Home Improvement

How to Unblock a Washing Machine Waste Pipe

While washing machine drains are intended to handle the byproducts of washing, they have their limitations. If your appliance has been left unmaintained for a long time and you notice that it doesn’t drain as well as it used to, there is a high chance that your washing machine drain is blocked. Learning how to deal with washer drains can help you significantly improve the performance of your home appliance and maintain the state of your washing machine in the long run.

So, if you: 

  • Have noticed a difference in your washing machine draining performance;
  • Suspect that you have a blocked washing machine drain;
  • Wish to know how to deal with it,

Then keep on reading. In this article, we will tell you about the common reasons for the washing machine drain hose clogging up and how to deal with it. 

How do I know if my washing machine drain hose is clogged?

The following signs can point to a blocked washing machine drain: 

  • Error code. The first and the easiest to recognize sign of a clogged hose drain is an error code that appears on your washing machine. Some of the common error codes pointing to a blocked waste pipe problem are E20/E21/C2 (Beko), E18/F18 (Bosch), F05 (Whirlpool, Hotpoint, Indesit), E03 Hoover, OE (LG), F11 (Miele), E21 / E22 (Zanussi), U11 (Panasonic), E20, E21 or C2 (AEG) and E3 (Candy)
  • The appliance doesn’t drain normally or doesn’t drain at all. Have you ever noticed any standing water in the washing machine drum once the cycle is finished? If yes, there is a high chance that your washing machine drain pipe got clogged and the water can’t leave the drum. Very often, if there is a drainage problem, your washing machine door can remain locked until you empty the drum. 
  • Your clothes come out wetter than usual. If the water doesn’t fully leave the machine, it can get absorbed into the just-washed laundry, leaving it wet. Even though it’s quite easy to assume that there is something wrong with the spinning, the problem might actually be in the draining system – a blocked washing machine drain in particular.
  • The appliance produces unusual sounds. When a washing machine starts pumping out water, it makes a distinctive pumping sound. However, if the appliance sounds overworked and the water leaves the drum slower than usual, there is a high chance that something got stuck in the drain tube.
  • Drain overflow. If you notice your washing machine leaking from the back, take a look at the standpipe. Overflows can indicate a blockage not only in the drain hose but in the drain pipe as well. 

What causes a washing machine waste pipe to clog

There are a number of reasons why a washing machine waste pipe can get clogged. The most common are:

  • Soap buildup – When detergent is used in hard water, a slimy soapy residue can form in the pipes. The minerals in tap water, combined with soap, dirt, and other residue can form into a soapy scum substance. This substance, if not removed regularly, can build up over time, obstructing the flow of water;
  • Leftover dryer lint and other fragments – This often happens when items, such as rugs, are being cleaned in the washing machine. Lint can accumulate along the drain hose, especially if the hose already has other particles that restrict the water flow. Once the lint gets trapped, it can mix with the soap scum and become difficult to remove;
  • Hard-to-wash laundry stains – If you have to deal with fatty and oily stains on your clothes often, it will be a good idea to pre-treat them before washing. Not only are they the peskiest stains to remove from clothes, but the grease from the fabric can also increase the risks of clogging the waste tube.
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How to clean a washing machine hose pipe

Time needed: 30 minutes.

Below you’ll find the most convenient and easy to do cleaning method for a blocked washing machine hose. We’ve described everything step-by-step and in detail to make things even easier: 

  1. Prepare your washing machine.

    Switch the power of the appliance and turn off the water supply. Pull the washing machine away from the wall. You need to be able to disconnect the drain hose. 

  2. Locate the hose.

    The drain hose usually looks like a flexible tube that, depending on your setup, can go to a standpipe or connect to a U-shaped trap. More often than not, the hose is attached to the back of the washing machine with clips. 

  3. Remove the hose.

    If the hose is attached to the back, take it off. Next, you need to remove the clamp that holds the hose in place. Bear in mind that depending on the model of a washing machine, the hose might be held by more than one clamp. To locate them, have a look at the manufacturer’s manual. Using a pair of pliers, release the grip of the clamps and pull the hose out of the washing machine.

  4. Clean out the blockage.

    Run hot water through the hose for a minute. If the blockage is not severe, hot water should loosen and move all the residue. If the residue remains in the hose, pour ½ cup of baking soda and follow it with ½ cup of vinegar. After 10 minutes, pour hot water again or until all the soap lumps are gone.

  5. Reconnect the hose.

    Put the hose back in place the same way you detached it.

Snaking the drain

Snake is a professional tool that is used by plumbers to dislodge clogs in plumbing fixtures. This slender and flexible tool is often used to break up the hard clogs that no other cleaning method can clear. While the auger rotates, it breaks the pieces that stop the water flow and also scrapes off any minerals and oil stuck to the walls of the hose. To clean your drain hose with a plumber’s snake, you need to:

  1. Disconnect the drain hose from the washer.
    Following your manufacturer’s manual, remove the waste hose. Make sure to have a bucket and towels around to gather any water that might come from the hose. 
  2. Run the drain snake through the hose.
    Put the snake down the drain and try to feel any clogs as you go. When the wire meets the blockage, you should feel resistance. Keep rotating the handle, so it grabs the debris that stops the water flow. 
  3. Pull the snake out.
    Once you know that all the clogs and debris are removed, pull the snake out of the waste hose and run some hot water through it. 
  4. Place the waste hose back.
    Attach the drain hose back to the washing machine, making sure that it’s secured and will not leak once the appliance is on. 

Is your appliance still causing you troubles after cleaning?

Entrust this job to the professional plumbers who Fantastic Services works with! The technicians will help you fix any issues your appliance is giving you. They are trained to carry out jobs of any complexity in full compliance with the industry standards. The experts have a flexible schedule, so in case of an emergency, same-day appointments are usually available.

Once you book your washing machine repair appointment, we’ll send a technician to the spot. They will perform full diagnostics of the appliance and identify where the problem comes from. The experts are equipped with all the necessary tools to perform the repair on the spot. If by any chance they don’t have the spare parts on them, a second visit will be arranged. Additionally, the washing machine repair service comes with a 1-year guarantee on parts and labour. So, what are you waiting for? Get your washing machine repair, today!

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  • A washing machine drain hose clog happens when soap scum ends up on the walls of the tube and traps other things, such as lint and grease;
  • Signs, like drainage error codes, excess water in the drum, locked door or unusual sounds, should give you a hint that there is a blockage in your washing machine’s waste hose;
  • To unblock your drain hose, pour some hot water through it. For more stubborn lumps, use a ½ cup of baking soda and ½ of vinegar to dissolve them;
  • If the residue is stubborn, it can be cleaned with a plumber’s snake.


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Image source: Shutterstock/monte_a

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