How to Solve Excessive Foam in Your Washing Machine

Washing Machine with Foam Inside the Drum

Are you worried due to the excess foam in your washing machine?

Don’t be! Well… at least not yet. I know how annoying it can be to have your washing machine produce excessive amounts of foam, as you’re likely thinking it’s indicating a big issue.

However, in many cases, the problem can be easily fixed or is not a problem at all. Below, you’ll find 4 reasons why you’re currently in this situation and some things to consider to address the issue.

When your washing machine is producing excess foam, it might be due to it being a high-efficiency model, exceeding the maximum soap limit mark, soap buildup from other cycles, or even using the wrong kind of soap.

Keep reading to get the foam under control!

Why There’s Excess Foam in Your Washing Machine

Many problems can arise from owning a washing machine, whether it’s a front-load or a top-load. However, excess foam is typically not a mechanical failure, so don’t worry about the costs of repairs just yet!

Here are some things to consider.

#1 Your Washing Machine Is a High-Efficiency Model

Washing machines have come a long way since they were invented. Modern models are very efficient, as they’re designed to deliver great results with small amounts of water.

Lower amounts of water used mean lower utility bills, but it also means that laundry detergents have to do more cleaning with fewer resources. If you’re used to doing laundry with a certain amount of detergent, and you changed your washing machine recently, there’s a good chance that the excessive foam is due to using too much.

Solution: My usual advice is to try lowering the amount of detergent you use per laundry load and see what happens with the foam. You’ll have to go through a small trial-and-error process to get the quantities right, but the foam problem should be resolved once you do.

#2 There’s a Drain Line Obstruction

If your washing machine’s drain line is blocked, it can also explain why you’re stuck dealing with excessive foam during your laundry cycles.

The drain line is responsible for removing all the water used during a laundry cycle to prevent leaking once you oven the appliance’s door. If the line is clogged, water and soap cannot be removed as efficiently, leading to excessive foam and several other issues.

Although not exclusive to the situation, a “SUDS” Error Code on your washing machine’s screen can sometimes be triggered by a draining issue or improper water levels.

Washer drain pump connection
The drain line must be unobstructed at all times to ensure proper water and foam removal.

Solution: You’ll have to check your washing machine’s drain line and remove any obstructions:

  1. Turn off the water supply to your washing machine to prevent leaking.
  2. Locate the drain line coming out of the back of your washing machine (it typically looks like a flexible, corrugated tube).
  3. Check for any bends or kinks on the line that could be obstructing the free flow of water.
  4. Carefully disconnect the line from the washing machine.
  5. Check for clogs or debris blocking the drain line. You can also detach the line completely and try running water through it.

Once the drain line is clear, reconnect it to the washing machine and see if there’s still excessive foam in your washing machine during a cycle.

#3 You’re Going Over the Limit

The next thing you’ll have to check when trying to solve excessive foam in your washing machine is that you’re not exceeding the limit when applying the soap you do your laundry.

We already discussed how you don’t need much soap to properly clean your clothes, given recent formulas. However, it’s also important to look at your soap measuring cup and try to spot a “Max” line.

Solution: From what I’ve seen, soap manufacturers have tried and tested the required amount of soap needed for proper laundry washing, so as long as you find and stick to the “Max” line, your excessive foam issues should be gone unless something else is going on.

#4 The Dispenser Drawer/Housing Needs Cleaning

The next possible reason you’re stuck trying to solve excessive foam in your washing machine is that the soap dispenser is dirty and in need of urgent cleaning.

As time passes, soap can build up and stick to the dispenser drawer and housing, adding more soap than you need with every load. By keeping the dispenser clean, you’ll be ensuring that only the soap you add per cycle is being used to wash your clothes.

Adding soap to washing machine
Cleaning the dispenser drawer/housing often can help remove excessive foam in your washing machine.

Solution: I’ve found that the process of disassembling your soap dispenser drawer/housing to get clear access for cleaning will vary depending on your washing machine’s brand and model. I strongly recommend you check your User Manual for specific instructions on removing and washing your soap drawer dispenser/housing.

If you don’t have the manual handy, please refer to our free resource below for assistance.

Once you have clear access to both parts, my usual advice is to look for any caked-on soap and use hot water, vinegar, and a towel to scrub off any excess.

Solutions for Persistent Issues

If the issues persist after you’ve tried all the steps above, don’t worry; there’s still a lot you can try to stop excess foam in your washing machine. Here are some additional solutions to implement.

Run a Clean Cycle

After you’ve ensured the soap dispenser drawer and the housing are clean and that you’re both using the right amount of soap and sticking to the “Max” line on your measuring cup, my next recommendation is to run a clean cycle.

In my experience, something like “Whitest Whites”, “9+6”, or “Sanitize” will do a great job, as these settings run very hot and take quite a long time, which is ideal for our current purposes.

I recommend taking advantage of your washing machine’s cleaning cycles to get rid of leftover soap.

It’s critical that you start any of the abovementioned cycles with no clothes inside the washing machine, as that will ensure the best results when it comes to removing any leftover soap from your appliance.

Check for Remaining Suds

Once you’ve run the cycles in the section below, I recommend running a few more speed wash cycles to ensure you’ve completed the job.

What you’re looking for is to see less and less suds at the end of each speed wash cycle until there aren’t virtually any. The process will likely take several cycles to complete, but once you reach the finish line, you’ll be happy to know you’ve eliminated any leftover soap residue.

Additional Considerations

As the last part of this guide on how to solve excessive foam in your washing machine, let’s talk about getting creative and using non-standard cleaners. We’ll also discuss a few Google searches you can try to see if your specific washing machine has any known issues online.

Avoid Non-Standard Cleaners

I understand how making your own laundry soap or buying an off-brand product can sound attractive. Maybe you’re looking to use natural ingredients to wash your clothes, or perhaps you’re trying to save some money for a family vacation by buying the cheaper option.

Whatever the case, I strongly recommend sticking to standard cleaners that have been certified to be used in washing machines. Using a non-standard cleaner can result in excessive foaming and suds in your appliance and several other negative effects.

Search for Manufacturer Bulletins

Sometimes, manufacturers release products into the market without knowing they come with problems and faults that will affect thousands of customers worldwide.

If you’re wondering how to solve excessive foam in your washing machine and none of the solutions above have worked, you’ll want to go online and look for “[Your Washing Machine’s Brand and Model] Bulletin“.

I’ve found that if your appliance’s manufacturer has been made aware of a common problem their customers have been affected by over the years, they’ll have discussion forums online and useful solutions.

Keeping Your Washing Machine’s Foam Under Control

That about covers it!

When you’re stuck trying to solve excessive foam in your washing machine, I understand you feel frustrated and probably worried about having to pay for expensive repairs to get things back to normal.

Luckily, as I hope this piece has helped you better understand, addressing the most common causes behind excessive foaming and suds in your washing machine is easy. More often than not, something as simple as cleaning caked-on soap residue from the dispenser drawer/housing will do the trick.

Thanks for reading. If this article was useful and answered your most burning questions, please check out our other resources and free guides below and consider subscribing to our newsletter.

Have a wonderful day!


I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more