Why is the washing machine drawer full of water?

The washing machine drawer may be full of water due to a variety of reasons, such as the buildup of detergent over time in the tray and its attachments, blocked nozzles, a broken cup, or choked drain holes. Additionally, if the washing machine is not level, it can cause water to accumulate in the detergent drawer. Cleaning the drawer and making sure the washer is level can help fix this issue.

In most cases, there could be two possibilities; one is that the small tube or the hose that forces water in and out of the drawer has been blocked. Another possible cause could be a clogged or broken cup.

Key Takeaways

  • When the washer dispenses the fabric softener it floods the drawer with water that enters through a small pipe and the solution is forced into the main drum. Resulting in a temporary watery drawer.
  • It is typical for a minimal amount of water to be present in the dispenser once a cycle is complete, just clean the fabric softener dispenser to eliminate any potential blockages.
  • Both fabric softener and detergent drawers may get clogged due to residual buildups, causing all sorts of problems such as water filling.
  • Thorough cleaning of the drawers in a timely manner will prevent frequent clogging.
  • If there are issues with the supply tubes or cover you will need to clean or replace them if broken.
  • Also, make sure that the washer is balanced on an even surface and is not tilted to one side.

How does the fabric softener dispenser work?

A fabric softener drawer is a small compartment that is typically located near the detergent dispenser on your washing machine.

All you have to do is pour your fabric softener into the dispenser, then select the appropriate cycle on your washing machine.

The fabric softener will be dispensed automatically at the right time during the cycle and will help to keep your clothes nice and soft.

When the washer uses the fabric softener, water is forced into the drawer and then into the main drum to ensure that the entire amount of fabric softener is drained to the washtub.

A tiny tube-like hose that is attached to the drawer forces water into the dispenser, which is susceptible to clogging with repeated use.

How does the detergent dispenser work?

In a washing machine, detergent is typically dispensed through a detergent dispenser or tray.

The detergent and fabric softener are kept in the dispenser or tray, which is usually near the top or front of the washing machine.

During the wash cycle, the detergent is dispensed into the drum at an appropriate time, as determined by the washing machine’s control settings.

Some washing machines also have specialized dispensers for pre-wash and main wash detergent.

Now that you know how fabric softener and detergent dispensers work, let’s take a quick look at possible reasons why the drawer is full of water.

Why is the washing machine drawer full of water?

There can be many reasons why a washing machine drawer might be full of water. It can be as simple as a washer not being level or as complex as faulty sensors or choked hoses.

Here are some of the common reasons why the washing machine drawer may be full of water:

Clogged drawer

The very first thing is to inspect the drawers for clogging and then offer a thorough cleaning.

Even if you are not able to determine if the drawers are clogged, simply remove them from the washing machine and clean them.

  • Make a thick paste of baking soda and scrub the drawers thoroughly using a toothbrush.
  • Leave it for 10 to 15 minutes to settle and rinse it with clean water.
  • Next, fill a sink with water and a cleaning solution along with a small amount of baking soda or vinegar.
  • Stir and mix it well before you put the drawers into it for soaking.
  • Place the drawers into the solution and leave it for about 20 minutes. This will help loosen the stubborn buildups.
  • Scrub the area around the drawers, including the tubes that carry water out of them, at the same time.
  • Place the drawers carefully in their positions to run a test cycle after they have been thoroughly cleaned and free of buildup.

Clogged tube

Once you remove the drawer from the washer for cleaning, you will see a small tube at the back of the compartment.

This tube generally gets clogged due to excessive use of fabric softeners or prolonged buildup of residue.

You can clean it by simply taking out the dispenser drawer and the cap.

Additionally, a stuck object near the outlet of the drawer’s tube can also prevent the water from draining from the drawer.

If the tube seems to be worn out, you can simply get it replaced.

Check the cup

Check if it has been clogged or broken, and if this is the case, you can get it replaced to fix the issue.

To get the replacement part, you can search online or visit the nearest appliance parts dealer with the model number of your washing machine.

If you find difficulty doing so, simply contact the washer’s manufacturer’s helpline number for guidance.

The washer is not level

There is a chance that water will not drain properly if the washing machine is not level because the opposite end is slanted.

If that’s the case, not all of the water in the drawer will be able to drain.

You can use a leveling kit to check if the washer is at the level and adjust the legs of the washer to bring it to level accordingly.

Thick liquid or powder detergent

There is always a possibility that the liquid solution used in the drawers has thickened or has reached a consistency that prevents it from dispensing from the outlet.

Likewise, if you are using a non-suitable or ordinary detergent in powder form, there is a chance that it will not mix with water the way it should.

To get around this, clean all the compartments in the washing machine drawer, and next time onward, make sure to dilute any thick liquids like fabric softener before adding them to the drawers.

Similarly, use a suitable and standard detergent in the drawers to get the best results.

Finally, make sure to use an appropriate amount of solution during each wash.

Other possibilities may include a clogged drain system, an overloaded washer, or a faulty sensor.

Drain Issues

It can happen that the drain system of the washer has been clogged and the main drum itself has been filled with water.

Inspect the drain system, try to drain the washer drum manually, and check if the water flows out of the drawer too.

Also, if the drawer also has a drain tube attached, you can try to blow it out with compressed air to clear any obstruction.


There is also a possibility that the washtub is overloaded, preventing water from flowing properly due to a congested environment.

If this is the case, remove some items from the washer and try to run the cycle again.

Water level sensors

A water level sensor is a device that is used to measure the amount of water in the washing machine drum.

If the water level sensor is faulty, it may not be able to accurately measure the water level in the drum, and as a result, the washing machine may use too much water during the cycle.

This excess water can overflow into the detergent drawer, causing it to fill with water.

Additionally, a faulty water level sensor can also lead to a washing machine overfilling during the wash cycle.

So, if your washer overfills, it could be due to faulty water level sensors (if you have ruled out other technical issues).

In such a situation, if the issue is not resolved after trying the above steps, simply call a service professional for help and get it fixed for you.

Note: These are not the only reasons that can cause the dispenser to malfunction. These are just some of the common and possible causes of water filling problems.

Also Read: How to bypass the water level sensor in washing machine?

Check if the tray is properly inserted

If the detergent tray is not inserted properly, it could cause a water-filling issue.

So, if you notice water-filling issues in the drawer, it’s recommended to remove it, reattach it properly, and see if that fixes the problem.

Check if there is a dedicated slot for powder and liquid detergent

This is the most commonly ignored step, which, when overlooked, can cause a water-filling issue.

There is always a possibility that you may have put powdered detergent in a liquid dispenser and vice-versa; if that’s the case, you know how to fix it.

Also, don’t put any fabric softener in the detergent tray, that too may cause clogging in the long run.

Missing Cap or problems with the cap

A problematic cap or cover on the detergent drawer can cause water to stay in the washing machine drawer because it can prevent the siphon tube from properly removing the water at the end of the wash cycle.

The possible solution here is to replace the cap or cover.

That being said, not all washing designs are the same; therefore, some may have a cap or cover and some may not, depending on the model of the washer.

Final Thoughts

If you use fabric softeners too much or too often, they can clog the drawer of your washing machine over time.

So, you should avoid using fabric softeners if not required; instead, use distilled vinegar as an alternative solution.

Always make sure to clean the washing machine drawers or run a tub clean cycle once every month to prevent clogging.

Also, damaged or worn-out parts of the washing machine should be replaced with a suitable replacement part on a priority basis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can baking soda unclog a washing machine drain?

Yes, baking soda can be used to unclog a washing machine drain by mixing it with boiling water. Once you have prepared the solution, simply pour the solution through the drain. Next, wait for a few minutes before running normal water again to clear any residue.

Is it safe to put vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser?

Yes, you can put distilled white vinegar in a fabric softener dispenser to either soften the fabric or clean the dispenser itself. Vinegar is a natural cleaner and has anti-bacterial properties, so you can use it for cleaning purposes.

How do I know if my washing machine drain is clogged?

Overflowing is the most common symptom of a choked drain. Furthermore, it’s also common for the washer to not drain the water effectively and get stuck between the cycles. The washer flushes out dirty water and intakes fresh water as it progresses through the cycle; if it’s unable to drain, it won’t proceed to subsequent cycles and may even stop.