Washing machine leaks

My Whirlpool washer is less than 5 years old and has always performed flawlessly. Just recently it has started to leak from the Left rear corner, but in a strange way. It leaks when first emptying the original soapy water, but does not leak when emptying the rinse water. We have pulled it out and cleaned up the area that had globs of soap on the floor. OP suggests that maybe I have been using too much (liquid) soap. I don't think so, but am willing to entertain any explanation. But why is this showing up now after trouble-free years?
We don't have a snake, but tried running a coathanger down the vent to see if a sock or something is blocking, but it snags retty quickly. Maybe the pipe bends? But if the vent pipe WERE clogged, the rinse water would be leaking as well. ????
I am not in a great position to spend on a plumber, who might charge me 1/4-1/2 of the washer's value, but will have to do it if NG doesn't have any suggestions that we could implement at home.
Any input appreciated.
HB
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On 10/21/2011 12:20 PM, Higgs Boson wrote:

Your observation can be explained by the fact that soap and detergents lower the surface tension of water, making it easier to leak out of a very small opening. Also, if your wash water is warm or hot, and your rinse water is cold, the warmth of the wash water expands the area around the leak, enlarging it.
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HB
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***Thanks, everybody, for all the great suggestions.
I have been on the wrong track.
OP swears it was water backing up out of the drain. I was making wrong assumption that the leak was from the back L. corner of the washer.
To settle the matter I sat on top of the machine during the entire cycles with a strong flashlight trained on the drain and my hand at the ready on the shutoff in the panel.
Sure enough, it drained OK for a few seconds, then the tone changed and water appeared at the lip of the drain. I slammed the shutoff, losing only a small amt. of water on the floor. Waited a few seconds and resumed, same thing.
So it's obvious there is a plug somewhere down the drain. Earlier attempt with a coathanger didn't go far (literally).
Choice of plumber or snake.
Found a helpful video on-line showing the drain being snaked by a device similar to this one from Home Despot:
http://tinyurl.com/3c9exyo
Uses a drill to rotate instead of by hand. Costs $29.95. ===Anybody have plus or minus comments about this snake?====
Earlier, exploring on-line, I found derogatory remarks, perhaps from professionals? about any device below their (electric) heavy-duty snakes, like anything from Lowe's, Home Depot, etc. is "junk". Hmmm... if I have to spend a fortune to get a snake that meets their standards, might as well call a plumber!
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I bought one of these http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100539196/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053 to do a "quick & dirty" attempt to clear an upstairs shower / tub blocked drain for a former boss.
My neighbor laughed & called it "a toy".
I laughed too when I successfully cleared the drain in a few minutes including the time to walk upstairs, clear the drain, test the drain a couple times and clean & stow the snake / auger.
Now he borrows it so often (he's still doing the neighborhood handyman thing) that it lives at his house. :)
Professional plumbers have serious tools to do serious work and avoid expensive (ie, free) callbacks.
If you;re clearing your own drain & access is easy...try this simple tool and see your results.
btw....that shower drain I cleared, used by long haired teenager, is still clear after 2+ years.
Follow up with regular maintenance using Zep DrainCare.
cheers Bob
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***Update: When last heard from, I was about to get a snake to see if that would clear the (I guess?) clog. I got one for $15 something that said Manual/Drill. Trying the Manual first, the handle didn't seem to progress the snake, so I forced it down manually. Pulled up. Nada. OP got on it and pushed it further -- about 10-12'. Encountered "resistance" that was probably the trap. Tip came out clean.
We now have to do the laundry this way: Whoever has the duty stands in front of the washer with a strong flashlight focused on the drain hole, monitoring as the water drains. When the tone changes and water begins to show at the lip, we slam the control knob shut. Very little water escapes. After a few seconds, we open the control knob and repeat the procedure. Same with the rinse cycle. This is "effective" but a PITA. There's got to be a better way!!!
Also, the washer is installed in a narrow cut-out in the kitchen wall with barely an inch or so on each side. We got tired of pulling the washer in & out of its home, worried about damaging something in the guts. So we try to deal with it by chucking rags back there to sop up the spill; hard to recover them.
This is crazy! We're still trying NOT to call a plumber. Not that I don't love & honor my nabe plumber, but $$ is tight.
Is there a SAFE and EFFECTIVE drain cleaner we can try? Lots of brands on the market. I don't want to **** up the (metal) drain.
Sigh!
HB
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On Sun, 6 Nov 2011 18:07:15 -0800 (PST), Higgs Boson

Ask your "nabe" plumber for advice. If that means "neighbor," he won't charge to talk to you. By the time you're done buying snakes, he would have done it for less. Chemicals won't do it.
--Vic
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On 11/6/2011 8:07 PM, Higgs Boson wrote:

One chemical that can be quite effective and worth doing is to use an enzyme cleaner. We use a commercial one that I don't see listed, but here is one: http://www.plumbingsupply.com/roebic.html These are not fast or instant, so if you're jammed up tight don't go here. If you have a slow drain it may be just the thing.
Another non-snake drain cleaner that can really work is a Drain King: http://www.gtwaterproducts.com/drain.html These assume that your piping is in good repair and are able to force water up in the vent system.
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