Dirty dishes and a puddle of water are just part of the problem when facing dishwasher draining issues. Why won’t my dishwasher drain properly? A drain hose clog may be causing a backup of water. Use these troubleshooting tips to solve the problem when your dishwasher won’t drain water as it should.

What To Do When Your Dishwasher Won’t Drain Water

Before determining the cause of draining issues, you’ll need to remove any remaining water. Wondering how to drain a dishwasher with standing water? Scoop out as much as possible before using a sponge or towels to absorb the rest. Once it’s removed, here’s how to determine why your dishwasher won’t drain water.

Drain Hose Is Kinked or Clogged

The drain hose connects the dishwasher’s drain pump to a sink or disposal drain, allowing dishwasher water to exit into the drain. This light plastic hose can be subject to kinks that can block the flow of water. While the hose may be gently straightened to remove the kink, a damaged hose must be replaced.

A clogged drain hose can also cause blockages that prohibit water from exiting, causing it to back up into the dishwasher. These clogs are typically located at the hose’s connections to the drain or dishwasher pump and can be removed to resolve draining issues. However, since this can be a complex job, it’s best reserved for a professional service or experienced DIYer.

Follow these general steps to remove drain hose clogs:

  • Consult your user manual to determine the location of the drain pump on your model washer.
  • Disconnect the hose from the drain pump and inspect it for clogs.
  • Carefully remove any blockages with a straightened coat hanger or screwdriver.
  • If there are no visible obstructions, disconnect the hose from the drain to check for blockages on that end.
  • If the obstruction can’t be reached, the hose needs to be replaced.

Dishwasher Filter Needs Cleaning

A clogged filter is one of the most common reasons for a dishwasher not draining. While the filter screens out large food particles to prevent pump clogs, the filter itself can become blocked over time. To avoid blockages, cleaning the filter should be part of monthly dishwasher maintenance. Consult your user manual to determine the location and removal methods for your dishwasher’s filter.

dishwasher won't drain water

Here’s how to clean a dishwasher filter:

  • Take out the dishwasher’s bottom rack
  • Locate the filter on the base of the dishwasher.
  • Remove the filter as specified in your user manual.
  • Rinse the filter under running water, scrubbing any lingering debris with a soft bristle brush.
  • Replace the filter and the dishwasher’s bottom rack.

Dishwasher Drain Pump Malfunction

Is there supposed to be water in the bottom of the dishwasher? If the wash cycle is complete, there should never be water remaining. However, a drain pump malfunction can prevent a wash cycle from completing, leaving water in the dishwasher. This pump uses impellers to expel the dishwasher’s dirty water into the drain hose. When the impellers break or the pump’s motor fails, the dishwasher won’t drain water and it will remain in the tub.

If the impellers are broken or the drain pump motor shows a lack of continuity with multimeter testing, it can’t be repaired. The pump should be replaced by a professional dishwasher repair service.

Air Gap and Garbage Disposal Issues

In some cases, air gap or disposal clogs may be responsible when your dishwasher won’t drain water. If you have an air gap or disposal, they likely share a common drain with the dishwasher. If either is clogged with debris, it can block the drain, causing water to back up into the dishwasher during a wash cycle.

We recommend running the disposal before starting a dishwasher cycle to clear the drain of lingering food scraps. If you have an air gap, remove the cap and use a paper towel to remove any accumulated debris on a regular basis.

Whether your dishwasher leaves dishes wet or won’t drain properly, the technicians at Solar Appliance can help. Call us to resolve any dishwasher issue!