How to Manually Drain a Washing Machine

💧 How to Manually Drain a Washing Machine

Have you got a clogged washing machine that needs to be drained as soon as possible?

Instead of waiting for someone to fix it for you, here’s some advice on how you can drain your machine yourself.

Don’t worry if you’re a beginner because we’ll explain everything clearly so that anyone can understand.

So, here’s our guide on how you can drain a washing machine manually, presented in easy-to-follow steps.

💧 What Can Cause a Clogged Drain?

plumber repairing a washing machine

There are a few ways problems with your drain pump and the internal components of your machine can lead to a clogged drain.

Most issues come from things getting stuck in the drain pump.

Whether it’s a buildup of lint or cotton, or even a full article of clothing, your washing can quickly cause a drain pump clog that can take ages to drain properly.

Problems with your drain pipe or drain pump filter can also cause clogging.

A simple dent in your drain pipe can be enough to stop a normal water drain.

Finally, a defective lid switch could be causing problems.

In many machines, the lid switch must lock to let the washing machine drain.

Ensure the lid switch is functional and in place before moving on to the next steps.

💧 Top-Loading Washing Machine vs. Front-Loading Machine

How to Manually Drain a Washing Machine: woman with front loading washing machine

The strategy that you use to drain a washing machine depends on what kind of machine you have.

As the names suggest, top-loading washing machines are filled from the top, whereas front-loading machines are loaded from the front.

Though this may seem obvious, but there’s a very important consequence of this design that needs to be addressed.

Most front-loading machines drain from the bottom-right corner of the machine, while a front-load washer typically drains from the back.

This changes how the machines drain, so you’ll need to check your machine to see what type you have before continuing.

You may also have to tip your machine forward or your machine backward to access the drain pump if you have a top-loading washing machine.

🛑 NOTE: If this is the case, be extremely cautious with the machine because it is very heavy and can cause serious injuries if it falls on you.

💧 Steps to Manually Draining a Washing Machine

plumber with a washing machine

Steps to Manually Draining a Washing Machine

Turn Off The Water Supply

washing machine water connections

To start off, you need to turn off the water supply to prevent drain water from spilling out of the machine while working on it.

To close the shut-off valves, first, locate them near the wall behind the washing machine.

They are typically small levers or handles that control the flow of water to the machine.

Once you have located the shut-off valves, use your fingers or a wrench to turn them clockwise until they are in the “closed” position.

Unplug the Washing Machine From the Wall Outlet

unplugged washing machine

Another safety precaution before we get started.

This will ensure that the machine won’t start running while you are working on it, which could otherwise give you an electric shock.

Place a Large Bucket Underneath the Drain Hose

To catch any water that might leak out, we’re going to place a bucket underneath the drain hose.

The washing machine drain hose is the flexible tube that carries water out of the washing machine when it is drained.

You can find it at the back of a top loading washer or behind an access panel in the bottom right for a front-loading washer.

Next to the drain hose, there will be two water supply hoses: one for hot water and the other for cold water.

To stop any excess water from getting on you while you’re working, you should turn the hot water and cold water hoses off.

Gather a large bucket or tub that is big enough to hold the water that will come out of the drain hose.

For front-load washers, you’ll need to use a shallow container for this step.

This is because there most likely isn’t enough space for a deep container, so only a long, shallow container will actually let you collect enough water.

Once you have your bucket or tub ready, carefully position it directly underneath.

This will ensure the water flows directly into it when the machine is drained.

Take care to empty the bucket or tub periodically while draining, as this will prevent it from overflowing.

Use a Wrench to Loosen the Hose Clamp

Now we need to loosen the hose clamp that secures the drain hose to the washing machine.

The hose clamp is a small, adjustable band that wraps around the drain hose and holds it in place.

The hose clamp can be found on the end of the hose.

Once you’ve located it, use a wrench to loosen the bolt or screw that secures it in place.

This may be difficult, as the hose clamp is typically tightened very securely to prevent the drain hose from coming loose.

Once the hose clamp is loosened, carefully slide it along the length of the drain hose until it falls off.

Carefully Remove the Drain Hose From the Washing Machine

washing machine drain hose compress

Carefully remove the drain hose from the washing machine.

This is a fairly easy step.

Remove the drain hose from the machine and place the end of the hose into the bucket you just got ready earlier.

Take the end of the drain hose, carefully grab it with both hands and gently pull it away from the washing machine.

Be careful not to yank on the hose or tug it too hard, as this could cause it to come out of the machine completely and lead to water spilling everywhere.

Once the drain hose is free from the machine, carefully lower the end of the hose into the bucket.

Make sure that the end of the hose is completely submerged in the bucket before you begin draining water from the washing machine.

Keep the end of the drain hose under the water throughout the draining process, so the water flows smoothly.

Drain the Washing Machine

Plumber cleaning washing machine filter

Now it’s action time. Or rather inaction time.

First, ensure that the drain hose’s end is still submerged in the bucket.

Then, the water should just flow itself into the bucket.

All you have to do now is wait until you’ve completely drained all the standing water from the machine.

As we discussed earlier, emptying the bucket periodically while draining is a very good idea, as this will prevent the bucket from overfilling.

Make sure water isn’t flowing out while you replace the bucket, or you’ll doubtless run into spillage problems!

You should also keep an eye out for build-ups in the drain hose, or you might end up with a clogged drain hose.

Watching the water flow coming from the hose can help you monitor for a potential drain hose clog.

Once all the standing water is gone, you can move on to the next step.

Carefully Reattach the Drain Hose to the Washing Machine and Tighten the Hose Clamp.

Now that all the water is finally drained out of the machine, we’ve got to get everything set again.

To start, we’ll carefully reattach the drain hose to the washing machine and tighten the hose clamp.

To reattach the drain hose, first carefully put the end of the hose back in its original location.

Once it’s in place, carefully slide the hose clamp back over the end of the hose and position it so that it’s secure.

With the hose clamp in place, use a wrench to tighten the bolt or screw that secures it.

Be sure to tighten the hose clamp securely, but avoid tightening it too tightly, as this could damage the hose or the washing machine.

It is important to double-check that the hose is securely attached and the hose clamp is tightened properly to prevent leaks or spills.

Once you’ve checked all this and made sure everything’s ready, There’s only one more step!

Turn the Water Supply Back On and Plug the Washing Machine In.

Washing machine hoses

Once you’ve checked all this and made sure everything’s ready, There’s only one more step!

Turn the water supply back on and plug the washing machine back in.

We’re nearly finished! All you have to do now is turn the water supply back on and plug the washing machine back in.

Check the wall behind the machine for the shut-off valves to turn the water supply back on.

These control the flow of water to the washing machine, so logically you need to have them on for the machine to work.

Use your fingers or a wrench to turn them counter-clockwise until they are in the “open” position.

Next, you’ll obviously need to plug the power cord back into the wall outlet.

Don’t forget to make sure you’ve actually plugged them in, or you might have an embarrassing accident.

Once the water supply is turned on, and the washing machine is plugged in, everything is ready to go.


  • 1 Five Gallon Bucket
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Plumbers Snake or Auger
  • Screwdriver
  • Shallow bucket for Front Loading Machines
  • Manufacturers Manual (If you have one)

Materials: Towels for the mess

💧 Final Thoughts

kid with a cape in laundry room

No more need to fear your dreaded washing machine!

With the use of these steps, you will be able to manually drain a washing machine and put everything back in place again.

However, you may still not be confident in dealing with washing machine clogs.

It’s perfectly reasonable to be uncomfortable working with your electrical system and the many expensive parts of your machine.

Fortunately, Phyxter Home Services is here to help you.

We offer expert plumbing repairs throughout North America for all kinds of plumbing issues and other repairs.

Want to learn more about your home’s plumbing system? Feel free to check out our other plumbing articles.

Related Reading: DIY Guide to 15 Common Plumbing Problems & Solutions

Russell Jones

Russell, a native Australian and VP of Operations at Phyxter Home Services, is also part-owner of Vernon Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Electrical Services. When he's not busy with work projects and renovations, Russell enjoys putting his vast knowledge of home improvement to good use by sharing his tips and tricks.

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