How to fix a washer that won’t drain

Oh no! All of a sudden the clothes are sopping wet at the end of the wash cycle…Now the wash cycle is failing during the middle of a load!…If you’ve experienced either of these symptoms before with your front-loading washing machine, it’s most likely a clogged drain pump filter. Below, we’ll explain how you can repair your own washer in a few simple steps and avoid a costly visit from the repair man.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a Kenmore, Whirlpool, GE, or other front-loading washing machine, they all seem to experience this over time and when it happens, you might panic for a minute because these washers aren’t cheap! Not to worry though. In our case, we have a Kenmore HE2 front loading washer that we bought new from Sears about 8 years ago. Who knows how many countless number of loads we’ve run through it over the years. But today, it started to give us an error message of F21.

So the first thing we did was check the owners manual – which luckily my wife saves whenever we get a new appliance. It said to check for a “kinked” hose or a clogged drain line, and if that didn’t solve the problem, to call the local Sears Kenmore service location. You guessed it – it didn’t solve the problem. We realized that we’d never actually checked the drain pump trap on the washer and that was the most likely place to start.

With a few quick steps, we were able to pull off the 2 front panels, and locate the drain pump trap. Ours was severely clogged with all kinds of “stuff”, but only took a few minutes to clean out and then put the panels back on. Sure wish all of the home repairs could be this easy!!

Hopefully you’ll find that it’s an easy fix for you too. For step by step instructions on how to repair your own washer, unclog your drain pump filter, and troubleshoot a few additional things along the way, just check out the below video on how to fix your washer that won’t drain. Who knows what you’ll find in yours?!?!


  1. Amy St.Onge July 26, 2017
    • Clint August 1, 2020

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