In modern kitchens, a dishwasher is a necessary piece of equipment since it makes dishwashing quick and simple. In addition to saving time and effort, a properly functioning dishwasher ensures clean, sanitary dishes for you and your family. However, drainage issues in your dishwasher may hinder its functioning and leave you with dirty, stagnant water.

a woman and a man checking the dishwasher

The dishwasher not draining entirely is one of the most frequent issues that users have. After a wash cycle, water can collect in the dishwasher’s bottom, creating an issue that may lead to unpleasant odors, potential hardware damage, and ineffective cleaning.

The purpose of this post is to provide you with a step-by-step guide for diagnosing and repairing a dishwasher that is not draining. By following these instructions, you might perhaps fix your dishwasher’s drainage system without having to pay for pricey professional repairs.

Understanding the Dishwasher Drainage System

Components of the dishwasher drainage system

To effectively troubleshoot and fix a dishwasher drainage problem, it’s important to understand the key components of the dishwasher drainage system. These components include the drain pump, drain hose, check valve, filters or screens, and the air gap (if applicable). Each element is essential to ensure efficient drainage and water flow.

how dishwashers work?
the component of dishwasher

How the drainage system works

Gravity and mechanical components are used in conjunction to operate the dishwasher drainage system. When the dishwasher completes a wash cycle, the wastewater is pumped out through the drain pump, guided by the drain hose. The check valve stops the contaminated water from entering the dishwasher again. Filters or screens prevent debris from clogging the drainage system, while the air gap (if present) provides an additional layer of protection against backflow.

Why is My Dishwasher Not Draining (Potential Causes Of Drainage Problems)

The improper drainage of a dishwasher can be caused by a number of issues. Common causes include clogged drain filters or screens, a kinked or blocked drain hose, a malfunctioning check valve, a faulty drain pump, or even improper installation or leveling of the dishwasher. You can identify and fix the drainage problem with accuracy by being aware of these possible reasons.

IV. Troubleshooting Steps

Necessary precautions before troubleshooting (Importance of safety when working with appliances)

Power off the dishwasher

Disconnect the electricity to your dishwasher before doing any maintenance. Either unplug the dishwasher from the outlet or turn off the dishwasher’s circuit breaker. By doing this, the possibility of receiving an electric shock while troubleshooting is eliminated.

Power off the dishwasher

Turn off the water supply

Locate and shut off the dishwasher’s water supply valve. By doing this, you may work on the dishwasher without worrying about any water getting inside.

Power off the dishwasher

Allow the dishwasher to cool down

Give the dishwasher some time to cool down after running a wash cycle before making any repairs. Burns or scalds can be caused by hot water and steam.

Wear protective gear

Think about putting on safety goggles and gloves when working on the dishwasher. This protects your hands and eyes from potential injuries and chemical exposure.

Step 1: Check for simple obstructions

Removing debris from the dishwasher drain:

Open the dishwasher door first, then clear the dishwasher tub’s bottom of any visible food residue and debris.

To remove any residue or muck that might be clogging the drain, use a moist cloth or sponge.

Power off the dishwasher

Clearing clogged filters or screens:

Locate the filters or screens in your dishwasher.Normally, you can find them next to the drain at the bottom of the dishwasher.

As directed by the manufacturer, remove the filters or screens.

To get rid of any accumulated debris, give the filters or screens a warm water rinse.

Scrub away obstinate debris gently using a soft brush or toothbrush.

Reinstall the filters or screens back into their original position.

Clearing clogged filters or screens

Step 2: Inspect the drain hose

Checking for kinks or bends in the hose:

Find the dishwasher’s drain pipe near the back of the appliance. The most common form is a flexible, corrugated tube.

Make that the drain hose is not bent, twisted, or kinked since this could prevent adequate water flow.

If the hose has any bends or kinks, straighten it out to create a smooth channel for water to flow through.

Try blowing through the hose to make sure it’s clear.

Clearing clogged filters or screens

Ensuring proper connection to the sink or garbage disposal:

Verify the drainage hose’s connection to the sink or garbage disposal.

Ensure there are no leaks or weak connections, and that the hose is firmly secured.

The hose clamps should be tightened or, if necessary, replaced if there are any leaks.

Step 3: Examining the dishwasher pump

Locating the dishwasher pump:

Normally, the dishwasher pump is found close to the drain at the bottom of the appliance.

For information on the precise placement of the pump, consult your dishwasher’s handbook or internet resources tailored to your model.

Examining the dishwasher pump

Inspecting the pump for blockages or damage:

Disconnect the water and electricity supplies from the dishwasher.

Any coverings or panels that allow access to the pump should be removed.

Check the pump for any visible blockages, such as debris or foreign objects. Use a flashlight if needed.

Clear any obstructions carefully using a pair of tweezers, pliers, or a small brush.

Look for wear or evidence of damage on the pump impeller. For repair or replacement, seek professional advice if necessary.

Step 4: Verifying the check valve

Understanding the function of the check valve:

After the dishwasher drains, the check valve stops water from returning.

It is usually located near the drain hose or pump and may resemble a small plastic or rubber flap.

Inspecting the pump for blockages or damage

Testing the check valve for clogs or malfunction:

Inspect the check valve for any visible blockages or damage.

Gently clean the check valve using a soft brush or cloth.

Manually move the check valve flap to ensure it opens and closes freely.

If the check valve is broken or not working properly, you might want to replace it.

Step 5: Cleaning or replacing the drain pump

Instructions for cleaning the drain pump:

For comprehensive instructions on cleaning the drain pump, consult the dishwasher’s manual or model-specific online resources.

Follow the recommended steps to remove the drain pump safely.

Clean the pump thoroughly, removing any debris or residue that may be causing the drainage problem.

Reassemble the drain pump and ensure it is securely in place.

cleaning the drain pump

When to consider replacing the drain pump:

If cleaning the drain pump does not resolve the drainage issue, or if the pump shows signs of damage or malfunction, it may be necessary to replace it.

Consult a professional technician or contact the dishwasher manufacturer for guidance on purchasing and installing a new drain pump.

Step 6: Additional considerations

Checking the air gap (if applicable):

To stop backflow, some dishwashers have air gaps constructed on the sink or countertop.

Check for obstructions or debris in the air gap. If necessary, properly clean it.

For comprehensive instructions on inspecting and cleaning the air gap, consult the dishwasher’s manual or model-specific online resources.

Ensuring the dishwasher is level:

A dishwasher that is not properly leveled can cause drainage problems.

To make sure your dishwasher is resting squarely on the floor, use a bubble level.

Adjust the leveling feet or legs as needed to ensure the dishwasher is level.

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Consulting a Professional for Advanced Dishwasher Repairs

Even though many drainage problems may be fixed by performing your own DIY troubleshooting, there are some situations when it is advisable to contact a qualified appliance repair technician. Consider contacting a professional under the following circumstances:

Lack of experience or knowledge: If you are unsure about the troubleshooting steps or lack experience in working with appliances, it is safer to seek professional help to avoid causing further damage.

Professional for Advanced Dishwasher Repairs

Complex or advanced repairs: Some drainage issues may require specialized tools or technical expertise to diagnose and fix. The best course of action is to seek professional advice if the issue seems complicated or beyond your scope of knowledge.

Considerations about warranties: If your dishwasher is still covered by a warranty, performing repairs on your own could void it. Check the warranty terms and conditions and consult the manufacturer or authorized repair service for guidance.

Safety issues: Stop any repairs and immediately seek professional assistance if you come across any safety issues during the troubleshooting procedure, such as exposed electrical wires or leaks.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Future Dishwasher Draining Issues

Once you’ve successfully resolved the current dishwasher not draining issue, it’s essential to take preventive measures to avoid future occurrences. Here are some pointers to keep your dishwasher operating at its best:

  1. Regularly clean the dishwasher filter and drain pump to prevent clogs.
  2. Avoid overloading the dishwasher, as it can put additional strain on the drain pump.
  3. Rinse dishes before loading them into the dishwasher to minimize food debris.
  4. To avoid accumulation, use a top-notch dishwasher detergent and rinse aid.
  5. Regularly check the dishwasher drain hose for any signs of wear or damage.
  6. Arrange routine maintenance inspections with a specialist to identify any potential problems early on.

You can dramatically lower your likelihood of ever suffering a dishwasher not draining problem by implementing these preventative strategies.


Q1: Can I use a chemical drain cleaner to unclog my dishwasher?

A1: Chemical drain cleansers should normally not be used in dishwashers. These cleaners can be harsh and may damage the dishwasher’s internal components. It’s best to use manual methods such as clearing blockages with a plumber’s snake or wire hanger.

Q2: How often should I clean my dishwasher filter?

A2: The dishwasher filter should be cleaned at least once each month. However, it’s a good idea to clean the filter more frequently if you see any indications of congestion or diminished drainage.

Q3: Is it normal for my dishwasher to have a slight odor?

A3: It is normal for dishwashers to develop a slight odor over time due to food particles and residue. By routinely cleaning the dishwasher’s filter and drain pump and utilizing a cleaning cycle with a dishwasher cleaner, odors can be eliminated.

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