How do I know if my washer drain hose is clogged?

A clogged washer drain hose is a common issue that can cause your washing machine to overflow or back up with water. There are a few signs that indicate your drain hose may be blocked and needs to be cleaned out or replaced:

  • Water pools around the washer after running a load
  • The washer doesn’t fully drain and clothes remain wet after the cycle
  • You hear gurgling noises coming from the drain during the spin cycle
  • A “drain blockage” error message appears
  • The washer is slow to fill as water backs up the hose
  • Excess suds or softener dispensing issues occur from water not draining properly

If you suspect your washer drain hose is clogged, the first step is to remove the hose and check for blockages. This flexible rubber or corrugated plastic hose connects your washer to a standpipe, laundry sink, or drain pipe. Follow the steps below to inspect your hose:

Steps to Check for Clogs in a Washer Drain Hose

  1. Unplug the washing machine from the power source.
  2. Turn off the water supply valves behind the washer.
  3. Disconnect the drain hose from the washer outlet port. This is usually located at the bottom rear of the machine.
  4. Disconnect the hose from the drain pipe, laundry sink, or standpipe it runs to.
  5. Check for any kinks, clogs, or blockages in the hose. Examine the entire length.
  6. Run water through the hose to flush out any built-up debris.
  7. Reconnect the hose and any previously removed parts once clear.
  8. Plug in and turn on the washer to test drainage.

Look for any spots where the water flow is restricted. Clogs typically occur at the connection points, low spots where sediment collects, or areas where the hose is kinked. If the hose appears clear, the clog may be in the standpipe or branch drain line the hose runs to. Use a small flexible snake to clear blockages and twist the hose to remove any kinks. Replace old hoses that are cracked or deteriorated. Be sure all connections are secure.

Causes of Clogged Washer Drain Hoses

There are a few common causes of clogged washer drain hoses:

  • Detergent buildup – Excess detergent can leave behind a sticky residue that sticks to the walls of the drain hose.
  • Fabric lint – Lint can accumulate over time and restrict water flow through the hose.
  • Grease and grime – If the drain hose is near the kitchen, greasy residues can enter the hose and cause blockages.
  • Hard water deposits – Mineral deposits from hard water can slowly build up and clog the hose.
  • Kinked hose – A tight bend or kink in the drain hose can obstruct water flow.
  • Pinched hose – If the hose is compressed between the washer and wall for example, it can become pinched closed.
  • Small objects – Socks, coins, buttons and other items can fall into the hose and get stuck.

To prevent future clogs, be mindful of the following tips:

  • Use the correct amount of HE (high-efficiency) detergent since excess suds can clog hoses.
  • Try not to overstuff loads to reduce lint production.
  • Periodically inspect the hose for obstructions.
  • Avoid kinking the drain hose when pushing the washer into place.
  • Rinse out the hose with hot water if you notice sluggish drainage.
  • Replace older rubber hoses, which tend to collect debris and mineral deposits.

How to Clean a Clogged Washer Drain Hose

If you find a clog in your washer drain hose, here are some ways to clean it out:

Use a Drain Snake

Insert a small flexible drain snake into the hose and rotate it while pushing to drive through the clog. This is effective for dislodging built-up sediment, grease, lint and other debris plugging the line.

Flush with Boiling Water

Boil a pot of water and carefully pour it down the drain hose to wash away any stubborn soap scum or loosen compacted lint. This can help clear minor blockages.

Clean with Vinegar

Mix 1 cup white vinegar with 1 gallon of hot water. Place the drain hose in a bucket and pour the vinegar solution into the hose. Let it sit for 15 minutes before flushing with clean water. The acidic vinegar dissolves detergent buildup.

Use a Wire Coat Hanger

Straighten out a metal wire coat hanger and bend a small hook on one end. Insert it into the hose and maneuver it back and forth to pull out lint, hair and other debris. Be careful not to puncture the hose with the wire.

Replace the Hose

For extensive clogs, a deteriorated hose with cracks or holes, or if repeated attempts to clear a clogged hose fail – replacement is the best option. Install a new drain hose of the same length and diameter as the old one.

Regularly inspecting and maintaining your washer drain hose can prevent annoying clogs. Follow the troubleshooting steps outlined to check for obstructions and use one of the cleaning methods to clear a blocked hose. Replace severely clogged or damaged hoses right away so your washer can drain properly.

When to Call a Professional for Drain Hose Issues

In some instances, it’s best to contact an appliance repair technician to address a clogged or faulty drain hose:

  • The hose has cracked or ruptured and is leaking water.
  • You are unable to disconnect the hose from the washer or drain pipe.
  • Drainage issues persist after thoroughly cleaning the hose.
  • The clog seems to be located behind the washer in internal hoses or pump components.
  • There are issues with the drain pump or other washer parts.
  • The washer drain is connected to a sink trap you cannot remove.
  • You keep finding objects like socks and coins blocking the hose.

An experienced technician can use specialized drain snakes and tools to unclog hoses and diagnose any other underlying problems. They can also properly detach hoses, remove the washer to access components, and safely clean out sink traps.

Hiring a professional avoids makeshift repairs that may result in leaks or damage. It also ensures the washer drain system functions optimally again.

Troubleshooting Washer Drain Problems

If unclogging the drain hose does not solve the issue, there are a few other things to check for washer drainage problems:

Inspect the Standpipe

The standpipe the hose empties into may itself be clogged. Disconnect the hose and examine the standpipe for obstructions. Use a plumber’s snake to clear out any built-up sediment or debris from the pipe.

Clear Out the Sink Trap

If the washer drain hose connects to a laundry sink, the P-trap underneath may be clogged. Disconnect the trap and clean out any trapped lint or gunk so water can flow freely.

Unclog the Branch Drain Line

The drain line the hose dumps into may be blocked further downstream. Use a drain auger to clear any obstructions from the branch drain line and test water flow.

Check the Drain Pump

Problems with the washer’s drain pump can prevent proper water removal. A technician can check the pump for cracks, worn impellers and any clogs. Replacement may be needed if the pump is defective.

Fix Kinked Internal Hoses

Kinked hoses inside the washing machine cabinet can disrupt drainage. The washer may need to be pulled out to access internal hoses and straighten any tight bends.

Identifying whether the clog is in the washer hose, standpipe, trap, drain line or internal hoses is key to properly fixing drainage problems. Start by checking the external hose itself before moving on to other likely clogged areas.

Preventing Future Washer Drain Clogs

Here are some ways to help prevent clogged washer drain hoses:

  • Inspect hoses periodically for lint buildup or obstructions.
  • Allow washing machine loads to fully drain before removing laundry.
  • Wipe lint and hair off contents before washing.
  • Run an empty rinse cycle once a month to flush hoses.
  • Use a lint filter on your washer’s water outlet.
  • Follow detergent amounts recommended on the label.
  • Clean the washing machine with affresh or bleach monthly.
  • Avoid overstuffing the washer drum.
  • Replace old rubber drain hoses every 5 years.
  • Position drain hose to avoid kinks and sags.

Taking preventive measures can reduce the need for repairs down the road and extend the lifetime of your washing machine. But even with proper maintenance, drain clogs sometime still occur. Now you know how to check for and clear obstructions in the washer drain hose when problems arise.

Frequently Asked Questions About Washer Drain Hoses

Why does my washer drain slowly?

A slow draining washing machine is commonly caused by a partially clogged drain hose. Detergent buildup, lint, sediment and other debris can gradually obstruct the hose. A kinked hose, clogged standpipe or blocked drain line can also prevent proper drainage.

Where does the drain hose on a washing machine go?

The washer drain hose is typically connected to a standpipe, laundry tub, or sink drain pipe. This allows water pumped out during the wash and rinse cycles to empty into the main home drainage system. Proper installation is key to prevent backflow.

Can I replace my washer drain hose myself?

Yes, the drain hose on most washing machines can be easily replaced by the owner. Turn off power, disconnect the old hose, install a new hose of the same length and diameter, and reconnect it properly before testing for leaks. Consult manuals for exact steps.

Why is my washer not spinning or draining?

When a top load washer won’t spin or drain, a clogged or kinked drain hose is often the culprit. But other potential causes include a defective drain pump, bad timer, tripped lid switch or issues with the motor. Diagnosing the specific cause determines the proper repair.

Why is there lint or sludge in my washer drain hose?

Friction from tumbling laundry produces lint that can accumulate over time and obstruct the drain hose. Sludge is usually residue from detergent and soils that coat the hose interior. Regular cleaning and drain hose maintenance can prevent excessive buildup.

Key Takeaways

  • Check for standing water, slow drainage or error codes if you suspect a clogged washer drain hose.
  • Disconnect the hose and inspect it thoroughly for any kinks, cracks or obstructions.
  • Use drain snakes, boiling water or vinegar to clear out any lint, soap scum or debris clogging the hose.
  • Replace old hoses that are deteriorated and maintain them to prevent repeat clogs.
  • If other drain components like the standpipe or pump are clogged, call in a technician.
  • Prevent clogs by monthly cleaning washers, using lint filters and avoiding over-sudsing.

The Bottom Line

A clogged drain hose is one of the most common causes of washer drainage problems. By inspecting the hose and using specialized cleaning methods, you can often clear out the obstruction yourself without needing professional service. But for complicated drain clogs beyond the hose itself, don’t hesitate to call in an experienced technician. Implementing preventive maintenance and care for your washing machine drain system will help minimize annoying clogs and keep your washer functioning smoothly.