Here's how to disconnect a washing machine – whether it's leaking or being replaced

Need to know how to disconnect a washing machine, whether for maintenance or before installing a new one? It's easier than you might think...

how to disconnect a washing machine
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Wondering how to disconnect a washing machine? If you're replacing your old washing machine with a new one (not doubt picked from our guide to the best washing machines, right?), you'll need to know how to disconnect the pipework – and that's a pretty simple job.

However, if you're not replacing the machine but are dealing with a machine that is leaking or has activated its anti-flooding mechanism, you'll need to perform a different procedure. We've covered both below, so keep reading for more information

How to disconnect a washing machine 

To properly disconnect your washing machine, you first will need to switch off the water supply (under your sink, or, in older properties, in the bathroom, usually behind the bath). Then, arm yourself with a bucket and towels, as you will need to collect the water that will come out of the pipes – don't be alarmed by this, it's normal. 

Pull out the washing machine – do this gently, to avoid scratching your floors. Once you've pulled it out enough for you to get in behind the machine, switch off the electric supply and unplug. You will see two pipes: the water pipe (usually blue, connected to the wall) and the waste pipe, usually grey and ribbed, connected to the kitchen waste. You'll need a wrench to unscrew the water pipe from the wall. Do this carefully, with the bucket positioned underneath the pipe, as some water will come out. Once you've disconnected it from the wall, pull out the other end from the machine. 

The waste pipe is even easier to remove – simply pull it off, but again, taking care to catch any waste water that comes out as you do so. Again, disconnect the other end from the machine. Mop up any excess water on the floor with a towel. That's it, you're ready to remove your old machine.

My washing machine is leaking water – what do I do?

A washing machine that's in good working order suddenly leaking water can be very alarming. However, before you rush to call the plumber, try a couple of simple tricks, as it's likely not a plumbing leak. Sluggish, inefficient draining is often to blame for a washing machine not coping and leaking. Another possible reason for the leak is that you haven't cleared the washing machine filter in a while. Some washing machines also become overwhelmed by too much detergent – they can't drain all the foam quickly enough and begin spouting water from the detergent tray. 

What you do next very much depends on your washing machine type: if it has an anti-flooding device, it will lock itself down to prevent any more water coming out. If it doesn't have anti-flooding technology, you must turn off your water supply asap, or you could end up with some serious water damage in your kitchen or utility room. Once the water has stopped flowing out (whether because the machine is in lock down mode or you've switched off the water supply), pull it out and switch it off at the mains. 

Now, you will need to make sure you've drained all the water out of the washing machine – again, you will need lots of towels and/or a bucket. First, inspect the filter (bottom front of your machine): you'll likely have a lot of water coming out of there. Clean the filter thoroughly and fit back in. Next, check that nothing is stuck in the drain pipe. Disconnect, let water flow out, then reconnect.  

Next – this is especially important for washing machines with anti-flooding devices – rock the machine gently back and forth; there'll be some further water coming out. When this has stopped, and you've mopped up and water on the floor, switch the machine back on at the mains, and push it back in. Check that the drain pipe isn't being squashed at the back – you may need to not push it in all the way if that's happening. Switch the machine back on, and put on a quick cycle without any clothes (bucket and towels at the ready). If it's still leaking at this point – or won't come out of lock down mode – it's time to call in a professional.