasp. 

The other end of the hose should be attached to another pipe, which you’ll need to disconnect as well. 

(Pro tip: keep a bucket on hand to catch any water that comes out of the hose). 

At this point, you have two options. You can either use a drain auger, commonly known as a drain snake (like the 5 in 1 Sink Snake Cleaner Drain Auger), to unblock the hose manually. 

Alternatively, you could flush the hose into a bucket using a specialized washing machine drain cleaning solution. 

What is the Best Drain Cleaner for my Washing Machine Drain?

If you don’t want to rely entirely on a manual drain snake for cleaning purposes, you’ll need a high-quality cleaning solution. 

Our top recommendation would be the Xion Lab Industrial-Strength Drain Opener Liquid.

While not specifically manufactured for the purpose of cleaning washing machine drains, this cleaning solution works a treat on blocked drains of any kind. 

The formula is eco-friendly, non-toxic, non-corrosive, and odorless, so you won’t have to worry about it harming the components inside your washing machine or making your washer smell of chemicals for weeks. 

The solution needs between 6 and 8 hours to take effect, so you won’t be able to use your washer during this time. However, the results are much cleaner than you’d be able to achieve with a drain auger alone.

Once you’ve left the product to sit in your drain pipe for the recommended length of time, flush the hose with hot water, and the job is done!

Final Thoughts 

If you’ve made it to the end of this article, congratulations! You’re now a competent washing machine drain pipe unblocker! 

Remember – unplug your washing machine before attempting any type of unblocking and make sure you have a bucket in place to catch any trapped water. 

You can find our recommended drain auger here and our first-choice drain cleaner via this link

Good luck!

Related washing machine repair tips:

How do I know if my washing machine drain is blocked?

2 thoughts on “How to Know if my Washing Machine Drain is Clogged”

  1. Will small pieces of fabric 5 inch by 5 inch (diy baby wipes) clog a washing machine? I’d like to wash them loose with towels. Thank you.

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