Condo Blues: How to Repair a Front Load Washing Machine that Will Not Drain

Sunday, August 26, 2018

How to Repair a Front Load Washing Machine that Will Not Drain

I think I am one of the only people in the United States who actually likes her front loading washing machine. That’s why I panicked when my trusty Whirlpool Duet washer stopped in the middle of a cleaning cycle and flashed me a F21 error.

I didn’t want to use a washing machine that will not wash as an excuse to buy a new one. We’ve been good to each other. I wanted to save her, not replace her.

Fortunately, an F21 error on my washing machine means the drain is clogged and is a very simple fix you can do yourself!


How to Clean a Clogged Washing Machine Drain

How to fix a Whirlpool Duet washing machine error code F21
Pin this tutorial to your Pinterest boards for later! share it with your friends!

You will Need the Following Supplies for this Project

Multi bit screwdriver

Shallow dish pan


Old toothbrush

Lots of old towels

More old towels

And still more old towels

Helpful but not required:

Bed risers

Flashlight – I use this LED flashlight because it has a work light on the side that lights a larger area than the front light.

Wet Dry Vacuum for end of project clean up. I have this exact Wet Dry Vac that is the perfect size for this project. It even has a remote control! (I’m such a tech nerd.)
Did I mention more old towels?

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post for your convenience.

Step by Step How to Fix it Tutorial

1. Use the multi bit screwdriver to unscrew and remove the screws holding the bottom washer front panel into place.

How to remove the front panel of a washing machine
My apologies for the photo quality. I had to use a flashlight to find the screws and take photos of them while laying on my stomach in the laundry room. Everything I do, I do for you!

Tip: If you have hex screws like I do in the photo above, you can usually unscrew them with a multi bit screwdriver without the bit.

2. Optional: Put the front legs of the washing machine up on bed risers. This will allow you to place a larger vessel under the washing machine drain pipe when it comes time to drain the standing water from your washing machine drum.

3. Prepare your work area by putting several old towels in front of the washing machine drain area to catch the deluge of water when you remove the washing machine drain cap. Have the bucket, dish pans, and more old towels ready and on deck.

where is the drain plug on my high efficiency HE washing machine
You will be amazed at how much water comes out of your washing machine after you twist this innocent looking cap. 

4. After putting a shallow dish pan under the washing machine drain cap, turn and  remove the washing machine drain cap.  Be prepared for and to catch the water that will immediately start draining from the washing machine drum the second you remove that cap!

how to drain a front load high efficiency HE washing machine drum

5. Bail water.

6. Bail water.

7. Bail water.

8. Clear the gunk and junk clogging the washing machine filter. Use the old tooth brush to scrub the filter area clean if desired.

What is a Whirlpool Duet F21 Error Code and to to Repair it
The clogged washing machine drain.

9. Put the clean washing machine filter back into the washing machine and screw it tightly into place.

10. Reverse Steps 3 through 1. to tidy up your work area and replace the washing machine cover.

11. Use the wet dry vacuum to clean up any last bits of standing water on the floor if necessary.

12. Load your washing machine with dirty clothes and clean up your act!

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