Troubleshooting: Dishwasher Not Draining


Troubleshooting: Dishwasher Not Draining

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Whether you have a busy schedule or simply enjoy the convenience, there's no doubt that a dishwasher is an indispensable home appliance for many. However, like all appliances, it can run into problems, one of the most common being the dishwasher not draining. This issue is not only frustrating but can also lead to bad odors and even potential damage to your kitchen. In this blog post, we will explore the reasons why your dishwasher might not be draining, along with effective solutions to fix the problems.

The Reason Behind Your Dishwasher Not Draining

Are you wondering why the water in your dishwasher is not draining completely after a wash cycle? Let's delve right into the possible causes and understand each one better.

Blockage in the Drain Hose

One of the most common reasons could be a blockage in the drain hose. It could be either due to food particles or a kink in the hose inhibiting the water flow.

Problem with the Drain Pump

The drain pump could be another potential source of the problem. If it's either faulty or clogged, the water will not drain out of the dishwasher.

Malfunctioning Check Valve

A check valve ensures the water flows out of the dishwasher and prevents it from flowing back in. A malfunctioning check valve could be why your dishwasher is not draining.

Broken Garbage Disposal

Some dishwashers are connected directly to the garbage disposal. If you’ve recently installed a new disposal and forgot to knock out the drain plug, this could result in your dishwasher not draining.

Effective Solutions for Dishwasher Not Draining

Frustrating as it may be, there are several ways you can rectify this issue for a more efficient dish cleaning experience. Let's dive into the solutions.

Cleaning the Dishwasher

Quite often, the simplest solution can be the most effective. Thoroughly cleaning the dishwasher can help remove any food residue or small objects that might block the water flow. Steps for cleaning include:

  • Using a dishwasher cleaner or a cup of vinegar for the cleaning process.

  • Removing and cleaning the filter.

  • Cleaning the spray arm to make sure that no debris clogs the holes.

Inspecting the Drain Hose

If cleaning doesn't solve the issue, inspect the drain hose. Look for any blockages or kinks. If necessary, you may need to replace the hose.

Checking the Drain Pump

The drain pump could be another culprit. If it's making a humming noise, this could indicate a clog. If it remains silent, it might be faulty and may need to be replaced.

Repairing the Check Valve

Precise inspection of the check valve helps determine whether it’s working correctly or needs repair. It's a small plastic part located at the end of the drain hose. Check for any mechanical issues or obstructions. If any are found, a replacement could be necessary.

Checking the Garbage Disposal

Make sure you've removed the drain plug from the garbage disposal if your dishwasher is connected to it. If you’ve recently installed a disposal and missed this step, it could block the water from draining out.

A dishwasher not draining can be a considerable inconvenience but can often be fixed with simple solutions. However, if the problem persists, it's best to call a professional for help. They can diagnose and fix the problem, preventing any further damage to the dishwasher or your kitchen. Regular maintenance of your dishwasher can also help avoid these issues. Remember, prevention is better than cure.

Frequently Asked Questions: Dishwasher Not Draining

Why isn't my dishwasher draining properly?

There are several reasons why a dishwasher might not drain properly. These could include a blocked or clogged drain, a faulty drain pump, or issues with your plumbing system. Other possible issues might be a damaged belt or a problem with the check valve. It might also be something as simple as a piece of food or other debris stuck somewhere in your dishwasher.

How can I check if the dishwasher drain is blocked?

There are several signs to tell if your dishwasher drain is blocked. If there's standing water at the bottom of your dishwasher after a wash cycle, it's likely there's a clog. Another sign could be an unusual or odd smell coming from the dishwasher, usually caused by stagnant water. To manually check, you can try to look for any visible food debris or residue in the drain at the bottom of the appliance.

Can I fix a dishwasher that's not draining by myself?

While it's always advisable to consult with a professional for appliance repairs, there are a few basic troubleshooting steps you can try to fix a dishwasher that's not draining. Always remember to disconnect the appliance from its power source before you begin any form of repair or maintenance.

What do I do if the drain pump on my dishwasher is faulty?

If your dishwasher's drain pump is faulty, it will likely need to be replaced. This is a complex task that involves disconnecting and reconnecting multiple electrical and water connections, so it's highly recommended to leave this task to the professionals.

Can a dishwasher's draining issue be attributed to plumbing problems?

Absolutely. Sometimes, the cause of a dishwasher not draining may not be the appliance itself, but an issue with your overall kitchen plumbing. For instance, if the sink drain is clogged, the dishwasher may also have draining issues. If you have tried other solutions without success, a plumber might be needed to troubleshoot and fix the problem.

Does a piece of food or other debris affect dishwasher draining?

Yes, it can. Occasionally, a small piece of food or other debris might get stuck in the drain or around the pump impeller, preventing water from draining out of your dishwasher. Regular maintenance and cleaning can help prevent such issues.

Will running a dishwasher cleaner help if my dishwasher is not draining?

Yes, running a dishwasher cleaner could potentially help if your dishwasher isn't draining properly. It can help clean out any debris or grease build-up that may be causing the drainage problem. However, this should not replace regular maintenance and professional assistance if the problem persists.

How long does it usually take for a dishwasher to drain completely?

Typically, it should take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes for a dishwasher to drain completely after a wash cycle. If your dishwasher is taking longer to drain, or not draining completely, there may be a problem.

What steps can I take to maintain my dishwasher to prevent draining issues?

Regularly cleaning and maintaining your dishwasher can prevent many draining issues. This includes cleaning the filter, ensuring that the dishwasher spray arms are not blocked, and frequently running a dishwasher cleaner to prevent build-up. Damaged or worn out components should also be replaced in a timely manner.


If you have a dishwasher not draining, it can turn into a real headache. You might be looking at a clogged drain line, a broken pump, or a malfunctioning check valve. Dealing with these issues can feel daunting, but it's not that bad once you understand the underlying problem. Always remember to keep your machine clean, regularly check the infrastructure, and call a professional if issues persist.

Remember, a dishwasher not draining isn't a sign of the apocalypse. It's just a common, everyday issue that many homeowners have to deal with. So, don't panic. Try out the simple fixes first, like checking the drain hoses and filters for clogs, and if all else fails, find a trusted appliance repair company to resolve the issue. You’ll have your dishwasher back to top form in no time.

Having a dishwasher not draining can feel like a nightmare, but it's usually an easy fix. Instead of immediately fearing the worst, take a moment to troubleshoot. It might just be a minor problem you can handle on your own without calling in the professionals. Keep your appliances running smoothly by spotting and addressing problems early, and get back to enjoying sparkling clean dishware for every meal.

About Perfect Air & Water Services

Welcome to Perfect Air & Water Services! We're a Lakewood, NJ based company, committed to providing you with top-notch air and water treatment solutions. Our team is not just about fixing things; we go the extra mile to ensure your home or office doesn't just look good, but feels good too. As a locally owned and operated company, we pride ourselves on our commitment to the community and delivering excellent customer service. We can't wait to show you the Perfect Air & Water Services difference!