Washing Machine Pump Filter

How-to Most washing machines have a pump filter to protect the pump from a build up of lint, and obstructions such as coins. It should be at the front of the washing machine at the bottom left or right, and should be obvious (a square or round flap) – but some are hidden. A good washing machine filter should have retractable pipe at the side so that you can drain the water into a bowl. If your washing machine is stuck full of water you need to drain it away before removing the filter, check this article before continuing Washing Machine Won’t Drain Water

How do I clean my pump filter – where is the pump filter?

Pump-filter-2 If there’s nothing obvious, the best way to find out if your washing machine has a filter is to read the instruction book (download appliance instruction books). However, if you don’t have an instruction book and there isn’t an obvious one at the front you can carefully remove the kick-strip at the front of the washing machine (if fitted) to see if there is a hidden filter. Don’t bother if it’s clearly just a thin kickstrip but most are built up to go flush with the front panel and can hide a filter. Be careful because they are often flimsy and brittle and can break easily. If your instruction book doesn’t mention a pump filter you shouldn’t need to look for one.

filter behind kick strip The kick-strip usually clips into place with about 3 tabs but as I say, they are sometimes easily broken. I usually place a small flat-bladed screwdriver between the top of the kick-strip and the casing and then gently lever downwards whilst pulling forward but try to work out how to remove it before levering away, it may be screwed in place or clipped at the bottom.

filter inside sump hose Examples of washing machines that sometimes had a totally hidden filter inside the sump hose (the hose from the tub to the pump) are Hotpoint, Indesit, Candy and Hoover. I’m thinking of 10 years back and I don’t know if they still do it, but most washing machines do not hide the pump filter in the sump hose. Such filters were meant to be inaccessible to customers and a stupid place to put one because when it gets blocked, most people are forced to call out an engineer.

Taking the pump filter out

The filter should unscrew anti-clockwise. Some unscrew until they come out and some just unscrew a quarter of a turn or so and allow the filter to be pulled out. Make sure you have at least one large towel to catch water and don't take it out at all if the washing machine still has water in the drum (see next paragraph if it has).

Washing machine pump filter stuck?

I've had cases where the filter appeared to be jammed and wouldn't come out. It proved to be an under wire from a bra or another obstruction that was entangled in it preventing it from unscrewing. I had to remove the main sump hose leading into the pump and retrieve the obstruction from there, which then allowed me to get the filter out.

Once the filter is out

If there is a clear obstruction such as a sock, or a build up of linen, then clean it all out and refit the filter. Make sure it’s replaced correctly and watch for leaks round the filter after the washing machine is up and running.

If you can't see any blockage, or there is just the odd button in there that doesn't account for stopping the pump from working, shine a torch into the pump and look for something that could have got through the filter and jammed the impeller. Use a small screwdriver to try and turn the impeller. They are often slightly stiff and some turn a quarter of a turn and stop until you turn it again. However, it should be reasonably free. Watch out for rubber bands wrapped underneath the impeller making it too stiff for the pump to run.

You can try the washing machine on drain, or spin with the filter out and shine a torch inside to see if the impeller is turning or attempting to turn. Of course if you try to put any more water in, it will run straight out onto the floor.

No pump filter?

Some washing machines, especially older ones may not have a filter. If yours doesn't have a pump filter, then any blockage will be in the sump hose, which is the black hose leading from the tub to the pump. If not in the sump hose, then it could be inside the pump itself, or even the drain hose. Typically, the impeller gets jammed by a small coin, a nail, screw, rubber band or bra wire.

This article is one of a series on pumps, check out my others here –

Buy new pump or filter

Buy washing machine pump If you need to buy a new pump try 4washerhelp spares which is run by the largest UK spares supplier in the UK – Washing machine pumps & filters

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  1. avatarPenny says

    Hi, I removed my washing machine filter but now when I put it back in it just spins round and round, and leaks all over the place, which it previously did not do. Does this mean the thread has gone? I want to avoid getting a repair man out if poss as too expensive.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. avatarMiss says

    Thank you so much for this article. Our Hotpoint stopped draining and I was considering calling out a plumber cos we know next to nothing about plumbing. But lo and behold, the pump filter was lurking behind that panel near the ground, it got cleaned (with a few towels in attendance) and now it’s working again :)

  3. avatarkarin Odendaal says

    Thank you so much!
    Our machine had no filter. But as you were pretty thorough in taking care of every possible cause, we found a small coin in the pump and much to our delight, she is operational once more. Just goes to show, a woman can do it, with help like yours.
    Thank You!!

  4. avatarEileen says

    Thank you so much for your advice via this web page. I have just fixed my washing machine and it is running perfect!!! I cant believe it!!!!!!!!!!!! I was dreading the call out charge and the fact that i would be at the repair mans mercy. Thanks again

  5. avatarKelly says

    My Indesit is leaking from the top of the black hose leading from the tub to the pump, is there a way I can check for a blockage without having to call an engineer out?

  6. avatar says

    Kelly, that’s the sump hose, water could leak from there but it could also leak from somewhere above and run down the side of the outer drum.. Checking for a blockage involves checking the pump filter as described in the article but if there isn’t a filter you have to take off that hose and check.

  7. avatarRachel says

    Thanks a million for the advice!
    I have one of those stupid “filter in the sump hose” hotpoint machines…but thanks to you, net yield from the filter was nearly €6 in change! Machine working perfectly now :)

  8. avatar says

    Tony, I’m not familiar with that particular model but it they normally either completely unscrew screw, or you turn it to the left and then pull it out. It’s possible something could be jamming it from inside if it won’t unscrew. There’s mention of this possibility and possible solutions in this article at the section, “Washing machine pump filter stuck?”

  9. avatarJean says

    Hi, could my failure to ever have opened the pump filter cover be a possible cause for slight water leakage in my 7 year old washer? Thanks.

  10. avatarNicole says

    I had an error message during my wash cycle indicating the machine (Gorentje 7kg) filter needed cleaning.
    I attempted to clean the filter. I first drained the excess water using the small hose behind the filter door (next to the filter). Then attempted to remove the filter by turning it anti-clockwise. It turned for a bit and then it seemed enough but would not come free. I guess something was jammed inside. Unfortunately, the filter cap broke off in my attempts to remove the filter. Can you recommend how I could remove the filter in this case? Thanks. Cheers.

  11. avatarBelinda says

    Can you help
    My Bosh washing machine will not spin
    I have drained it via the drainage hose I then unscrewed the pump cover and found a few hair clips but nothing else.
    Put the machine on drain and wheel at back is turning.
    What else could be the problem?.
    Many Thanks

  12. avatarShree says

    Hi my bush washing machine is 12months old and today it wouldn’t rinse the lifts kept flashing on the “start and door button” so my friend said I should check the filter. So much water leaked out and now the machine is working but the filter is leaking. Iv never opened the filter before until today have I broken it?

  13. avatar says

    Hello Shree. It’s more likely that you just haven’t refitted it properly or maybe some grit or something is preventing a proper seal. It’s possible something could have been stuck inside which floated out when all the water came out. Just drain all the water away, place a large bath towel down and then take the filter off again. Carefully clean around the rubber seal and the actual opening of the filter compartment. Then carefully replace everything and make sure it is nice and tight. You should be able to open filter many times to clean it and then refit it without any leaks.

  14. avatar says

    Hello Belinda. You need to work out if the problem is anything to do with not draining the water or not. If it isn’t spinning because it isn’t emptying the water you need to follow the link at the bottom of my article titled washing machine isn’t pumping out water. But if you’ve got all the water out and it still isn’t spinning follow this article – washing machine not spinning. Unfortunately there are multiple possible causes for both problems.

  15. avatarBecky-Kate says

    Hi, I’ve done all the above for my washing machine that wouldn’t drain. The filter hose bit at the front was clogged full of hair grips and tissue etc so insure that was the problem. All drained and cleaned now but I can’t get the hose back in! The rubber seal seems too thick to pop back in???? Help!!!!

  16. avatar says

    Some pump filters have a round rubber seal. When you push in the filter you usually screw the filter clockwise which squashes up the seal and holds it in place. It’s possible the rubber seal has become hard and un-pliable and is fixed in the squashed position. Make sure you have unscrewed any part of the filter in front of the seal to release any pressure from any plate at the back of the rubber. If the rubber has just set in the squashed formation it needs to hold in place you may need to replace it. The only other thing I would suggest is placing it for several minutes in hot water to try and soften it up before trying to force it in place. I would be wary of using any lubricant in case it slipped out during the wash which would flood the kitchen.

  17. avatarNirmz says

    Hi, our washing machine won’t drain and the pump filter won’t unscrew. As the washing machine is tighly fixed under our countertops bringing it forward is impossible so I don’t think I can get to the sump hose to remove the blockage from there. Is there a way to safely cut off the pump filter from the front before putting a new one in?
    Thanks! :)

  18. avatar says

    No, the washing machine will need to come out to be repaired. The only thing you could do without moving it is to clean the pump filter but not if it won’t come out. If the filter is jammed it may have something stuck inside as mentioned in my article but to deal with that you need to get inside the machine.

  19. avatarMichelle says

    Hi, I have unscrewed the pump cap and the water came out, but after every wash it needs to be drained is this right?
    Thank you

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