How to Run Washing Machine Drain Outside

It is obvious that washing machines require plenty of water and the dirty water generated needs to be drained somewhere. As such, it is necessary at times to run your washing machine drain outside.

If you have the city plumbing in place, the entire process can be seamless. However, if you have a septic system, the process becomes cumbersome because you can’t put all the dirty water from your washing machine in your septic tank.

You will have to run your washing machine drain outside. And doing this can be a little complicated because there are a lot of things to be carefully considered. So, how do you run washing machine hose outside?

In this guide, we give you a better idea of what to do to successfully run your washing machine drain outside.

Is Running the Washing Machine Drain Outside Illegal?

Certainly, there is no straightforward answer to this question. Depending on which state your live in, running your washing machine drain outside can be legal or not. Though, most states do have a legal grey area.

Before you start running your washing machine drain outside, consider checking with your local HOA. Besides, research land ordinances and find out how regulatory boards feel about this plumbing procedure. If your yard falls in the list of deregulated areas, then it is legal to let your washing machine drain outside.

Three Drainage Options for Washing Machine

You have three drainage options to choose from. Let’s look at them in detail:

1.  Laundry Tub

It is necessary to replace the dirty water with a clean one once the wash cycle is running. This way, you will successfully clean your clothes. So, the laundry tub is one of the best options to count on as your washing machine drainage option.

Your washing machine drain hose is located between 25 and 30 inches above the ground and the laundry tub is placed about 12 to 18 inches beside the washing machine. As such, the laundry water tub can be the best drainage option for most washing machines as they can fit. So, if yours fits, then go for it.

2.  Underground Pipe Link

The underground pipe link is another great option for your washing machine to drain outside. However, this option is for those intending to use their washing machine for longer at the same spot. In this case, an underground pipe link is the best option for your washing machine to drain outside.

For the underground pipe link, the pipe should be attached to the drainage hose of the washer and passed through the floor leading the water outside. But if you intend to shift the location of your washing machine soon, this option is certainly not the one for you.

This is because you will have to dig the floor to set the drainage pipe. When you will want to change your washing machine’s location, you will have to dig up to take the drain pipe out. Therefore, take great consideration for this option.

3.  Standpipe

The standpipe option is the easiest and arguably the cheapest option running the washing machine drain outside. Besides, it is a great space saver! All you are required to do is install a standpipe by attaching the drainage hose of the washer so that it drains dirty water from the washing machine to the outside without a hassle.

However, ensure that the pipe you are using is at least 2 inches in diameter to allow smooth water passage. To install a standpipe only requires basic plumbing knowledge, but if you have none, consider calling a professional plumber to install it.

How to Run Washing Machine Drains Outside

Without a doubt, the plumbing setup greatly differs in every washing machine. Regardless, below is a step-by-step general guide on how to run washing machine drain outside. Besides, you can tailor the steps depending on your washing machine and preference.

Step 1: Have a Plan

First, figure out where you want to drain the water from your washing machine.  For instance, you can drain it to a barrel so that you can use it later to water your lawn in the smaller bursts using a watering can. You can also connect it to your irrigation system or just drop a hose outside.

If you settle for draining the water into a barrel, get one that can hold at least 41 gallons because that is the average water load a washing machine generates as waste.

Step 2: Get Supplies that Work with your Plan

With the plan at hand, you can now confidently buy all the required plumbing materials for the project. For instance, if you want to drain your washing machine from the basement to the ground floor, you will require to buy a laundry sump pump.

If you decide to drain the water into the barrel, then you must buy the barrel. Regardless of the plan, you decide to follow, you must get a 1-inch hose to help your funnel the water through. Don’t just start to drain the washing machine water outside without the necessary supplies as it will lead to a disaster.

Step 3: Replace the Current Drain Tube with a New One

Cut the current drain tube of your washing machine and in its place, insert a new tubing. You can then run the new tubing through the drainage system. Ideally, you can choose between a pump, irrigation channel, or sump pit as per your needs.

Step 4: Counter Check Everything

Once you are done with all the installation processes and before you power on your washing machine, it is important to counter-check everything and ensure it is well fitted. If the drain is not watertight, it will certainly result in disastrous water leaks in your laundry room. And this can be a great deal of water damage to your house.

What to Avoid While Draining Washing Machine Outside

Here are some of the things to avoid doing when you are draining your washer wastewater outside in your yard for either irrigation or anything else.

Never Use Bleach Or Borax With Your Laundry

If you decide to extend your washing machine drainage system outside into your yard, then don’t use bleach or borax as one of your washing detergents. This is because the bleach in your wastewater will kill your plants instantly. Besides, the bleach draining into your yard won’t allow any plant to grow because plants don’t grow on soil with bleach in it.

Don’t Wash Clothes with Feces

If you wash clothes with feces in your washing machine, the wastewater will become more black than grey. Moreover, feces and stool contain dangerous pathogens and these harmful pathogens will poison your fruit trees and damage them with different diseases. It is even more alarming if the plants in your yard are edible. If eaten, they may cause you and your loved one serious health issues.

Don’t Use Detergents with Sodium

If you intend to drain the greywater from your washer outside into your yard where there are plants, then avoid using soap detergents with sodium components. This is because the sodium in the greywater will be taken up by plants to build toxicity which in turn will cause stunted plant growth.

Moreover, the sodium compounds will cause irregular and obstructed plant cell development. As such, it is best to consider using detergents with phosphorous as they are safe for plants.


Q: What is blackwater waste?

A: Blackwater is a sanitation term used on water that has been contaminated with compounds such as urine, feces, toilet paper, or any biologically-tainted waste. Owing to the nature of this waste, blackwater is considered to be harmful and heavy in pathogens that can cause serious health problems. Therefore, you cannot use blackwater for cleaning or watering plants in your yard without proper treatment first.

Q: Is there a difference between grey water and blackwater?

A: Grey water refers to water that is drained from bath sinks, showers, and bathroom drain. Ideally, greywater is only tainted and therefore will require light treatment for it to be used for lawn and yard irrigation and cleaning purposes. Gray water may contain elements such as soap and light bacteria but not feces, urine, toilet paper, or vomit contained in blackwater.

Q: Can I dump greywater in the yard?

A: Yes. Grey water is lightly used and doesn’t contain any harmful pathogens as experienced in blackwater. Therefore, it is perfect to dump gray water directly into your yard. However, your HOA might not approve of doing this, therefore, make sure to check for approval.


How to run washing machine drain outside might sound simple enough but it can get out of hand really quick. But, with this guide, we hope you can get everything right, from choosing your ideal drainage option to running your washing machine drain outside.

So, have you run your washing machine drain outside before? What was your experience? Share with us in the comment section!

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