Top Reasons Your Washing Machine Is Leaving Clothes Wet

By Terry Mehilos | Feb. 01, 2018 12:02 pm PST


Find out the top causes of a washing machine leaving laundry too wet.

Does your washing machine leave your clothes soaking wet? If you’re pulling out soggy loads of laundry that take more than one dryer cycle to actually dry, there could be something wrong with your machine.

There are four things you can check very easily that just might alleviate the problem. Watch our video to see if you’re doing any of these things that can lead to your washer leaving your clothes too wet.

Washing Machine Leaving Clothes Too Wet? 4 Tips

1. Check the Cycle Used

Look at the default spin speed on the cycle that you choose. You may need to switch to a different cycle or change the spin speed so the washer can spin water out of the load better.

For example, many of us wash practically every load on the Speed Wash or Quick Cycle. The default spin speed for that cycle is typically extra-fast. When you wash towels using that cycle, the washer often can’t balance and spin the heavy load at that speed so the control shuts down the spin cycle or spins the towels at a lower speed than needed. You can fix the problem by manually selecting a slower spin speed when washing towels on the Speed Wash or Quick Cycle.

When you wash loads using a Bulky, Delicate or Hand Wash cycle, the spin speed often defaults to a slow spin speed. Manually increase spin speed or change cycles to wash the load and pin clothes out properly.

Check your owner’s manual for more advice and spin speed specifications for your washer model.

2. Make Sure the Drain Hose Isn’t Kinked or Restricted

With the washer shut off, check for a kink in the drain hose. Reposition the drain hose if it’s kinked so drain water will flow freely to the washer drain.

It the drain hose isn’t kinked, follow these troubleshooting steps to check the drain hose for a restriction:

  1. With the washing machine still shut off, pull the drain hose out of the standpipe and check for a clog at the end of the hose. Sometimes lint or debris can build up in this area and prevent draining.
  2. To check for an internal drain hose clog when the washer tub still has water in it, lower the drain hose into a bucket close to the floor and see if the water drains out of the tub using nothing more than gravity. If the tub is empty, reinstall the drain hose and fill the tub with water by starting a cycle then pause the cycle. Pull the drain hose out of the standpipe and see if water drains out using nothing more than gravity.
  3. If water flows freely out of the washer indicating the drain hose is clear, then check your house drain for a clog. Pour water down the standpipe and see if water backs up in the pipe. If it does, use a plumber’s snake to clear the clog from your house drain pipe.
  4. If you didn’t see any water coming out of the drain hose during the gravity drain test, then try using a shop vac to suck the clog and the water out of the washer. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to bail some water out of the washer and use a shop vac to suck out the rest from the tub. Once you get the water out, unplug the washer, disconnect the drain hose from the back and check it for a clog. Clear out any lint or debris that find in the drain hose. You can typically clear a drain hose clog by taking it outside and running water rapidly through it using a garden hose.

If the drain hose isn’t clogged and the house drain is good, then a bad drain pump or internal drain system problem could be preventing the washer from draining properly and leaving the clothes wet.

Schedule a Sears Technician to visit your home and fix your washer when you’re unable to find the cause of a drain problem.

3. Check the Size of the Load

An overloaded or underloaded washer can become unbalanced and spin at a reduced speed. Add, remove or redistribute items and start a drain and spin cycle.

When you need to wash only a few items, you’ll typically need to add a towel or other extra items so the washer can balance the load during the spin cycle.

Consult your owner’s manual for guidance on maximum recommended load sizes.

Here’s some additional advice for loading your washer.

Front-Load Washer

Although you’ll see ever-increasing capacity advertised for front-load washers, don’t be tempted to stuff too many garments into the washer at one time. Large capacity front-load washing machines can clean extraordinarily large loads in certain conditions. You can certainly wash plenty of lighter items such as shirts, blouses and underwear in a large capacity front-load washer. On the other hand, filling a front loader with too many heavy garments like jeans or towels can cause problems.

Using moderation and common sense are key to managing proper load size in a front-load washer. When washing towels, loosely load them until the stack inside the tub reaches almost to the top of the door opening. That tactic will leave room for the towels to tumble properly. When possible, mix jeans with like colors of lighter garments instead of trying to wash all your jeans at once. Mixing heavy items with lighter ones will also help the washer tumble, balance and spin the load more effectively.

Don’t be tempted to wash a heavy, king-size comforter in your front-load washing machine. Although the washer may be able to handle the load, you may begin wearing out spin basket seals and bearings faster if you wash heavy comforters too often. To avoid excessive washer wear, take king-size comforters and other unusually heavy items to the laundromat for washing.

Top-Load Washing Machine

Dropping laundry into the basket evenly around the agitator or the outside edges of the impeller is the key to properly loading a top-load washer. If your load gets unbalanced in a top-loader, the washer will often shut down and leave the clothes wet. A severely unbalanced load can cause vibrations strong enough to actually move the machine, which in turn can lead to a costly repair.

Leave at least 6-inches from the top of the basket when loading light items. Limit the number of heavy items such as jeans and large bath towels to 8 or so to prevent premature wear of washer drive components. Take king-size comforters and other unusually heavy items to the laundromat for washing to avoid excessive wear of the washer drive system.

Properly loading your front-load or top-load washer will ensure that the machine drains and spins water out of the clothes efficiently. It also saves wear and tear on your washer so it lasts longer.

4. Don’t Use an Extension Cord

Extension cords can cause drive motor overheating and machine shutdowns that will leave your laundry wet. Follow the instructions in the owner’s manual or installation guide to properly install your washer.

Prevent Wet Laundry by Having Your Washer Professionally Cleaned & Maintained

Have your washing machine professionally cleaned and maintained so it drains and spins water out of the clothes properly. During the Sears Clean & Maintain service, the technician will perform these tasks that help ensure the drain and spin portions of the cycle work properly:

  • Test the washer drain system. The technician will check drain pump operation and the complete drain path through your home’s drain system. The tech can clear obstructions and let you know if your house drain needs clearing.
  • Check the suspension system and spin cycle operation. Excessive vibration or banging during the spin will often result in clothes being too wet when the cycle ends. While banging during the spin cycle can be caused by an unbalanced load, it can also be caused by tub suspension problems. The technician will test the spin cycle and make sure that suspension components such as shock absorbers and springs are intact and working properly. The tech also will check washer leveling and stability and adjust leveling legs as needed to minimize vibration during the spin cycle.

For a front-load washer, the technician will:

  • Examine the washer door and test the door lock. Failure of the door lock or door switch can prevent the washer from draining or spinning.
  • Clear the drain pump filter. Many front-load washers have a large item filter on the drain pump assembly that catches things like coin and paper clips that fall out of garments and into the drain system. The technician will empty the drain pump filter so the washer drains properly.
  • Examine the drive system. Some front-load washers use a drive motor, belt and pulley to spin the basket. Other washer models use a direct-drive system to spin the basket. A direct-drive washer has a rotor connected directly to the spin shaft that rotates around a stator attached to the back of the washer tub. When the drive system fails, the spin basket won’t rotate or it won’t rotate at the proper speed. The technician will check the drive system for wear and recommend replacement of drive parts if necessary.
  • Check electronic control operation and wiring. The electronic control board, also called the mother board, governs the timing and execution of the washer component functions. It controls the drive motor and the drain pump. If the control board fails or wiring gets disconnected from the control board, the washer won’t drain and spin properly. The technician will check the wiring and make sure that the electronic control operates properly to control the washer.

For a top-load washing machine, the technician will:

  • Examine the lid switch. The washer won’t spin if the lid switch isn’t working. The technician will check the condition and position of the lid switch and adjust it if necessary.
  • Test the drive system. The technician will check the drive components for proper operation during washer maintenance. Most top-load washers use a belt-drive or direct-drive system to spin the clothes. A worn belt or bad shifter on a belt-drive washer will result in the washer not being able spin the water out of the clothes properly during the spin cycle. Some direct drive washers use a transmission to spin the basket, while other direct-drive models use a rotor attached directly to the basket to spin the clothes. Drive system problems in direct-drive washers will prevent clothes from spinning out water properly. The technician will check all drive parts for wear and recommend replacement of parts if necessary.

Trust Sears to help you keep your washer in top shape so you’re not facing wet clothes at the end of the wash cycle. Having your washer professionally cleaned and maintained yearly will also help the machine last longer.

Bundle washer Clean & Maintain service with your dryer to keep both your laundry appliances in top shape. Save even more by bundling all your appliance maintenance service into one convenient service visit.

Sears Home Services will help you keep all of your home appliances working smoothly so you don’t have to worry about unexpected breakdowns.

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