What are the most prominent washing machine blocked filter symptoms?

Below is a list of all telltale Washing machine blocked filter symptoms

If your washing machine has a filter (not all have -it’s common in front loads though I have been seeing a couple of top loaders come with filter lately), it  can get blocked because you probably missed cleaning it or perhaps an errant key, coin, lost button, screw, or even wedding ring has found its way to the filter, which in turn can make your washer start acting up.

So, what are the most common washing machine blocked filter symptoms

You may want to know them- nobody wants to end up replacing the pump when just cleaning the filter would suffice.

Well, below are the telltale signs that you’re looking at a blocked washing machine filter (remember the purpose of the filter is to protect(shield) the pump since debris going there during draining could damage the washer’s pump completely.

Washing machine blocked filter symptoms list

There are several ways you can tell that your washing machine filter is blocked completely, especially when you start noticing draining issues when washing.

Here are the most prominent signs:

  • Clothes are coming out of the washer smelling musty.
  • You’re noticing soap residue on your clothes when they come out of the washer (washing detergent marks -white residue- remaining on your clothes)
  • Another thing you might start seeing if the drain pump filter is clogged is lint residue, again on your washed clothes.
  • The washer is not cleaning clothes properly- your clothes appear somewhat dirty (there are dirty spots here and there) after washing.
  • Airsoft bbs everywhere- if you’re observing airsoft bbs all in places like the bottom of your  washing machine after a load, it might mean the drain pump filter is blocked.
  • Bad odor- sometimes your washer will begin giving off a horrific rotten egg like scent!

What happens when washing machine filter is blocked?

This is what happens if debris has clogged the filter (Think of anything you might forget in your pockets like coins,twist ties, zip ties, Bobby pins, nails or even things like clumps of hair …..the list can be endless). 

Water will not be able to pass through drain pump (and then out your washer’s drain line) because of the scum, meaning your washing machine is likely to have drainage problems.

In fact, slow drain error might show up on your front loader (the exact fault code will vary from one washer model to the other).

In other words, it might become slow to drain and it may eventually start to repeatedly time out (the cycle then completely stops) until you pull the part out and thoroughly clean it.


How to clean washing machine filter 

Those filters resume functioning efficiently once cleaned (if it does not look so bad).

Here are the typical steps for a front load washer washer like LG front loading washer:


Turn off the washer.

Drain out water from the tub.

Locate the filter

Normally, there is an access panel that you have to pull out to reveal the part. Exactly where the filter is in your machine will depend on your brand and model number but you typically find the access panel in the lower section of your front loading washer (lower front side).

Drain the hose

Once you see the filter(and the drain pipe), of course, after removing the panel, go ahead and pull the hose out.

Pull its plug out too and drain the tube into a collecting container.

After that, replace the plug (on the hose) and return the hose back into place.

Remove and wash the filter

Now remove the filter (you might have to turn it counter-clockwise) then grab all the items you find there and toss them aside.

Also, clear any lint/debris you find there.

Next, wash the part thoroughly by hand (wash it in the sink) – this will help get rid of any buildup.

Then return everything in place in reverse and close the panel.


How to clean washing machine filter without getting water everywhere

Needless to say, a lot of water tends to come out of the washer during cleaning because you will have to detach the drain tube (to allow water to completely drain) as well as unscrew the filter-and it could end up flooding all over the place.

But there are tricks you can use to keep water from pouring everywhere…

For example, as mentioned above, placing a big-enough plastic storage container can help capture it- place the container near the filter’s access panel to help collect the water that pours out.

In addition, having a few paper towels with you ready will be handy – use them to wipe out wayward dribbles.

Oh, and have a rag with you too- that is because some water will typically run out when you remove the pump filter.

Other helpful troubleshooting

If the drainage fault persists, make sure the washer is level – confirm because the water won’t ever drain well if it is not.

Next, verify that the washer’s drain hose is itself not clogged- any clogs in the PVC pipe will obviously prevent good draining.

Yeah, there might be filters (depending on your specific model) on your machine’s water supply lines needing regular cleaning as well.


When to clean drain pump filter on washing machine

Most manufacturers recommend that you clean out the filter after every one month.

You can confirm from your owners manual.


Washing machine blocked filter symptoms -Wrap up

Please do not forget to deep clean the filter about every 2 to three months to avoid possible clogging that in turn causes draining hiccups (the dump can also break down if you’re taking too long before cleaning the filter)

We already saw that the filters are most common on front loaders (they’re not as common on top loaders)but the best way to be double sure if yours has it is by checking your owners manual (most user manuals tend to have this info under either the “washer care” or  “maintenance” section).

PS: For appliance repair techs like me, about 1 out of like 20 calls I get is for a washing machine that won’t drain….what’s funny is it’s mainly due to a blocked filter.



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