How to Drain a Washing Machine That Won’t Empty

Washing machine won't drain blockage example

Is your washing machine not pumping water out?

Although there are hundreds different brands and models of washing machines on the market today, the most common model in New Zealand would be the Fisher & Paykel Smart Drive. The most common problem our customers experience is when the washing machine gets to the rinse cycle or the end cycle and won’t spin out because the bowl is still half full of water.

Firstly, prevention is better than the cure. Always remove all items from clothing pockets before you add them to the wash.

Often this is due to a pump blockage or because the pump has actually burnt out or overheated. In that case the best solution is to call the Refrsh Workshop for our Appliance Repair service.

Another common reason is due to a blockage by a foreign object, stopping the waste pump from emptying the machine.

How to unblock your washing machine waste pump

Here is a simple step by step guide on how to check if that lost hair clip, stray coin or lint has lodged in your waste pump, preventing the pump impeller from spinning. Generally removal of foreign objects will allow your washing machine to drain correctly and proceed to the next cycle.

SAFETY FIRST! The first step below is the most important of all the steps. This cannot be stressed enough!

  1. UNPLUG THE MACHINE FROM THE POWER SUPPLY, and turn off the washing machine fill taps at the sink.
  2. Remove the fabric softener dispenser from the top of the agitator.
  3. Insert your hand down the middle of the agitator and undo (anticlockwise) the plastic wing nut that is holding it in place, and remove the agitator from the washing machine.
  4. Using a small bowl, empty as much water as possible into your laundry sink. When you have emptied it as much as possible, pull the washing out from the wall and tilt it on an angle, leaning it against the wall. Then scoop as much remaining water that you can from the back of the bowl. (This is an important step to minimise the amount of water that will flow out when you remove the pump). Having old towels handy will prevent possible flooding.
  5. Using a torch, lay down on the floor and at the front of the machine underneath you will see the waste pump (it has a black plastic fan attached to an electric motor).
  6. Place a bowl directly under the pump with a towel to catch the small amount of water that will drain out (in step 8).
  7. Unplug the two small plugs from the pump by gently pulling them outwards, noting where they go. Commonly, one is white and brown, and the other is a green/yellow earth wire.
  8. Located on the metal plate that the pump is locked into is a white crescent-shaped locking tab. You need to hold this out of the way whilst turning the whole pump anti-clockwise to remove it from the metal plate.How to Drain A Washing Machine Pump - Dismantle It
  9. Place your finger carefully up the hole where the pump has come from, feeling for any obstructions, if you can find nothing obvious, feel for hair clips or cotton threads that have trapped lint, causing the pump to jam:How to Drain A Washing Machine Pump - Unblock It
  10. Dry off any water on the pump housing and plugs if needed, and simply reverse the above procedure to refit the pump. Make sure when refitting the pump you locate it in the metal plate correctly or it will leak on first filling.