How to Prevent Clogged Washers and Ensure Proper Drainage

Dealing with a clogged washer can be inconvenient. It may lead to a washer that doesn’t drain properly and prevents your laundry from getting cleaned. This can result in water pooling in the tub, unpleasant odors, and potential damage to the machine. Fortunately, you can take several simple steps to clear clogs and ensure proper drainage in your washer.


Usually, a blockage happens when tiny bits clog up the filter in the dirty water drain. Other reasons for drain problems can be:

  • Something wrong with the pipe between the pump and the tank.
  • Stuff blocking the pump.
  • Damage to the drain system, like the hose.
  • Issues with the pump itself.
  • The sewer pipe getting clogged.
clogged washer with clothes

Small objects getting into the filter can cause blockages in the washing machine. These tiny things end up in the drain hole with the dirty water, clogging the drain mechanism and messing up the machine’s usual operation.

Technicians often find various objects in the filter, such as:

  • Coins
  • Buttons
  • Clothing accessory details
  • Decorative items from clothing and bed linen
  • Bra fragments (clasps, metal ‘bones’)
  • Ear sticks and toothpicks
  • Children’s toys
  • Keys, key chains, paper clips, and other pocket contents


If you don’t clean the filter regularly, even one small object can cause problems over time. It builds up and can eventually completely block the drain, stopping the washing machine from getting rid of dirty water.

Besides foreign objects causing blockages, the filter can also get clogged from the regular buildup of lint, feathers, fur, and hair. This kind of blockage happens gradually over a longer period compared to the ones caused by small objects. To prevent this, it’s essential to clear out the accumulated debris from the filter.

How to identify that you have a clogged washing machine?

Identifying a clogged washing machine is essential for addressing the issue promptly and avoiding further complications. Here are some common signs that indicate you may have a clogged washing machine:

Slow Drainage: If you notice that the water is draining slowly from the washing machine after a cycle, it could be a sign of a clog. The water may take longer than usual to empty from the drum or may not drain completely.

Standing Water: After completing a wash cycle, if you find standing water remaining in the drum instead of draining out completely, it indicates a potential clog. This may be accompanied by a foul odor due to stagnant water.

Gurgling or Bubbling Noises: Unusual sounds, such as gurgling or bubbling noises, coming from the drain or the washing machine itself can be a sign of a clog. It indicates that water is having difficulty flowing through the drain pipes.

Water Backup: If you notice water backing up into the sink or other nearby drains when the washing machine is running, it suggests a blockage in the drain system. This can happen when the clog prevents water from flowing out freely.

Foul Odors: A clogged washing machine can create an environment for mold, mildew, and bacteria to thrive. As a result, you may notice unpleasant odors emanating from the washer, even after washing clean clothes.

Excessive Lint or Debris: If you find an excessive amount of lint, debris, or residue in the washer drum or filter, it could be a sign of a clog. This can occur when lint and debris accumulate and hinder the proper flow of water.

Error Codes or Interrupted Cycles: Some modern washing machines are equipped with error code systems that can indicate a clog or drainage issue. If you receive error codes related to drainage or observe interrupted cycles, it may be due to a clog.

If you experience any of these signs, it’s important to address the issue promptly to prevent further complications and ensure the optimal performance of your washing machine. By taking appropriate steps to unclog the machine or seeking professional assistance, you can restore the proper functioning of your washer and avoid potential damage.

Effective Strategies to Prevent Washer Clogs

Proper Loading and Sorting

One of the primary causes of clogged washers is overloading and improper sorting of laundry. To prevent clogs, it’s important to adhere to the recommended load capacity of your washer. Overloading can strain the machine’s drainage system, leading to blockages. Additionally, sort your laundry properly, separating heavy items like jeans and towels from lighter garments. This prevents the heavier items from clumping together and impeding water flow during the wash cycle.
Laundry Repair

Use Mesh Laundry Bags

Delicate items like bras, lingerie, and small socks are notorious for causing washer clogs. To prevent this, place these items in mesh laundry bags before tossing them into the washer. The mesh bags will prevent small articles of clothing from getting trapped in the machine’s drainage system.

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Regular cleaning and maintenance play a vital role in preventing clogs and ensuring proper drainage. Here are some important steps to follow:

Clean the Lint Trap: Most washers have a lint trap located near the agitator or drum. Remove any lint or debris that has accumulated in the trap. This prevents lint from clogging the drain pump and causing drainage problems.
Clean the Drain Pump Filter: Consult your washer’s manual to locate the drain pump filter. It’s recommended to clean this filter every few months or as needed. Remove any lint, coins, or other debris that may have accumulated. A clogged filter can restrict water flow and cause draining issues.
Run Regular Cleaning Cycles: Many washers have a self-cleaning or maintenance cycle. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to run this cycle periodically. It helps remove residue, soap scum, and other buildup that may contribute to clogs and poor drainage.

Use High-Quality Detergents

Using low-quality or excessive amounts of detergent can lead to soap buildup in your washer. This residue can accumulate in the drainage system, causing clogs. To prevent this, opt for high-quality detergents that are specifically formulated for use in high-efficiency (HE) washers. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding the appropriate amount of detergent to use for each load.

Inspect and Clean the Drain Hose

The drain hose is responsible for carrying water out of the washer and into your home’s plumbing system. Over time, the drain hose can become kinked, twisted, or clogged, leading to poor drainage. Regularly inspect the hose for any signs of damage, such as cracks or blockages. If necessary, remove the hose and clean it thoroughly to remove any debris or buildup.

Seek Professional Assistance

appliance repair technician
If you’ve followed all the preventive measures mentioned above and your washer is still not draining properly, it may be time to seek professional assistance. A trained technician can diagnose the underlying issue, such as a faulty drain pump or a clogged drain line, and provide the necessary repairs or replacements. Attempting complex repairs without proper knowledge can result in further damage to the machine, so it’s best to leave it to the experts.
By following these preventive strategies, you can significantly reduce the risk of clogs in your washer and maintain its efficient performance. Proper loading, regular cleaning and maintenance, using appropriate detergents, protecting small items, and avoiding foreign objects are all essential steps in preventing clogs. With a little extra care and attention, you can enjoy hassle-free laundry routines and a well-functioning washer.
question mark

What will happen if you will not unclog your washer?

If you do not unclog your washer, several issues can arise, impacting its performance and potentially leading to more serious problems. Here are some of the consequences of not addressing a clogged washer:

Poor Cleaning Results: A clogged washer may not be able to effectively clean your clothes. The water flow can be restricted, preventing proper agitation and rinsing. As a result, your clothes may not come out as clean as they should be.

Foul Odors: Clogs in the washer can create stagnant water and moisture, leading to the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria. This can result in unpleasant odors emanating from your washer and transferring onto your clothes.

Drainage Issues: A clogged washer drain can cause water to back up, leading to slow or incomplete drainage. This can result in standing water in the drum, causing your clothes to remain soaking wet even after the spin cycle. Improper drainage can also cause damage to the washer’s components. Overflows and Leaks: When a washer drain is clogged, excess water may overflow from the drum, causing leaks and potential water damage to your laundry area or the surrounding floors. This can lead to costly repairs and the need for professional assistance.

Damage to Washer Components: Persistent clogs can put a strain on the washer’s internal components, such as the pump, hoses, and motor. Over time, this can lead to premature wear and tear, reducing the lifespan of your washer and requiring expensive repairs or replacement.

Increased Energy and Water Consumption: A clogged washer may need to run longer cycles or repeat washing cycles to compensate for poor cleaning results. This can result in higher energy and water consumption, leading to increased utility bills.

Risk of Malfunction or Breakdown: Neglecting to unclog your washer can lead to more severe issues, including damage to the motor, control board, or other vital parts of the appliance. In extreme cases, the washer may malfunction or stop working altogether, requiring professional repair or replacement.

To avoid these complications, it’s important to address any signs of a clogged washer promptly. Regular maintenance, proper cleaning, and taking preventive measures can help keep your washer in optimal condition and ensure efficient and trouble-free laundry routines.

Simple DIY Steps To Unclog Your Washer:

While it’s always recommended to consult a professional for complex issues, there are some DIY steps you can take to attempt unclogging your washer. Here’s a guide to help you address a clogged washer:

  1. Turn off the Washer: Before starting any troubleshooting or cleaning, ensure that the washer is completely turned off and unplugged to prevent any accidents or injuries.

  2. Check the Drain Hose: Start by inspecting the drain hose for any kinks, twists, or blockages. Straighten the hose if necessary and remove any visible debris or lint. Ensure that the hose is securely connected to both the washer and the drain outlet.

  3. Clear the Filter: Many washing machines have a filter located near the bottom front panel. Consult the user manual to locate the filter and remove it. Clean the filter by rinsing it under running water to remove any trapped debris. Once clean, reinstall the filter.

  4. Vinegar and Baking Soda: Create a solution by mixing equal parts of vinegar and baking soda. Pour the mixture into the detergent dispenser or directly into the drum. Run a hot water cycle to allow the solution to work through the drain system, helping to dissolve any residue or buildup.

  5. Run a Cleaning Cycle: Some washing machines have a self-cleaning or maintenance cycle. If available, run this cycle as it uses high temperatures and specific cleaning agents to break down and remove any clogs or buildup in the washer.

  6. Check Other Components: Inspect other components like the pump or drain hose for any obstructions or damage. If you notice any issues, it’s best to contact a professional for further assistance.


Technician Advice For Clogged Washer

Keeping your washer in good shape is key for easy laundry. One common issue is a clogged washer, causing cleaning and drainage problems.

To make your washing machine run smoothly:

  1. Check pockets for small items before washing.

  2. Use mesh bags to prevent foreign items from getting into the drain.

  3. Fasten zippers and buttons.

Don’t wait until your washer needs emergency help. Regularly clean the filter and drain hose

technician leaning on washer
appliance repair information

Fun Fact

Although people have been washing their clothes for about two hundred years it is only at 1691, the first English patent in the category of washing machines was approved.
As early as 1904, newspapers advertised and debated mechanical washing machines.  The invention of the electric washer has been mistakenly attributed to Alva J. Fisher. But US Patent Office shows at least one patent issued before Fisher’s US patent number . The “inventor” of the electric washing machine remains unknown.

If your washer breaks contacting a professional appliance repair service like ARNI Services is important if you have any problems with your washer. We have the experience, expertise, and tools necessary to diagnose and fix the problem quickly and efficiently. Call Us at ARNI Services Appliance Repair we will find the issue and will fix your broken washer.

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If your are concerned with your appliances performance, don’t hesitate to contact our professionals at ARNI Services,  Appliance Repair for a full diagnose and repair service.

If your are concerned with your appliances performance, don’t hesitate to contact our professionals at ARNI Services –  Appliance Repair for a full diagnose and repair service – you can’t put a price tag on peace of mind.