Cleaning, Laundry, Maintenance

Fix the F21 Error Code- Unclog the Washer Drain

How to fix an F21 error code

Hold onto your capes ladies, this one’s gonna be a doozie. For those of you sensitive to smells, make your husband, boyfriend, good friend do it for you and pay them in cookies. This video here shows the possible nastiness within and HORRIBLE (and by horrible I mean “HOLY BATMAN SOMETHIN’ DIED IN THERE”) smell. You have thus been warned.

I have a Whirlpool Duet HT front loader washer and it kept taunting me with an F21 error code and refused to finish some cycles. Determined to fix the flashing code I harnessed the power of Google, I quickly found out that the code meant my drain was clogged. Awesome. How does a drain I don’t even know about get clogged? After some YouTube-ing and an informative video later (which I cannot find at the moment, frowny face) I got my pink tool set and proceeded to take my washer apart, well the bottom half at least. Here’s how I unclogged my washer drain (at a later date and time when I remembered to take photos).

I needed:


-9×13 pan or towel to catch water

-Garbage can


-Cleaning Cloth

-A Hazmat Team (just kidding… maybe)

Step One: Unplug the washing machine. Water and electricity do not play nice with you, so please don’t get electrocuted.

Step Two: Remove bottom panel by removing three screws.

remove washer panel
My washer uses a T10 screw. I just looked for a small star shaped bit in my tool bag.
unclog washer drain
This is what it looks like behind that panel.

Step Three: Pull drain out for easier access by removing screws or rubber footings then place over pan to catch water.

Step Four: Prepare for the worst stink of your life. Place the towel or pan under the drain to catch the water; there will be a good amount. Hold your breath and unscrew the drain.

unclog washer drain
The pan has 1/ 2″ of water after a recent wash. Later when you put the drain back in, match the arrows/notches together.

Step Five: Dump the gross blob of gunk in the trash as fast as you can and close the lid. Rinse the filter to get rid of any remaining goo and thoroughly clean it if you so desire.

Step Six: Use the flashlight to check connecting tubes for debris. Wipe the filter area and tube connected to the water pump to remove additional debris.

clean out washer drain
Remove any string, goo, bobby pins, ect. sticking out from here.

Step Seven: Replace the drain filter in the correct position and screw it back in. You may stop holding your breath now if you haven’t already.

Step Eight: Put everything back where you found it and take a long hot shower.

Totally worth it, I promise. This fixed my F21 error code and my washer has been working like a charm since. I think that cleaning out the drain may help with some stink issues in the washer drum. Total time it took me to clean out my drain: 20 minutes. I had a little difficultly getting the panel back on because the screws are so close to the floor and have a small clearance of space to work with.

Happy Cleaning.

*Disclaimer* I am not a washer repair person and this repair may or may not fix your F21 error code. Performing your own repairs may void your warranty if applicable.