Washing Machine Leaking From Top or Bottom? (Common Causes)

Washing Machine Leaking From Top or Bottom

Washing machine leaks are a real pain to deal with.

This guide will explain the most common reasons washing machines spring leaks in an easy-to-understand way.

Things like cracked hoses, broken door seals, or a faulty pump are usually the culprits.

By troubleshooting the problem, you may be able to replace just a small part instead of calling for an expensive repair.

Why Is My Washing Machine Leaking?

There’s nothing more frustrating than walking into your laundry room only to find a pool of water on the floor from your washing machine leaking.

While it’s an annoying issue to deal with, there are several common issues that could be causing the leak.

Faulty Gaskets or Door Seals

One of the most frequent reasons for leaks is faulty gaskets or door seals. The rubber gaskets and seals are designed to prevent water from escaping, but over time they can crack, stiffen, or become dislodged, allowing leaks to spring up.

If you notice water puddles around the door area, this is likely the issue.

Damaged Drain Hoses

Another common source of leaks relates to the water supply and drain hoses. If these hoses are damaged, improperly connected, or the wrong size, they can spring a leak during operation.

Inspect the hoses for any cracks, corrosion, or loose connections, and make sure they are securely fastened to both the washer and water supply.

Faulty Pump or Pump Seal

The pump and pump seals are also frequent sources of washing machine leaks, especially if you notice puddling at the bottom of the unit.

Most washers have a pump to circulate and drain water, and if the pump housing, hoses, or seals are worn out, you’ll get water leaking out.

Other Common Reasons

Issues like a malfunctioning pressure switch, broken water level switch, or stuck door latch can also lead to overfilling and overflowing leaks. The level sensors and door closure are key to regulating water levels during the cycle.

If you have a top loading washer, a damaged tub cover gasket around the lid could be the leak source during spin cycles when water gets flung around.

For front loaders, take a close look at the big rubber door boot seal for any rips, cracks, or loose areas.

Why is My Washing Machine Leaking From the Bottom?

Washing machine leaks can come from the bottom, top, or even the door. Being able to determine the source of the leaks makes the troubleshooting process a lot easier.

If your machine is leaking from the bottom, here are the most likely reasons and what you should do about them:

Faulty Drain Pump

The drain pump is responsible for removing the dirty water from the wash tub after each cycle completes.

This hardworking component can crack, sustain other damage, or simply wear out over time.

When this happens, you’ll likely notice water continuously dripping or even flowing from the bottom whenever the washer is draining or filling.

To investigate, unplug the washer and locate the drain pump, usually situated at the bottom front or back.

Check for any visible cracks, deterioration, or loose pump/hose connections that could allow water escape.

If the water pump itself seems compromised or leaks persist even after tightening connections, you’ll have to replace it.

Overfilled Tub or Defective Water Level Switch

All washing machines contain a water level switch or sensor that determines when the tub has filled to the proper level for the selected cycle.

If this component malfunctions, it can cause the tub to overfill with water that then leaks out from the bottom area and potentially other parts of the washer.

To see if this is the issue, run a small test load. If the drum seems excessively full of water, the water level switch likely needs adjustment or replacement.

This part is commonly located behind the control panel and may require disassembly to access.

Damaged or Disconnected Drain Hose

The drain hose is responsible for carrying wastewater out of the washing machine and into the home’s drain or standpipe.

If this hose gets punctured, disconnected from the drain pump, obstructed by debris, or sustains any other damage, it’ll start leaking from the bottom as water tries to escape elsewhere.

Check the entire length of the drain hose for any cracks, kinks, or separations from the pump housing.

Ensure it is cleared of any obstructions and that all hose clamps and connections are secure. Any issues with the drain hose will require replacement.

Deteriorated Door Gasket/Seal

For front-loading washers, inspect the large rubber door gasket (or “boot seal”) closely. This creates the water-tight seal around the door opening when closed.

If the gasket becomes dried out, cracked, torn, or gets dislodged, water can escape down to the bottom area.

Run your hand along the full circumference of the door gasket, checking for any problematic areas.

A deteriorated or displaced gasket will need to be replaced to restore the door’s water-tight seal.

Cracked Tub Assembly

Both top-load and front-load washers have an outer tub that surrounds and supports the inner perforated spin tub. This outer tub holds the wash and rinse water during cycles.

Cracks, holes, or other damage in this outer tub will result in continuous leaking from the bottom.

Inspecting the tub itself requires disassembly, so this may need to be left to an appliance repair professional unless you have the technical abilities.

A compromised tub assembly often warrants full washing machine replacement depending on the unit’s age and condition.

Leaky Water Inlet Hoses/Valves

Don’t overlook the water inlet hoses that supply fresh water to the tub for filling or the inlet valve they connect to.

Cracks in these hoses, improperly secured connections, or a faulty water inlet valve can cause water to leak out right away as the tub fills.

Examine the inlet hoses closely for any damage, kinking, or separations, and ensure all connections are tight.

If the valve itself seems faulty, it likely needs replacement by a qualified technician.

Why is My Washing Machine Leaking From the Bottom of the Door?

Is your washing machine leaking from the bottom of the door and you can’t seem to tell why?

Here are some of the most common reasons behind a washing machine leaking from the door:

The Door Gasket/Seal

This is the number one suspect when water starts escaping around the door.

The large rubber gasket creates the critical airtight, water-tight seal when the door is closed. Over years of use and hundreds of cycles, this gasket can degrade.

Inspect the full circumference by running your hands along the gasket. Look and feel for any tears, rips, hardening, brittleness, or waviness in the rubber. Even small holes or obstructed areas can be enough to allow water seepage.

Trapped items like stray socks, coins, or debris stuck in the gasket folds can prevent a full seal.

The Door Itself

While less common, cracks or holes in the washing machine door itself can allow water to escape and pool below, especially during a high-speed spin cycle.

Inspect the door glass closely, looking for any chips, cracks, or damage.

Faulty Door Latch or Switch

If the door isn’t properly latching and sealing shut, you’ll likely experience leaks due to the inability to create that critical air/water-tight seal.

The latch hook or door switch that signals the door is closed could be defective or stuck.

Try doing a simple door closure test during a cycle to see if it is indeed not sealing properly.

If the door seems misaligned, the latch or switch may need adjustment or replacement.

Oversudsing Issues

Using too much detergent can cause excessive sudsy overflows that can exit around the door area and drip down below. This is more common if you have a household water softener, as it can cause high suds with normal detergent amounts.

If you notice lots of soap suds remaining on the door glass after cycles, try cutting back on detergent amounts. You may need to switch to a low-sudsing high-efficiency (HE) detergent as well.

Dispenser Drain Leaks

Some washing machines have the detergent dispenser situated just behind the door area.

If this dispenser drain gets clogged or begins leaking, it can cause water trails that make it appear the leak is coming from the door area when it’s actually an internal dispenser issue.

For leaky dispensers, you’ll have to disassemble, clean, and reseal them as needed.

Why is My Washing Machine Leaking From Top?

Is your washing machine leaking from the top? Well, here’s the reason why:

For top-loading washers, one of the common causes is a clogged overflow tube.

This tube helps drain excess water during overfill situations, but if it becomes obstructed with lint, detergent residue, or debris, the water has nowhere to go except out the top.

Another factor is an unlevel washing machine. If the machine is not properly balanced on all four legs, the excessive shaking and sloshing during spin cycles can force water to escape out the top area.

Use a level tool to ensure your washer is evenly positioned.

With front-loaders, overloading the drum beyond its maximum capacity increases internal water pressure, which can lead to leaks around the door gasket and top areas.

Always follow the recommended load limits for your model.

That main rubber door gasket or bellow seal on front loaders is also prone to deterioration over time.

Inspect it carefully for any cracks, tears, or hardening that could compromise the water-tight seal around the door, allowing leaks.

Sometimes, the issue is as simple as leaving the drain plug or hose improperly cleared after a cycle.

This blockage prevents proper draining, forcing water to back up and leak out the top.

Lastly, failures with the drain pump system, such as a damaged pump, cracked hoses, or clogs, can cause water backflow and top leaks as pressure builds up with nowhere to drain.

Why is My Washing Machine Leaking When Not in Use?

Most of the time, the washing machine leaks during operation. However, there are times when it can leak even when the machine is not being operated.

For those times, here are the reasons behind it and what you should do about it:

Let’s start with the door area on front-loaders. That big rubber gasket that seals the door needs to be inspected regularly. Look for any cracking, hardening, or warping that could break the water-tight seal.

While you’re there, ensure the door latch and switch are functioning properly to create that tight closure.

Now, step back and check those water supply hoses that feed into your washer. Cracked, kinked or loose hoses are a frequent leak source, so give them a thorough once-over.

The same goes for any internal hoses or connections inside the machine itself.

Don’t forget about the drain system components like the pump, hoses, and housing seals/gaskets. Clogs, damage, or deterioration here can cause water backups and leaking.

For top-loaders specifically, inspect that outer tub closely. Cracks or holes will obviously let water escape. The overflow tube and rinse system are other prime suspects.

Lastly, using too much detergent leads to excessive suds that increase pressure and force water out through any openings or weaknesses.

Is it Worth Fixing a Leaking Washing Machine?

If you’ve noticed water pooling around your washing machine, you’re likely wondering whether it’s worth repairing or if you should just bite the bullet and buy a new one.

Like many household appliance decisions, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but considering a few key factors can help you make the right choice.

The Severity of the Leak Matters

Minor leaks that result in just a small puddle after each wash cycle usually indicate an inexpensive fix is needed – something like tightening a loose hose clamp or replacing a worn door gasket.

However, if you’re noticing larger puddles or streams of water, that could point to a bigger, costlier problem like a cracked tub or failed pump.

Consider the Age of Your Washer

Washing machines typically last around 10 years with proper care and maintenance. If yours is nearing or past that decade mark, replacing rather than repairing a significant washer leak may be wiser.

It’s generally recommended to replace your washer if it’s more than 8 years old and the repair will cost over 50% of a new machine’s price.

Get a Repair Estimate First

Before deciding either way, get a quote from an appliance repair service for how much it will cost to fix the leak.

As a rule of thumb, if that repair quote is less than half the cost of a new washing machine, fixing the leak is often worthwhile, especially for high-end or gradually built models.

Weigh Repair Costs vs A New Machine

Along with repair estimates, look at the costs of a new washing machine that fits your needs and budget.

If the repair will cost more than 50% of a new model’s price, replacement is generally the more economical long-term choice. You’ll also gain the benefits of a new machine’s increased energy efficiency, updated features, and a fresh warranty.


Leaky washing machines are such a pain but don’t get too worked up over it. As we covered, the cause is often something pretty straightforward that you can likely fix yourself with some basic tools and an inexpensive replacement part.

Maybe it’s just a cracked hose, bum door seal, or the drain pump acting up.

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