Repair a Leaking Washing Machine

A leaking washing machine.

Modern appliances offer time-savings and convenience — until they stop working efficiently. Take, for example, a washing machine that begins spewing, dripping, or pouring water on your laundry room floor. This is anything other than timely, favorable, or opportune. Don’t worry though. Your DIY skills can handle it. When your washing machine starts leaking, here’s a guide to help you find the problem and fix it.


Obviously, the first step is to figure out where the leak is coming from. Begin by evaluating when the water comes out of the machine.

Problems During the Fill Cycle

If the leak occurs near the beginning of the cycle, you may have a defective pressure switch. The pressure switch is in charge of telling the machine to stop filling with water. A faulty fill valve can fail to stop the fill at the appropriate time. Watch for the water overflowing the tub at this point.

With either a front-loader or a top-loader, too much laundry detergent or not using a high-efficiency detergent can cause too many bubbles and a mixture that will also overflow.

If the machine is not overfilling but appears to leak during the fill, check the intake hoses that bring water from the faucet to the washing machine. If you see a leak where the hose attaches to a faucet, you may need to remove the hose, apply plumber’s tape to the threads of the faucet head, and reattach the hose. A new washer inside the hose might also fix the problem.

Problems During the Spin Cycle

A washing machine next to a basket of clothes.

Once you’ve made sure the machine is filling correctly, check the seal around the door. In the case of a front-loading machine, these can become dried out, cracked, or caked with grime, causing water to leak out the front. Water can also be forced out the door when the combination of laundry detergent is not correct.

Problems During the Drain Cycle

A laundry machine and a basket of clothes.

Most front-loading washing machines have a removable drain plug or small hose where all the gunk from the washing machine collects. You should clean it out every few months so that it doesn’t clog and back up into the washing machine system. Clean out your trap and then begin a drain cycle to see if the leak has stopped.

Check the drainage hose that comes out the back and attaches to the wall. Run the machine during a drain cycle. You will hear the water rush through the hose. Watch to make sure there are no drips around the drainage area, whether that is a downspout built into the wall or another type of drain. As obvious as it seems, make sure the hose is firmly inside the drainage area. Also ensure that there is not a back-up inside the drainage pipe that is causing an overflow.

Advanced Problems

A laundry machine with clothes in it.

If you cannot determine the source of the leak after observing it, try removing the back panel so you can access the inner hoses, pump, tub seal, and connections. This way, you should be able to see if the pump is leaking. If it is, it will likely need to be replaced. For leaky hoses, try tightening them down or replacing the washers inside. If the water is coming out of the seal around the tub, the fix is a little more time-consuming. You will need to replace the seal by purchasing a kit that includes the rubber seals and screws for your machine's make and model.

Washing machines provide an invaluable service to the modern family, but sometimes they need a little love in return. With some investigative skills and determination, you’ll be able to identify the problem and the fix to get your machine up and running again in no time.