Washing Machine Leaking From Drawer? (common causes & solutions)

If you find a puddle of water under your washing machine, particularly beneath the soap dispenser drawer after it fills, it’s likely that the leak is located there. 

Often, this issue is caused by a buildup of detergent. Such leaks typically occur when low water pressure prevents detergent from dissolving properly or when too much detergent is used. 

In this article, we’ll show you how to identify, resolve, and prevent such leaks, ensuring your washing machine operates efficiently. Continue reading to learn simple troubleshooting tips and maintenance practices to keep your washing machine running smoothly.

How Can You Determine Where The Leak Is Coming From?

Integrated Washing Machine

A water leak under the washing machine on the kitchen floor can make it tricky to pinpoint the source. 

We suggest putting a sheet of newspaper under the machine before you run it. Then watch the entire wash cycle and take note of where the water soaks the newspaper.

  • Right Hand Leak
    If the newspaper is wet on the right hand side, the leak is likely to be either the pump, sump hose, drain hose, door seal or the drum.
  • Central Leak
    If the newspaper is wet only in the centre the water is likely to be coming from the drum or the door seal.
  • Left Hand Leak
    If the newspaper is only wet on the left hand side, and it begins as the machine fills with water, the leak is likely to be coming from the water valve, the fill hoses connected to the water valve, the soap dispenser box or the soap dispenser hose.

We’ve found that the leak starts on the left side of the machine as it fills with water, and it’s only at the front. This means the leak could be from the detergent drawer, the drum, the door seal, or the hose that runs from the drawer to the drum. 

If the door seal was leaking, it would be obvious. It’s probably not the drum unless the leak doesn’t stop. So, it might be the detergent drawer or the hose connected to it.

It’s also important to make sure that your washing machine is draining properly to avoid leaks during the spin cycle. If the machine struggles to drain, water might splash back up in the soap drawer, causing leaks. 

To check if your washing machine is draining effectively, run it with water and observe whether the water clears out quickly at the end of a wash cycle. If you notice the machine is draining slowly or not at all, this could be the culprit behind the water leaking from the drawer. 

What Is The Most Common Cause Of The Soap Dispenser Drawer Leaking?

In 99 out of 100 cases, the washing machine leaks from the soap dispenser drawer because of too much detergent (overdosing), especially when it’s cheap and low-quality, or due to low water pressure.

Low water pressure can cause the detergent to not dissolve completely, which over time, leads to blockages from detergent buildup, resulting in water leaking from the soap drawer.

What Can Make The Detergent Drawer Leak?

If it is the detergent drawer which is leaking it could be caused by one of the following;

Washing Machine Not LevelIf the machine is leaning forwards, it may cause water to leak from the drawer.Relevel the washing machine to ensure it is flat.
Excessive Water PressureIf the water pressure is too strong it can overwhelm the drawer, causing spills.Adjust the water inlet valve to reduce the flow rate.
Detergent BuildupAccumulation of undissolved detergent or fabric conditioner can physically raise the drawer or block the flow of water, leading to leaks.Clean the drawer regularly to remove buildup.
Blocked Dispenser HoseA hose clogged with detergent prevents water from draining properly, causing it to overflow.Check and clear the dispenser hose of any obstructions.
OverfillingA malfunction in the fill valve may cause the machine to continue filling, making the drawer overflow.Inspect and possibly replace the faulty fill valve.
Motor FaultA rare issue where a power surge causes the motor to spin too quickly, potentially forcing water out of the drawer.Check the motor for issues, consult a professional if needed.
Damaged Dispenser HoseIf the hose has splits or damage, water may leak directly from these flaws.Replace the damaged hose to prevent further leaking.

The Washing Machine Is Not Level

If your washing machine is not level, it could be leaning forwards which would make it easy for water to leak from the drawer.

Water Pressure Too Strong

In some cases, if the water pressure is too strong, it can push too much water too quickly into the detergent drawer.

The drawer can’t cope with that much water in such a short space of time and the result is water spilling from the drawer where it shouldn’t.

A Detergent Buildup

In some cases, the detergent drawer gets scummed up with undissolved detergent or even fabric conditioner. This can form in the drawer, or more likely beneath the drawer. If it does buildup under the drawer, it raises the drawer which allows water to leak from the drawer area.

A Blocked Dispenser Hose

If the dispenser hose becomes blocked with undissolved detergent, water can’t drain properly and will start to gush back into the drawer, spilling onto your floor.

The Machine Overfills

If the washing machine starts its wash cycle but something goes wrong with the fill valve, the machine doesn’t stop filling. This could lead to the dispenser drawer becoming overfull and start to leak. If this is the case, you’ll see that the drum is full of water and this is likely to leak elsewhere too.

Motor Fault

In some very rare cases, the motor can get a power surge which will make it spin fast when it’s supposed to be turning slowly. This could lead to water gushing from the dispenser drawer.

Damaged Dispenser Hose

If the dispenser hose has become damaged and has a split and you’d like to repair it yourself, follow the advice in the following video.

How Does The Soap Dispenser Drawer Work?

Washing Machine Drawer Compartments

The washing machine’s soap dispenser drawer has a simple yet effective design, allowing water from the inlet valve to flow over the detergent in the drawer, which is then channelled into the drum through the dispenser hose.

As dispenser drawers have 3 compartments, most machines have a double solenoid inlet valve. This allows water to be directed to one compartment to flush the contents out on the first opening of the valve. 

Then when it opens a second time it flushes the other detergent compartment. On the third opening both valves open to flood the third compartment.

On many of the more efficient washing machines, there are 3 valves connected to 3 hoses which allows far more control on the flow of water through the compartment. 

The water then runs out of the back of the drawer and into the surrounding container which is often called the soap box.

At the bottom of the soap box is a large hole with a hose connected to it which runs eventually into the drum of the machine.

How To Clean The Soap Drawer

distilled white vinegar washing machine

In all washing machines, the soap drawer can be removed. There’s usually a latch that keeps the drawer secure. You can often find this on the covered part of the dispenser drawer. To remove the drawer, gently push on the covered area while slowly pulling the drawer out.

Once you’ve taken the drawer out, check the space it came from. This area might have a build-up of detergent, mould, or limescale. Gently clean away this dirt with white vinegar on a soft cloth. If needed, you can also use a toothbrush.

You might need to leave the white vinegar to soak for some time before the stubborn pieces can be removed. While you’re waiting, check the hole at the bottom of this compartment and see if there’s any water laying around that area.

If there is, it could be because the drain hose is blocked or partially blocked. If it is, the only way to get to it is to remove the top of the machine and start dismantling parts of the machine. If this is the case, you’d probably do better calling an engineer.

But before you do, try pouring hot water into the pipe and see if you can break up whatever is causing the blockage. There’s a slim chance that this might do the trick, but in many cases the detergent solidifies to such an extent that it becomes as hard as a rock.

The Soap Dispenser

Then wash the washing machine’s soap dispenser drawer thoroughly. Rinse as much detergent from the drawer as possible under a fast running tap. Afterwards, gently scrub the remainder with a soft cloth or toothbrush.

Don’t forget to remove the covered section so that you can give it a good clean too. Check the underside as well because if poor quality detergent is the problem, then it’s likely to have accumulated underneath the drawer too.

How To Prevent The Soap Drawer From Leaking

A person putting laundry detergent into a washing machine

Now that you have resolved this problem by giving your soap dispenser drawer a thorough clean, let’s look at ways to ensure the washing machine will not leak again.

The best way to prevent your soap dispenser drawer from leaking is to;

  • Use better quality detergents
  • Use the correct amount of detergent (don’t overdose)
  • Clean the drawer every month
  • Remember to remove the cover from the conditioner dispenser and wash it thoroughly
  • Wash the bottom of the drawer
  • Ensure the inside of the machine where the dispenser drawer sits is clean


Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my washing machine leaking from the drawer?

If your washing machine is leaking from the soap dispenser drawer, it is usually caused because of a buildup of detergent. The buildup either blocks the dispenser hose or it can raise the drawer up due to a buildup under the drawer. In some rare cases an increase in water pressure can be the cause.

Why is my washing machine leaking from the drawer when filling?

If your washing machine leaks from the drawer when filling, it could be due to excess detergent use or low water pressure preventing proper detergent dissolution. Ensure the machine is level, and regularly clean the drawer to prevent residue buildup. Checking and adjusting water pressure might also help.

Why is the water coming out of the powder drawer on my washing machine?

If water is coming out of your soap dispenser drawer on your washing machine it is usually caused by a buildup of detergent which is blocking the dispenser hose. Remove the dispenser drawer from your machine and clean all of the gunk from it. This will usually solve this problem.

Why is there water in my fabric softener dispenser?

Water in the fabric softener dispenser is normal. It is part of the syphoning process of the washing machine.

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