Under 2 hours
When dishwashers fail to drain correctly, they can create a real inconvenience in your kitchen. Before you begin troubleshooting, it’s important to understand how dishwashers drain and why dishwashers don’t drain properly at times.
This guide will explain how to fix the issue of a dishwasher not draining.
How a Dishwasher Drains
The dishwasher is connected to a drain hose that runs water into the pipes under or into your sink. Sometimes the plumbing connections in your sink begin to deteriorate and need to be replaced, or there may be excess debris clogging the bottom of your unit. When you have a problem with a dishwasher not draining, you’ll see water and even bits of food at the bottom of it.
When There’s Standing Water in the Dishwasher
When you have a problem with the dishwasher not draining, you may have standing water in the bottom of it. If you open your dishwasher and find a puddle, try running it again. When a dishwasher gets interrupted for some reason, it may not finish its cycle. Restarting it may solve the problem.
If there is still water standing in the dishwasher after the second cycle, you’ll need to take a closer look. Before you begin work on the dishwasher, cut the power to it off at the circuit breaker box.
To see what’s going on inside the dishwasher, you’ll need to remove the water. Start by covering the floor near the dishwasher with towels. Set a bucket nearby. After you’ve scooped out all you can, dry out the rest with towels.
Another way to remove the water from the bottom of the dishwasher is to use a wet vac to suction it all out. Once you have figured out how to drain a dishwasher that's not working, you can focus on what might be causing the problem.
Check the Plumbing Connection Points
When your dishwasher won't drain, check the drain hose connected to it. Make sure the hose is still securely connected to the sink or garbage disposal. It should also be clear of food and garbage remnants.
Also take a look at the hose clamp and drain solenoid. All of these parts are vital to the operation of the drain valve. If any of these components look worn or show signs of damage, you should replace them immediately.
Turn on the Garbage Disposal
Try turning on the garbage disposal. Built-in dishwashers are usually designed to drain via the garbage disposal. If your disposal still has leftover food inside, turn it on to clear the passage.
If the disposal is making a loud noise when you turn it on, it may be clogged. Try drain cleaner to remove garbage buildup or mineral deposits. If that doesn't work, you may need to troubleshoot the garbage disposal clog.
Check the Sink's Air Gap Cylinder
An air gap cylinder keeps water flowing in the right direction during the dishwasher’s cycles. It also prevents wastewater from backing up into the dishwasher. It should be located behind the sink and near the dishwasher outlet hose.
Check the air gap cylinder to make the inside is clear. If you notice any buildup, clean it out and make sure it’s tightly secured.
Check the Dishwasher Filter
- After you’ve checked the plumbing, check inside the dishwasher along the bottom of the tub for food and waste buildup. Clean the area with a rag or abrasive sponge.
- Check the filter. It will be located at the back or along the bottom of the tub near the spray arm. New units have smaller grids that are built into the base. These are designed to protect the filter from buildup, but sometimes debris can still accumulate.
- Use a screwdriver to unscrew the casing. Remove the filter and clean it as needed.
Clean the Drain with Baking Soda and Vinegar
- If none of these tactics work, try clearing the drain from inside the dishwasher. Use a DIY mixture of equal parts baking soda and vinegar to unclog the drain.
- Pour the solution into the basket at the bottom. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Finish by pouring hot water down the basket and running the rinse cycle.
How to Prevent Dishwasher Clogs
- Remove crumbs and other leftover food from your plates, bowls and other dishes before loading the dishwasher.
- Choose a hot water cycle when you use the dishwasher.
- Keep your dishwasher clean and in good working order. Wipe down both the outside and the inside, cleaning all the dishwasher parts you can access.
- Regular check the filter and remove anything that might be stuck in it.
- Run the dishwasher often, always using dishwasher detergent. Its normal operations help keep it cleared out.
You may be able to solve the problem of a dishwasher not draining by yourself. But if you can’t, you may need to contact a professional to fix the appliance. The Home Depot can help with plumbing repairs.
Shop this Project
Explore More on homedepot.com
Doors & Windows
Heating, Venting & Cooling
- BEYOND PAINT 1 pt. Off White Multi-Surface All-In-One Furniture, Cabinets, Countertop and More Refinishing Paint
- IDEAL 34 Yellow In-Sure 4-Port Connector (10-Pack)
- Noble House Cecilia Natural Fabric Swivel Chair with Loose Cover 8149
- Glacier Bay Parsons 3-Piece Bath Hardware Set with Towel Bar Paper Holder Towel Ring in Brushed Gold BTH
- Buy BESSEY 2 in. Capacity 90-Degree Angle Clamp with 1-1/8 in. Throat Depth
- Concepts In Wood 84 in. Cherry Wood 18-shelf Standard Bookcase with Adjustable Shelves