There’s never a good time for a washing machine to stop working. Though why does this tend to happen when we’re late or juggling several other tasks? While it’s normal to, you needn’t panic if you notice your washing machine leaking — our guide will help get it spinning again. Discover how to fix common faults and prevent more leaks from happening or get in touch for professional washing machine repairs.

How to find and fix washing machine leaks

A puddle on the floor suggests something is wrong, but it won’t always tell you which part of the machine is leaking. Start by emptying the drum and moving the machine away from the wall. This will make it easier to see if water is pooling around the bottom, front or back. Now you can skip ahead to the relevant section.

Before getting your hands dirty, just remember to unplug the machine and turn off the water supply. If in any doubt, or if the problem is more complicated, we recommend getting an engineer in to look at it.

Help! The bottom of my machine is leaking…

A good place to start is the filter. All sorts of things can get caught in it… dirt, tissues, bits of Lego – you name it. If you don’t clean it out regularly, the residue and rogue objects can build up and create a blockage, which eventually leads to a leak. If your machine is top loading, you may not think it’s the filter that’s at fault. But bear in mind water will pool at the top first before trickling down the sides and puddling at the bottom.

Usually, you’ll find the filter behind a cap at the front of a front-loading machine and at the top of the agitator inside a top-loading machine. Though sometimes, it sits behind a cap at the top of the drum. If you still can’t find the filter, check your user manual.

Once located, put a towel down to catch any escaping water. Then you should carefully unscrew the filter and clean its seals, removing any dirt and trapped objects. You should also clean out the hole where the filter sits.

If your filter is clean, the problem could lie with the drum seals. These are not the same as the door seal. Did you know your machine has two drums: an inner metal one for loading your clothes and an outer plastic one you can’t see? While this outer drum is meant to be waterproof, it can leak if there’s a problem with the seals connecting it to the interior drum.

There are other parts inside the machine that can break, like internal hoses and the drain pump. As it’s difficult to reach the drum seals and inside parts, it’s best to leave these kinds of problems to an expert.

Water is leaking from the front… what should I do?

A common part that causes leaks is the door seal. Take time to remove any gunk or mould trapped inside it with a clean, damp cloth. You’d think regular wash cycles would be enough to keep it clean but, unfortunately, this isn’t the case! Excess dirt can stop the door from closing properly and cause water to leak onto the floor. (Loose hinges and a broken lock can also stop the door from shutting.)

Carefully check for trapped objects that could have pierced the seal (like a hairclip or safety pin). If the seal is loose, twisted or damaged, an engineer will need to fit a replacement.

The door isn’t always to blame, though. If the dispenser drawer is leaking, water will dribble down the machine and pool at the front — tricking you into thinking it’s the door that’s faulty. What creates a leaky dispenser is laundry powder or mould blocking the water jets in the roof of the drawer. There’s an easy fix for this. Simply remove the drawer and scrub the jets with a brush.

Oh no… it’s the back that’s broken

Leaks from the back are often caused by a faulty hose. Make sure the connections between the hoses and the machine aren’t loose – you can tighten them by hand. Check that the water supply and drain hoses aren’t crushed behind the machine. Then gently flex the drain hose to rule out punctures. If you notice any, it will need replacing.

If the hoses all look fine, there might be something stuck inside. This is more likely to happen to the drain hose and can lead to the water backing up and overflowing everywhere. Remove it from the connections and any clamps or plastic holders securing it. Run warm water through it for a minute — this should loosen and remove any residue. If that doesn’t work, create a baking soda and white vinegar solution. Pour the mixture down and leave it for 10 minutes before running water through again.

How to prevent washing machine leaks

There are a few things you can do to stop history from repeating itself.

Make sure the machine is level

If your machine is not level, it will make loud noises during washing and move around a lot. This could damage the hoses and any nearby pipework. To ensure it’s level, you’ll need to tilt the machine backwards and adjust its feet. It will be heavy, so ask someone to help you with this step.

Adjust the feet by unscrewing or screwing them to the right height. Some models have feet with locking nuts – you’ll have to loosen these before adjusting the feet. Keep tweaking them until you can get the appliance to stand level on the floor. Check your handiwork with a spirit level or by gently rocking the machine to see if it moves.

Check your pockets

Hands up who hasn’t accidentally washed an old tissue or sweet wrapper? While these items might not necessarily cause any damage, some objects can puncture parts of the machine and get caught in the hoses. Your spare change could lead to an unexpected repair bill… so get into the habit of checking your pockets.

Don’t overload it

If your drum is completely full, the laundry is more likely to tamper with the door seal. Plus, regularly overloading overworks the motor and bearings that help it spin. This means some parts won’t be able to work as hard at keeping your clothes clean.

Run a smaller load next time and see if your machine still leaks. A proper load should be between a third and three-quarters full. If your machine is front loading, lay your hand on its side and see if it can fit inside, on top of your clothes. If it can’t fit, this means it’s too full.

Go easy with the detergent

Too much detergent creates a swarm of soapy bubbles. The suds can stop your clothes from rubbing against each other properly (this helps to clean off dirt). They are also harder to drain than wastewater, so can overwork parts of your machine and lead to breakdown. To top it all off, surplus detergent leaves a residue in your machine which can eventually turn mouldy. Use the instructions on your detergent’s packaging for tips on how much to use.

About the author

Charlotte Letch

Charlotte is a resident copywriter at Domestic & General. As well as popping up on the blog, she writes for several different channels across the business. Over the past 7 years, Charlotte has put pen to paper for insurers, jewellers and a homeware brand. Out of the office, she enjoys running, yoga and adding to her ever-growing tattoo collection.

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