We’ve helped come to the rescue last week with cleaning up the mess from a washing machine pouring out dirty water all over the kitchen units and floor. It wasn’t a pretty site, and certainly not expected by the customer who had only just bought the washing machine and had plumbed it in themselves to then realise that the drain pipe had not been secure and had come loose causing dirty water to seep out in the unit underneath the adjacent sink, and then all over the kitchen floor.

An easy mistake to make, and worth making a note now about what we can do to make sure this doesn’t happen to ourselves, or if it does happen, then the best way to deal with it there-and-then. So here’s 6 tips to get you on the right track:

1. Quiz the person who delivers the washing machine on how to correctly install. Even if it’s through a large company, the person there can still often tell you what to do even though their time and remit is restricted. This customer had actually done this, and the company had helped provide a separate extension pipe to connect the cold-water supply to the machine from the connection immediately behind where the machine goes (they tend to only have one cold water supply nowadays rather than a hot one as well).

2. Make sure the connections are tightly on. This is where things went wrong – it was the waste pipe that had gone into the ‘spout’ from the drain pipe underneath the kitchen sink, as the bendy-waste pipe had been correctly sent from the back of the machine through the existing hole in the side of the unit to this area, and clarified with the person delivering that this was the right ‘spout’ to connect into. It was the connection that wasn’t done right, as it needed something like a Jubilee clip to secure this on, otherwise the force of running water just pulled is straight off.

3. If it happens, just get as much water away as soon as possible. Grab a washing up boil, any bucket, even a saucepan and simply place under the pipe so water can go in there. Make sure you then have back-up ones available, as the volume of water coming out will be more than what you expect – so when one is full, you can move the other underneath while you then empty the first one down say the kitchen sink.

4. Decide if you call it quits with the washing cycle. You may want to place a stop to the washing machine mid-flow, although you will have damp clothes part-washed inside that need removing and dealing with until the washing machine is back working, and you’ll still need to check that no final water dribbles out after. Alternatively, sit the wash out, but make sure you’re still around to catch the water as it will tend to come out all of a sudden when a wash cycle has finished.

5. First focus the clean up on getting rid of as much water as possible. Get a mop and bucket, or even a cloth and blow, and just start getting it away from the unit and floor. Move furniture out of the way, check behind cabinets, as water has a habit of getting everywhere, and if it lingers it can rot and smell awful afterwards.

6. Finish the clean-up with a thorough wash of everything. So do a final mop with cleaning substance, wipe down all affected surfaces, and properly wash any pots and items that have had water near them. The problem is that it’s dirty water that has come from the washing machine, and this is the time to get everything ship-shape following the aftermath of the episode.

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