How to Drain a Washing Machine

Has your washing machine stopped working mid-cycle and you’re stuck with a washer full of water? Or do you simply want to drain excess water from all parts of the washing machine before storing or moving it?

Either way – it is essential to know how to drain a washing machine to avoid making a mess. Doing so will also help you ensure you don’t damage your washing machine or hurt yourself in the process. If you want to learn how to drain a washing machine, keep reading!

How to Drain a Washing Machine the Right Way

Draining a washing machine is easier than you may have imagined. Take a look at how to drain a washing machine, depending on its mechanism.

Draining a Top-Loading Machine

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to drain a washing machine that features a top-load mechanism. 

  1. Check around the bottom of the washing machine to locate the drainage filter. Most washing machines feature a drainage filter in the front. 
  2. Observe the panel to see if you require any tools to remove it. Most modern panels can be easily unhinged without using any tools. However, if you find that the panel is screwed into place, look for an appropriate screwdriver, but DO NOT remove the panel just yet. 
  3. Move the washing machine away from the wall if it is fixed or placed too close. Make sure there is enough space at the back to tilt the washing machine backward.  
  4. Try to raise the front of the washing machine if possible. Otherwise, you may have to use a very shallow dish that will fill up quickly since the drainage filter is located at the bottom. 
  5. Lift one side to slide a brick or wooden block under the washing machine. Do the same at the other end to elevate the washer. However, if the washer is too heavy, it is better to skip this step. 
  6. Lay a towel on the floor, right in front of the panel. Place a shallow dish, plastic tub, or any other container directly below the panel on the towel.  
  7. Unhinge (or unscrew) the panel very slowly. The water will start trickling out into the container as soon as the filter loosens. Do not remove the filter at once, or else the water will come gushing out.   
  8. Let the container fill almost to the top. Tighten the filter in place to stop the water. Remove the container and dispose of the drained water. 
  9. Position the empty container under the filter again. Repeat the process until the water stops trickling. 
  10. Screw or hinge the filter to make sure it is sealed tight. 
  11. If you propped the front of your washing machine, lower it to the ground level by removing the bricks or wooden blocks. 
  12. Place a shallower dish under the filter and unhinge it again to finish draining.   

Draining a Front-Loading Machine

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to drain a washing machine that features a front-load mechanism. 

  1. If the washing machine is fixed into the wall, move the washing machine away from the wall. In case it is too heavy to move, use a pitcher to empty some of the water from the washer into a bucket until you can move the washing machine around. 
  2. Disengage the drain hose from the drainage pipe inside the wall. Skip this step if the drainage pipe is not fixed into the wall. 
  3. Keep the open end of the hose raised high as you remove it. Be prepared for water to rush out of the hose as soon as you lower it. 
  4. To avoid spills, slowly lower the hose into a bucket or over a floor drain. The water will pump out quickly, so keep an eye on the water level if you use a bucket. You may have to drain the bucket a few times before all the water is removed.   
  5. Once the water stops draining into the bucket, place the hose’s open end into a water bottle, and lower it to the ground level. Doing so will help drain the last of the water. You can use a funnel to avoid spilling the water, especially if the hose is too big to fit into the bottle’s mouth.    

Tips and Tricks

Now that you know how to drain a washing machine, let’s take a look at some tried and tested tips that will make the process easier and safer!

  • Safety First!

Whether you have a top-loading or front-loading washing machine, you must prioritize safety. The first thing you need to do is unplug the washing machine even if it has stopped working altogether. In case the washer is hardwired into the electrical system, it is best to switch the appropriate circuit breaker.

  • Keep Extra Towels at Hand

Next, grab some towels and keep them at hand to make sure you are prepared in case you spill some water. Keep in mind that draining a washing machine is not a very messy or stressful project. However, it’s best to be prepared for everything.

  • Read the User Manual

It is advisable to read the user manual before you start draining your washing machine. The draining methods discussed above are pretty standard. However, it is always good to check out the user manual to find out model-specific instructions.

The Bottom Line

Draining a washing machine may seem daunting at first. In reality, it is an uncomplicated process that will not take more than just a few minutes. Plus, if you do it right, you can drain your washing machine without spilling any soapy water on the floor or carpet.

However, make sure to prioritize your safety and be super careful while moving the machine. Once the machine is empty, take the time to figure out what caused the drainage issue or call a professional!


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