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How to Clean the Drain Pump Filter on Your Front-Loading Washing Machine

Author:

Tom Lohr is an avid home DIY enthusiast. He prefers to spend the money he saves on new tools and gardening supplies.

Behold, the marvelous LG washing machine

Behold, the marvelous LG washing machine

Your Washing Machine Loves You, Love it Back

At some point in modern history, major home appliances became ghastly expensive. Maybe they are better than before? Probably, bells and whistles and the king of useless functions, appliance online connectivity, drove up the price? I have no idea. But what I do know is that I have bought automobiles that cost less than the last washing machine I purchased.

To be fair, there have been some improvements. Direct drive motors prevent the need for drive belts (that often break), and the front loaders supposedly hold more laundry, meaning fewer loads. Frankly, I don't see anything that justifies that latest and greatest model costing more than the GDP of some small nations. I do get a message on my TV now that lets me know when my washer is finished, a feature I find more annoying than helpful.

With the investment required to get a decent washing machine set up to keep your clothes smelling fresh, you want to take care of it. No matter what you do, your washer will eventually need replacing, meaning another hefty sum you have to shell out. It is in your, and your washer's, best interest to keep it running as long as possible.

Appliance longevity means performing the required routine maintenance. You do it for your car (don't you?), why wouldn't you do it for your washer? Fortunately, there is little required maintenance that you need to actually do, but your washing machine's owner manual (you have read it haven't you?) will guide you as to what needs done when.

An oft-overlooked or unknown required maintenance service is cleaning the drain pump filter. This keeps lots of crap out of your drain pump. If it gets clogged, your drain pump has to work harder, meaning it will fail sooner and result in a very costly repair. If you aren't cleaning your machine's drain pump filter regularly, now is a good time to start.

Below is the procedure for cleaning out the drain pump filter for a newer LG washing machine. Most modern front loaders will be similar.

Access panel near bottom of the front of the machine

Access panel near bottom of the front of the machine

1. Locate the Access Panel

On most machines, there is an access panel somewhere on the front and near the bottom of the machine. You simply pull it open. Inside will be a plugged hose and the exterior end of the filter.

Inside the access panel

Inside the access panel

2. Drain the Filter

The hose is for draining the standing water out of the filter housing. It has a plug in it. Grab a large cup, remove the plug and allow the water to drain from the hose into the cup. There isn't that much water, but it will make a mess if you don't drain it first. Also, it drains slowly—this step could take around 10 minutes.

Draining the filter after the plug has been removed

Draining the filter after the plug has been removed

3. Remove the Filter

While the procedure on your particular model may vary, you typically unscrew the filter and remove it by rotating it counter-clockwise. Make note of any orientation marks on the filter and the filter housing to ensure it will be properly aligned when reinstalling. Note the green marks in the photo.

Try not to puke. That is not a dead mouse in the filter, but it looks like one

Try not to puke. That is not a dead mouse in the filter, but it looks like one

4. Clean the Filter

How nasty your filter is depends greatly on what you have been washing and how long ago you cleaned it out last.

Have never cleaned it out? Pro tip: don't clean it anywhere near mealtime. The muck in the filter will be a combination of lint, hair, soap residue and other unidentifiable slime. Pull what you can out with your fingers, and rinse the rest out with running water.

Same filter 60 seconds later

Same filter 60 seconds later

5. Reinstall the Filter

Simply put the filter back in the way you took it out. If there are any orientation marks, ensure that they are aligned.

Notice the green alignment marks on the filter and filter housing

Notice the green alignment marks on the filter and filter housing

6. IMPORTANT: Replace the Plug in the Drain Hose

Want to know how to make a really wet and nasty mess in your laundry room? Leave the plug out of the drain hose. All of the water from the drain pump won't escape from the hose, but enough will to make you miserable for a few hours. After you replace the plug and secure the hose, close the access panel.

This is the same photo as above, but I know you wanted to see it one more time

This is the same photo as above, but I know you wanted to see it one more time

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Set a reminder on your phone's calendar, or your paper calendar, or tell Alexa to remind you—or at least ensure someone that remembers better than you do to clean the filter regularly. Once a quarter is a good idea. And if your washer seems to be straining to drain in the future, the filter is a good place to look to begin troubleshooting.

I came very close to moving to a place near a river and getting some rocks to beat my clothes on after pricing my latest washing machine. In the end, my disdain for laundry won out and I went the easy route and cashed in my retirement plan to buy one. I'll still be working when I'm 90, but my clothes will smell spectacular.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

Mark Bennis from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom. on April 20, 2021:

A great hub with top tips! This will be very helpful to many I am sure, thank you.

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