My Front Load Washer Is Not Draining

Updated on April 21, 2010

Front Load Washer

front load washer
front load washer

Traditionally found in Europe and Asia, front load washers have become very popular in North America.They are classified as being energy efficient due the fact that they use less water than top load washers and they spin and extract more water enabling for less energy to dry. However they are not without their fare share of technical problems one of which is the problem of not always draining properly.

Usually when a front load washer is not draining properly the problem could be one of two things. Either the user has put in too much soap or the pump is blocked. As stated before front load washers use very little water so care must be taken to use the proper amount of soap. There are special low sudding soaps specifically designed for front load washers. They are marked with an (He) on the label.

Oversudding. You can tell when your washer is oversudded when it goes through the rinse cycles and you still see a lot of soap suds inside. The washer will continue to the end of the cycle without spinning. The door probably will not open either due to the fact that there is still water inside the machine.

Solution. Start the washer again but do not add any more soap. Place the sitting on cold water only. When it gets to the rinse cycle simply pour a cup of fabric softener into the soap compartment so that it goes down into the tub right away. Fabric softener is designed to neutralize the chemicals in the soap in (cold water).

front load washer access panel
front load washer access panel

Pump problem. If the problem is not over sudding and the washer is still not draining then the problem could be a water pump blockage. Front Load washers are different than top load washers in that they generally use an electric pump instead of a belt-driven pump. Electric pumps are less rugged than belt driven pumps therefore it doesn’t take much to jam the impeller inside.

Large items such as sox and underwear cannot pass through the seals of a front load washer but smaller items such as hair pins, buttons, and coins can. Also lint and loose fibers from clothes will also build up inside the pump and eventually jam it. Most manufacturers of front load washers recommend regular pump cleaning for optimum washer performance.

Solution. Most front load washers are designed with a pump access panel in the front of the washer. Unplug the washer before proceeding. Pop open the panel and un-screw the pump cover by hand. You might want to have some rags and a small bucket on hand when you do as the water in the tub will come out when you open the valve. Once you un-screw the pump valve and pulled it out you should see whatever is blocking the impeller inside. Properly clear the inside of all debris then use your finger to make sure the impeller turns freely before re-assembling the valve cover.

On rare occasions the pumps impeller might be damaged or broken off. In this case you will need to replace the entire pump assembly. For situations like that you might want to call an expert. If you still wish to continue yourself I would recommend that you remove the pump and take it with you along with the model # of the washer to your local appliance parts retailer.

For models that do not have a pump access cover you will need to unscrew the front or the back panel of the washer depending on where the pump is situated. Once you locate the pump the procedure is the same in most cases. Some models do not have an unscrew-able valve so you will need to remove the hoses in order to access the blockage inside.

front load washer pump

front load washer pump
front load washer pump

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        reaginsandra 3 months ago

        To heidi- make sure you leave your front loader open any time u are not using it. Also, run vingegar through it each week (this can be done with a load or without) to clean it. Both will get rid pf the smell. Otherwise, no matter how much you wash stuff, the garments will always stink.

      • profile image

        heidi 3 years ago

        My LG front load washer wont drain eater out. All i use is "he" soap so i know its not that. The water has an awful foul smell i cant see any clogs???? Suggestions?

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        Raymonde 5 years ago

        Thank-you for posting these helpful hints,,,, probably just saved myself few hundreds dollars by doing it myself,,, ty ty ty

      • Mac31 profile image

        Mac31 6 years ago from United States

        Have you tried removing the cap on your water drain hose and drained the water out ? I had the same problem with my washer and drained the water and it was like new! If this doesn't help maybe you have something clogged in your pipe leaving your washer outside.