Washing Machine Drain Causing Overflow? (Here’s a Fix)

Overflowing water can be a serious and expensive problem, especially when the source is your washing machine drain. You can typically chalk the problem up to debris, and simply moving the washing machine and cleaning the pipe can save the day. Whether it be identifying the problem or choosing an unclogging method, let’s take a look at what you should do when your washing machine drain overflows.

Washing Machine Drain Overflows By Wall Where Discharge Hose Goes In

No one wants to see water overflowing while doing washing their clothes. The amount of water that is used for a washing cycle is no small amount and the fear that all of that water may end up on your floor is very real. Worry not, however. There is a solution to the problem, and you can avoid any costly or complicated maintenance costs.

If your washing machine drain overflows by the wall where the discharge hose goes in, the problem is likely caused by a buildup of residue and debris which has clogged the drainpipe in the wall behind your washing machine. To fix the problem, all that is required is to move the washing machine away from the wall and apply the method of your choice to unblock the drainpipe.

Don't want to do it yourself?
Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.


How to Fix a Washing Machine Drain Overflow

1. Create Space

The first thing that you will want to do to fix the problem of a washing machine drainage clog is to move the washing machine away from the wall.

The drain behind the wall is where the discharge water goes into and when that drain is clogged water backs up. To access the drain, you will need to create space to work by moving the washing machine.

2. Prep the Area

As you will likely be getting excess water on the floor as you unclog the drain, it is always a good idea to prepare your workspace. Putting a drop cloth onto the floor is a good place to start as that will help you soak up any of the overflow and debris that comes up as you work.

To entirely avoid water spills, using a water pump may also be used. If you choose to use a water pump, however, you will need to have an intake hose running into the clogged drain and an outlet draining elsewhere.

3. Unclogging Methods

There are a few different methods that may work to unclog the drain behind your washing machine.


An auger, also known as a snake, is the most common method used as it is a mechanical device that can physically remove any debris that is blocking the drainage.

There are several different types of augurs that you can use to clear a drainpipe behind a washing machine. Some augurs are hand-operated while others are powered by a drill or similar tool.

  • Hand-Operated Augers are generally lightweight. They are also easier to store when not in use. The main downside with hand-operated augurs is that they require some manual labor to operate them. For some, snaking a drain by hand can prove to be inconvenient and difficult.
  • Machine Operated Augers come in many shapes and sizes and are much easier to use than their hand-operated counterparts. To use a machine operated auger all that is required is that you insert the end of the snake into the drainpipe, begin agitating the snake with the drill or hand motor, and then slowly feed the snake deeper into the drain until the clogged is released.


For some, using chemical agents, such as Drano and other similar products, is the most convenient method. Using chemicals has its limitations when compared with an auger, but for some types of clogs, the right chemical treatment can work wonders.

To use a chemical agent for clearing the washing machine drain, it is always important to read the usage instructions on the bottle thoroughly. Chemicals used to unclog drains are powerful and following the manufacturer’s usage recommendations will help you unclog your drain the safest way possible.

While each product is slightly different in the way it is used, many of them require some waiting time inside of the drain before being rinsed through with water.

Hot Water

‘Home remedies’ that are more natural and earth-focused can also be employed. Using boiling hot water with soap, for example, can work in certain situations. Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide solutions are also sometimes used and have been known to be quite effective.

One thing to remember when using natural methods to clear drains is that the results are not always as long-lasting as they are with other methods. Methods are far cheaper than some of the more effective methods, but you may have to repeat the process more often as well.

The effectiveness of home remedies, however, has a lot to do with the type of blockage that exists in the drain. If the blockage is caused by hair and other tough materials, hot water will do little in terms of a long-term solution. On the other hand, if the blockage is caused by soap and lint buildup, very hot water may very well flush out the drain.

4. Reinsert Washing Machine Hose to Drain

It’s always a good idea to test the drain to make sure that the blockage has, in fact, been removed. Running a test with a small amount of water before running a complete load in your washing machine can save you from getting too much water on your floor.

To test your drain, simply reinsert the washing machine drainage tube into the drain. Then, fill the washing machine tub with some water, set the washing machine to a spin/drain cycle, and let it run.

While the water is draining from the washing machine, observe the drain pipe and listen carefully to see if the problem has been fixed. If the drainage pipe seems clear and if the washing machine water successfully drains with no backup, the problem is likely fixed.

At this point, you can remove the drop cloth back to its normal position.

Don't want to do it yourself?
Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.


Related Questions

How do I unblock a washing machine waste pipe?

There are numerous ways that you can unblock and clogged waste pipe. The first thing that you can try is boiling hot water. Remove the waste pipe and carefully pour boiling water through the pipe. While in many cases hot water can solve any drain problems that you have, some blockages can prove more difficult.

Another option that you have is to use drain-clearing chemicals. Drano is a popular choice but there are other options as well. To use these chemicals, simply pour the chemical into the washing machine drain and wait at least 30 minutes. Once the waiting period has come to an end, pour hot water through the drain to clear it.

Why does my washer back up into the shower?

If your washing machine is backing up into your shower the problem is mostly related to a clog in the drainage system.

When a washing machine is tied to the same drainage pipe as a shower, the shower serves as the path of least resistance for any water stopped by a blockage in the drainage system. To solve the problem, you should locate and clear any blockages in the drain leading to the main drain for the house.

Related Guides

Benjamin Wright

Benjamin is a proud homeowner who loves to write about DIY projects and home improvement projects. Traveling, perfecting his home, and spending time with his family are just a few of the many things that keep him inspired.

Recently Published