If you use it often enough, you will eventually have to clean your washing machine drain at some point. This is a common maintenance effort.
Soap residue, fabric lint, grease and oil from the clothes you wash, etc. are often the cause of clogs. When this happens, cleaning out the drain pipe is the solution.
The approach you follow will depend on if the clog is partial or full. If it’s a partial clog, water will still flow through albeit slowly. If it is fully clogged, on the other hand, only trickles or no water will flow.
You can clean a washing machine drain using chemicals or manually. Whichever you go for, it is something you can do yourself.
Without further ado, let’s get into the details of how you can get rid of a clog in your washing machine drain.
Methods to Clean a Washing Machine Drain Pipe
Manual Approach – Snaking the Drain
With the right tools, it is pretty straightforward to clean a washing machine drain. The drain will soon start flowing as it should if just follow our process.
- First, detach the drain pipe. In most washing machines such as this bestseller, it is located on the back of the unit. You might need a screwdriver for this but don’t worry, it is not serious work. You should also have a bucket at hand to collect the water will likely flow out once the pipe comes off.
- Insert the snake into the drainpipe. The snake is a plumber’s tool used to loosen clogs in pipes. It consists of a long sturdy metal that goes into the pipe. There’s a handle at the end that you can rotate. As you push the snake further into the pipe, you feel for clogs. Once you encounter one, rotate the handle so the snake can grab the debris, then you can pull it out. Clean off the debris and repeat the process. Do this until you’re certain there are no more clogs. The best way is to let the snake come out of the other end of the pipe.
- Run water through the pipe. This will clean out leftover debris and help you confirm there are no more obstructions in it.
- Reattach the drain pipe. Now that the drain is clear, fix the pipe back on the pumping machine making sure it is properly placed. If not, it could leak when in use. Once done, fill the washing machine with water and let it drain. This will let you confirm if the pipe is well attached or you’d need to realign it.
Alternative Approach – Drain Cleaners
You might not be up for using the manual approach to clean a washing machine drain pipes. If that’s the case, you can try this alternative.
You can use a commercial drain cleaner to clear the clog in your washing machine drain. However, it might not be the best option if the drain is fully clogged.
But if you have a partial clog, this will do just fine. First of all, be careful of the type of drain cleaner you buy. For instance, those that contain sulfuric acid can damage PVC pipes. So, it’s important to know which one you will get.
- Read the drain cleaner directions. These products are often not used in the same way. Some might require the use of hot water so you will have to boil some before you start the process.
- Detach the drain pipe. Depending on the type of washing machine you have, you might just need to pull it out. Whichever one it is, separate the pipe from the machine.
- Pour the drain cleaner into the pipe. If it in tablet form like this Affresh (an Amazon’s choice), use as directed on the label. Drain cleaners work by dissolving the clog in the pipe. So, you have to pour it in. If the product requires you to pour hot water as well, do so. In most cases, the instruction on the label will have you leave it there for a certain amount of time. Set your timer and be patient for the product to do its thing. When the time is up, flush the drain with water to ensure its all clear. Be sure not to exceed the stated time for too long so it does not damage the pipe. The Affresh won’t cause any damage and will even deal with odors.
To clean a washing machine drain pipe regularly is best practice. This is so because clogs form over a period of time. So, if you do any of these processes often, you will probably not have the issue of a clogged drain in the first place.