How to Recover Lost Items from Your Washing Machine

items that could get lost in your washing machine

Noticed a few missing socks from your washing pile recently? They might be stuck inside your washing machine, waiting for you to find them.

It’s really common for items to get lost in the wash, and in fact, most appliance repairers often recover all kinds of things including coins, hair clips and anything else you could think of that would fit inside your pockets.

Let’s take a look at the areas you should check for a lost item in your washing machine.

Check inside the drain pump filter

You might have heard of the filter on a washing machine, but what’s it for?

All of the items you leave in your pockets will eventually make their way through to the filter, where they will block up the pump.

coins stuck inside a washing machine filter

If your washing machine has been struggling to drain recently, it might be because something you have left in the wash has gotten stuck in the filter.

It’s quite straightforward to remove something from the filter. You can follow these steps to try it.

  1. Turn the machine off and remove the power supply.
  2. Get a towel to clean up any water that might spill out.
  3. Pull down the plastic flap on the bottom right of the machine and unscrew the filter. If you think the filter is stuck, then you might have to screw it forward and backwards a few times to dislodge the blockage.
  4. Remove anything you find in the filter and the drain pump.
  5. Refit the filter and make sure it’s tight, but not overly tight as it might cause your washing machine to leak.

Knowing how to unblock the filter on a washing machine is a great skill to have that can save you a lot of money in the future. Blocked washing machines are the most common appliances that repairers visit.

Look in the rubber door seal

The rubber door seal on the front of your machine makes sure that no water escapes from the drum during a wash cycle. If you accidentally leave something in your clothes, then it might get caught in the middle of the seal.

You can inspect the seal by opening the door of your machine and putting your fingers in between where the seal meets the drum and the front of the machine.

checking inside the door seal for lost items

You’ll likely find something at the bottom in the middle, where the drain holes are.

If you do find something, it might be a good idea to give the rubber door seal a clean so that you can keep on top of your machine’s maintenance.

If you inspect the seal and find that it has a rip or a tear due to an item you have left in the wash, then it means that it needs to be replaced.

Check the sump hose

We have discussed the drain pump filter, but what connects to the drain pump? The drain pump housing directly connects to the sump hose, meaning that an item can get stuck there before it hits the drain pump.

Checking the sump hose is a little trickier than the filter and will require you to take some of the machine apart.

Here’s a rundown of how to check the sump hose:

  1. Remove any water from the machine and it from the power supply.
  2. Lean the machine back so that you can work underneath. It’s a good idea to have a bowl and some towels prepared to catch any water.
  3. Remove the kickplate at the bottom of the machine, which will uncover the drain pump housing screws. Unscrew the housing and let the drain pump drop down.
  4. The sump hose will be attached to the house with a metal clip. Use some pliers to loosen off the clip and catch any water that pours out.
  5. You can use your fingers to feel inside the sump hose and look for any items. If you don’t find anything, then you will need to remove the pipe from the drum end. This will typically need to be unscrewed.
  6. If you find the item you’re looking for, you can then refit the sump hose to the drum and the drain pump housing.
  7. Refit the drain pump housing to the cabinet of the machine and refit the kickplate.
  8. Test the machine and pay special attention to any leaks. If you find a leak on your machine, it will probably be because the sump pipe was not correctly fitted back to the drain pump housing.

If you are concerned about the hose leaking after you have taken it off, you can use some cable ties to make it more secure.

Remove the heating element

If you can hear an object inside the drum of your washer but you can’t see it, then it might be stuck near the heating element.

The heating element can be accessed by removing the metal cover at the rear of the machine and can be unscrewed and pulled out.

holding the heater after removing it from a washing machine drum

Removing the heating element gives you good access to the bottom half of the drum. It’s common to find bra wires that have slipped through the holes of the inner drum.

The heating element in a washing machine can cause a range of faults including tripping the electrics and the water not heating up during a wash cycle. It’s also one of the usual culprits for where items get lost in the wash.

Split the drum

If all else fails, then it’s time to get serious. If you’re really struggling to find a lost item or you suspect something is stuck in the drum, then you will have to split the drum.

the inside of a washing machine drum

This means that the drum will have to be removed from the machine, which is a huge repair to carry out.

You can only split the drum on a washing machine that doesn’t have a sealed outer drum.

This means that your machine has bolts that allow you to unscrew and disconnect the front half and the back half of the drum.

Although this type of repair is not as hard as replacing the bearings, it’s still a mammoth task to carry out and you should consider if it’s worth it.

When you split the drum on a washing machine, you will usually have to replace the inner drum seal as they don’t go back on as willingly as they come off.

If you don’t have the skills to do it yourself, a repair bill for this type of repair can cost more than the value of the machine.


Well, there you have it, all the places where you will find a lost item in a washing machine.

Most of the repairs that are mentioned are simple, but a couple of them require tools and the skills to carry them out.

Before you try and repair your machine, you should always consider if it’s worth carrying out the repair.

Some washing machines are fairly cheap to replace and are not worth buying expensive parts or tools for.

If you don’t want to get anything stuck inside your washing machine in the future, it’s always important to check your pockets before your start a wash cycle.

A small coin or a hair band can cause havoc inside a washing machine and can sometimes be the end of a washer’s life.