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What to Do If Your Washing Machine Drain is Blocked

What to Do If Your Washing Machine Drain is Blocked


Coastal Drains

It can be difficult to know what to do if your washing machine drain is blocked, especially if you have never come across the problem before. Fortunately, our experts have years of experience unblocking drains across a range of different properties. We know what to do to clean out a drain, and can help you find the best method for cleaning your washing machine drain too.

Signs Your Washing Machine Drain is Blocked

The clearest sign that you have a blockage is persistent standing water pooling in your washing machine following cycles. If you don’t have regular drain inspections or maintenance performed, there is a chance the system has become blocked over time due to use. 

What Causes Blockages in Washing Machines?

To understand what causes blockages in washing machines, you have to understand how a washing machine removes water after washing clothes. 

After a cycle, water is removed from the tub using a pump that forces water into a drain hose. This drain hose curves up and out of the machine to meet the standpipe typically located near your hot and cold water supply valves. If everything is working properly, water will move through the hose and into the standpipe. From there, it will eventually be carried to your property’s main sewage line.

If any part of the drainage process malfunctions, overflow from the washing machine’s drainage system is possible. Blockages within the system are most often caused by:

  • Twists or kinks in the drain hose
  • Soap residue buildup
  • Leftover dryer lint and fragments
  • Grease, oils, and other materials on clothing prior to washing

How to Unblock a Washing Machine Drain

There are three recommended methods of unblocking a washing machine drain yourself. These are to use baking soda and vinegar, a chemical drain cleaner, or do it manually. You can also potentially fix the issue by straightening out the washing machine drain hose if it has become twisted.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Method

Baking soda and white vinegar are often highly recommended for unblocking drains of all kinds, and the steps for unblocking a washing machine are straightforward:

  1. Remove the hose from the back of your washing machine.
  2. Using a funnel, pour about a quarter of a cup of baking soda into the pipe.
  3. Empty a full baster of vinegar into the pipe.
  4. Wait for about 15 minutes.
  5. Pour hot water from your kettle onto the mixture to finish clearing the debris.

You can repeat these steps as many times as you need to clear the blockage.

Chemical Drain Cleaner Method

This method is particularly effective, but you should always exercise caution when using chemical drain cleaners. Children and pets should be kept away from them, gloves and safety goggles should be worn, and you should ensure that the room is well-ventilated when the cleaner is in use.

You should also ensure that the cleaner you are using is safe for use on washing machines.

To unblock a washing machine with drain cleaner:

  1. Locate the waste pipe by separating it from the hot and cold pipes (they will normally be colour coded, with red for hot and blue for cold).
  2. Disconnect the pipe and, if it is not completely blocked, try using hot water to flush any debris through first. Be prepared for excess water to flow out when disconnecting the pipe.
  3. If the debris cannot be flushed out, prepare to use the drain cleaner. Follow all the instructions on the bottle carefully when using it.
  4. Wait for the drain cleaner to work, using hot water wherever necessary.
  5. After you have left the cleaner for a suitable amount of time, flush the drain with water again and reattach the pipe.

Manual Method

Getting a clogged drain cleared manually most often means using a drain snake. If you do not have a drain snake, the work can also be done using a coat hanger. This will need to be done carefully, however, as rough work may damage the pipe, and you should use rubber gloves when working.

To do it, you should:

  1. Remove the washing machine drain pipe and catch any water that was sitting in it.
  2. Insert the snake into the outlet pipe.
  3. Push the snake through the pipe, rotating it if you feel resistance coming from blockages.
  4. Continue clearing the blockages and debris, turning the snake while you do, until you reach the end of its length.
  5. Pull the snake out of the drainage pipe and flush it with hot water, before reattaching the pipe to the rest of the appliance.

Unblocking an Outside Drain

Unblocking an outside drain that your washing machine drainage pipe flows to is simple, as the methods we’ve described above often work for outside drains as well as inside ones. There is also a chance that your outside drain is blocked up by leaves, which can be removed manually by hand.

Keeping your outside drain clear of mud, silt, and leaves on a regular basis can help to prevent drainage issues in the future.

Man Unblocking Drain

Do You Have a Blocked Drain?

If you do, we can help. With our 24-hour emergency service, we can send a local engineer to you whenever you need fast, efficient work carried out. We will not charge a call-out fee and all of our services are priced at competitive market rates, so your property and your budget will both be taken care of. Get in touch with us and let us get your drain flowing as it should again.