What does 5D mean on a Maytag washer? (Is it 5D or SD?)

The error ‘SD’ is often misread as ‘5D’ or you can say it appears that way on the display panels of Maytag washing machines. This error code indicates there are excess suds formed inside the washtub during the current cycle. The washer will try to fix the issue by either filling the tub with water or running an additional rinse.

Although it will increase the duration of the ongoing wash cycle, it is important to get rid of excess suds from the washtub.

In most cases, the possible causes of excess suds are using an ordinary or non-suitable detergent or using more detergent than is required.

Additionally, overloading the washer won’t allow the detergent to mix well with the water, resulting in excess suds settling in one corner of the load.

Key Takeaways

  • Suds is also known as foam that gets generated from soap or detergent when mixed with water during the wash.
  • When your washing machine senses excess suds it will display the ‘SD’ error code.
  • The washing machine will add an extra rinse to break down and eliminate excess suds.
  • The process of clearing the excess suds will use extra water and lead to an increase in the duration of the wash program.
  • The error code is SD and not 5D. It looks like 5D because it appears that way in the display panel.
  • Run the clean cycle to get rid of the error. If that does not help reset the washer once by powering it off and restarting it after a few minutes.

Causes of the 5D or SD error in a Maytag washing machine (With solutions)

Excess suds in a washing machine can indicate that you have a bigger issue with the appliance itself.

To help understand why this might be happening and how to fix it, here are the most common causes of excess suds in a washing machine and possible solutions.

Non-Suitable detergent

If you have a high-efficiency (HE) washing machine, then you should always use a detergent designed for the machine with an “HE” mark.

Using ordinary detergent in HE washers is the most common cause of excess suds formation.

This is why most high-efficiency (HE) washers require you to use a special low-sudsing detergent.

Even if your washing machine is a non-HE unit, you should still use a good quality detergent.

So the ideal thing is, if you have an HE washing machine, to switch to a special low-sudsing detergent specifically designed for HE washers.

Detergent Quantity

Over-sudsing can occur when you use too much detergent for your load size or when you use the wrong type of detergent.

If you’re unsure how much laundry detergent you should use for your load size, make sure to read the instructions on your detergent bottle or consult with the manufacturer of your washing machine.

Another common cause of excess suds formation is using more detergent during the wash.

Problematic detergent dispensers

Most modern washing machines have a built-in automatic detergent dispenser that adds the required amount of detergent depending on the load and settings.

It may happen that the detergent dispenser or one of the sensors has become faulty and is adding too much detergent.

In this case, you will need to contact a service professional to get it fixed.

If you often prefer adding the detergent manually to the machine, make sure to add only the needed amount.

Testing a problematic detergent dispenser

You can follow these quick and easy steps to test the detergent dispenser on a washing machine:

Step 1: Fill the dispenser

First, put the recommended amount of detergent in the dispenser according to the size of your laundry load.

Step 2: Select a standard washing cycle and stop it mid-cycle

Start the washing machine now and stop it mid-cycle (do this initially as soon as the washer moves to the main wash cycle).

Try to keep a record of the time when you stopped the washer mid-cycle as you may need to repeat this step again at a different frequency.

Once you have paused the washer in the middle of its cycle, check whether the detergent dispenser is completely empty or only partially full.

If the detergent dispenser is empty, the detergent is being dispensed too soon.

Likewise, if the detergent dispenser has not dispensed anything, try stopping the washer mid-cycle at a different time.

So, once you have stopped the washer mid-cycle and you notice that the washer has dispensed the detergent, let it continue for a while and stop it again to see the progress of the dispensing.

If all goes well, complete the cycle and see if it has used the quantity of detergent that it was supposed to use during the selected wash cycle.

Step 4: Repeat the examination

Try repeating the steps with different detergents in different quantities.

If the dispenser performs better with a different detergent, repeat the test with a different quantity.

Step 5: Clean the dispenser

Clean the dispenser thoroughly in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions if it is clogged or not functioning properly.

It is advised to contact a qualified appliance repair person if you are still unable to get the detergent dispensers to function.

Also Read: 3 Compartments in the washing machine drawer

Water supply

To wash clothes better, it is important to have sufficient water supplied to the machine; this also ensures that the detergent gets blended evenly.

When it comes to the water supply, it may also happen that your washing machine did not get enough water during the initial wash and rinse cycle.

This will simply lead to the formation of excess suds.

The washing machine will definitely try to get rid of excess suds but may eventually fail due to a shortage of the required amount of water.

You should check if there’s any interruption with the water supply and fix it accordingly, and then try running the cycle again.

You should inspect the following:

  • The water faucets are completely on.
  • The inlet hoses aren’t kinked or worn out.
  • The inlet valves are not clogged.
  • Water is flowing into the machine with enough pressure.

If the water supply seems fine, then the issue must be due to a bad sensor or a faulty pressure switch.

A faulty pressure switch will prevent the washtub from filling with the required amount of water as per the load size.

With less water, there is a higher possibility of excess suds generation during the wash.

Less water and more detergent will result in the formation of thick foam, due to which even the rinse cycle won’t be very effective in removing excess foam.

This will eventually result in excess suds being left in the washtub, and the washer will keep throwing the ‘SD’ error on the display.

So, it is important to check if the water level is proper during the wash as well as the rinse cycles.

It is best to contact a service professional to troubleshoot the issues with the pressure switch and sensors.


Overloading the washing machine will not only prevent the detergent from blending with the water properly but also prevent it from being evenly distributed among the clothes.

There should be ample room inside the washtub for the garments to tumble and circulate the soapy water to prevent suds from settling in batches.

If this happens, your washer will be confused and sense the excess suds forming in particular areas of the washtub.

Any confusion with the suds level will lead to an SD error being displayed on the machine.

Moreover, it will become difficult for the machine to resolve the issue even after multiple attempts.

In such situations, simply remove some of the bulky items and redistribute the garments evenly, then restart the cycle again.

If the issue is resolved, avoid overloading the machine beyond its capacity going forward.

Clogged drain hose/Filter

If the drain hose is partially clogged, it won’t allow the water to flow freely from the machine.

This will eventually lead to bubbles forming and settling inside the washtub, and the error code ‘SD’ will pop up on the screen.

Additionally, there’s a higher possibility of detergent residues forming in the drain lines, including the washtub.

Finally, excess lint and debris in the washing machine can also become a cause of extra suds.

This is because lint and debris can act as surfactants and cause an increase in suds.

To prevent this, make sure to clean out the filter and check for any clogs inside the hoses or pipes leading to the washer.

In fact, inspecting and cleaning the drain system at least once a month is always a good practice.

Detergent residues

At times, it can also happen that the SD error won’t disappear, and this is potentially due to detergent residues being settled inside the washer for longer periods of time.

So, you should run the dedicated cleaning cycle, such as the “Clean Washer” cycle in your Maytag washing machine model.

Alternatively, you can run an empty cycle with hot water settings and use a washing machine cleaner for better results.

In all the above situations, if the washing machine fails to get rid of the error code, you can try to run a rinse cycle manually and then let it move to the spin cycle.

Hard Water

If your household has a hard water supply, then that could be another factor to consider for excess suds formation.

This is because excess minerals in hard water can react with the soap suds and cause them to expand and form bubbles.

These bubbles can easily accumulate and form a thick foam that will potentially fill up the entire washer.

Therefore, to reduce the problem, consider using a water-softening solution to prevent excess suds.

Additionally, if you have a hard water supply, consider installing a water softener to help reduce mineral buildup in your supply lines.

False Alarm

False codes, while frustrating, can sometimes be addressed with a bit of patience and troubleshooting.

If you encounter a persistent code 5d display despite resolving the suds issue, try pressing the power button to initiate a reset.

Alternatively, allowing the machine to rest for a brief period can also help clear out false codes.

How does the washing machine fix the “SD” error?

Most modern washing machine models will often try to automatically fix multiple errors, including the SD error code.

This error code especially appears before the spin cycle because the water may drain out, but the foam and excess suds are left in the washtub.

This is why it senses the presence of excess suds and displays the error code “SD” on the display panel.

Hence, when you see the “SD” error code, assume it as an alert that the washer will now take some more time to complete the ongoing cycle.

The washer will pause the existing cycle and start filling with water for rinsing to reduce excess suds in the washtub.

The process may be repeated several times, and the washer may use additional water, which will eventually increase the overall wash duration.

In such a situation, it is best to allow the washer to fix the issue and complete the cycle.

However, if the washing machine is unable to fix the error itself, then it will require your intervention.

Final Thoughts

The “SD” error code indicates over-sudsing and excess suds in a washing machine.

This can be caused by several factors, including using too much laundry detergent, hard water, lint buildup, problematic detergent dispensers, false alerts, or even a non-suitable detergent.

To help reduce excess suds formation, make sure to use the right amount of detergent for your load size and switch to an HE detergent if necessary.

Use water softeners and clean out the lint filter regularly.

Excess suds error code ‘SD’ most likely occurs before the spin cycle starts, this is because the washer could not clear suds from the tub during the rinse.

If the washer senses excess suds, the ongoing cycle gets paused, and the machine starts filling the washer with water to offer an extra rinse.

Once the washer senses that the issue is resolved, the error code will automatically disappear, and the cycle will proceed and complete accordingly.

In some cases, the residual buildup inside the washtub can also be responsible for the SD error.

Hence, cleaning the washing machine regularly is extremely important.

Finally, if you overload the washer more than the washer’s capacity, it may also result in uneven distribution of loads, leading to excess suds formation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I still use my washing machine if it shows an SD error?

In most cases, the washer will try to fix the issue on its own, if it is unable to fix it, it may not progress or start the next cycle. So, you will need to manually fix the SD error by flushing off the excess suds by running an extra rinse cycle.

How can I prevent the SD error from occurring?

To prevent the SD error from occurring, make sure you are using the right amount and type of detergent, avoid overloading your machine, and regularly clean the drain pump filter. Additionally, only use a detergent that is formulated for your washer type.

How often should I clean the drain pump filter to prevent the SD error?

It is recommended to clean the drain pump filter at least once every two months or as needed based on usage. Cleaning the filter regularly can help prevent excess suds formation and SD errors.

What should I do if the SD error keeps appearing even after troubleshooting?

If you have followed the troubleshooting steps and the SD error keeps appearing, it may indicate a more serious issue with your washing machine. If the SD error problem persists, consider contacting a professional technician for assistance.

Can the Maytag washer be drained manually to get rid of the SD error?

Yes, to manually drain a Maytag washing machine, turn off the power and unplug the machine from the electrical outlet. Next, move the machine away from the wall and remove any laundry from the drum. Then, place the bucket next to the drain outlet to collect as much water as possible, followed by disconnecting the drain hose to pour out the water.

My Maytag washer continues to display the 5d code even after addressing the suds issue. What should I do?

If the code persists, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance. Technical problems may be at play, necessitating the expertise of a skilled technician.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at) portablelaundry.com