Our washing machine broke, specifically it stopped draining water. The water has been in there for a few days now and has started to smell. I researched this problem a bit and all possible solutions involve having access to the back of the machine.

Our machine is stuck under a counter, next to a wall on one side and a (broken) dishwasher on the other side. This means I don't know what's in the back or how the drainage looks like/works. Is there any danger in pulling the maching out of the corner, so I can have a look at it

I don't really know what washing machines look like normally, if they have any hard pipes connected in the back or whatever... I pulled it forward 5 or 6 inches but then it started struggling a little, and I really don't want to flood the kitchen...

  • 2
    I had this happen once with a washer that stopped working. What I ended up doing was use my Ridgid Wet/Dry Vac to suck all the water out completely. Then I watered my grass with it. I also had to do this with my dishwasher once. You may want to invest in a Wet/Dry Vac. Apr 9, 2012 at 17:46

4 Answers 4


A washing machine should have

  • One detachable flexible cold water feed of indeterminate length.
  • One detachable flexible hot water feed of indeterminate length.
  • One possibly detachable flexible drain line of indeterminate length.
  • One permanently attached electrical cord of indeterminate length.

Back side of washing machine

So the problem you have now is figuring out how long each of these are,and how to disconnect them. It sounds like you don't have much access to the back of the machine to get a good look, so a mirror attached to a telescoping handle might come in handy here.

Telescoping handle mirror

Once you get a better idea of what's behind the machine, you'll have a better understanding of how to move it.

  • 6
    Great answer Tester. Also look for the water shutoffs with the mirror. Be sure they are turned off before attempting to disconnect any hoses. Apr 6, 2012 at 19:53
  • 3
    2 things to add. When you remove the hot and cold water hoses try to remove them on the washer side. This is where the screen filter are that are on the hose and they should really be cleaned out every time maintenance is done on your machine. The other is never let the drain hose get lower than the pump, or hit the floor. If this happens there is a good chance that the gunky, funky drain water will get on your floor and it is not the easiest thing to clean up.
    – lqlarry
    Apr 7, 2012 at 0:15

A washer typically has three connections:

  • Hot Water Line
  • Cold Water Line
  • Water discharge Line

The hot and cold water lines are definately attached to the machine, much like a garden hose is attached to a spigot. The water discharge line may or may not be permanately attached. Ours slides into a drain pipe.

Either way you will need access to the back. Hopefully they left enough slack in the hoses so it can be pulled out.

But in any event, shut off the water leading to those lines, bail out the washer with buckets and towels. If it doesn't seem like it is moving forward, call a plumber rather than making the situation worse.

The danger here is breaking something (pipe or hose) and then you will have a whole mess of water all over the place.


I assume that you have a top loading machine. Before you do anything try the cycle again. Since it is full of water it probably wont fill up much more with water. Make sure your machine starts the agitating, if it normally happens here. No agitation = bad motor or belt = pump not working. Or bad timer.

You should listen to see if you hear the timer click to indicate a new part of the cycle. If it agitates then your timer is probably OK but I would listen for the click to signify the spinning and the water to pump out. If it spins then it is probably the pump. Motors reverse for the spin cycle (or 30 years ago they did). No spinning could be bad motor or belt. Pump won't work if motor is not turning.

The next thing I would do is drain all that water out with a coffee can or something big, unless you have a siphon. When you get all the water out there is still more, you've only emptied the inner tub so the washer will still be heavier, but probably manageable. Now follow the other answers, they are all good and unhook your machine. KEEP YOUR DRAIN HOSE ABOVE THE MACHINE AND DO NOT REMOVE IT.

Check your belts to see if they are still snug or missing. This can be a problem. It could also be something like a sock in your pump or your pump has gone bad. Inspect the pump and carefully pull the drain hose from it. It will leak that cruddy water I talked about earlier.

I haven't worked on machines in close to 30 years, when I worked for Maytag, so some or all might this might be outdated.

EDIT My front loading has a small drain pump filter behind a little door in the front of it. See if cleaning this will help. You might check out the manual or look it up on line to give you tips about this. Make sure you have something for the water to drain into while you do this. I don't think this will drain all water, just the water between the pump and the dump hose. Maybe this will help. Thanks @BMitch

The way we move them after emptied out was to get a good grip on the washer and tilt it forward with your knees against the front and lean it back until it is barely off the floor and your knees taking the weight. Then you just slide yourself backwards until its out. Since you have a counter to dill with try getting a handtruck, slide it in the middle bottom and pick it up until you can pull the handtruck and the washer at the same time, using the bade and the bottom of the machine.

  • 1
    Good points, so +1, but for this particular question, I think it's front loading since it's under the counter top and next to the dishwasher (I'm also guessing non-US since I've never seen that in the states).
    – BMitch
    Apr 7, 2012 at 12:30

Generally they are connected to the water supply with flexible hoses, as well as the power cable. There should be water shut off valves where the hoses connect to the wall - shut the water off there first. Then disconnect the water hoses and the power cord. At this point you should be able to scoot the machine forward.

This is based on a typical US washer - if you're not in the US the hookup may be different.

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