How to Fix a Dishwasher That is not Draining: DIY Methods from Experts


A frequent issue reported to plumbers from homeowners occurs when the dishwasher doesn’t drain. While it’s a bit nerve-wracking to open your dishwasher door and find standing water in the bottom, it’s not always an emergency plumbing situation. In fact, you might be able to fix the issue on your own without the help of a professional. Although there could be several reasons why a dishwasher doesn’t drain, the issue can usually be solved with just a few troubleshooting steps. Find out the steps to fix a dishwasher that is not draining and the best ways to ensure your dishwasher is running properly in the future.

How to fix a dishwasher that is not draining

Here are some easy tips on how to fix a dishwasher that is not draining. You can also follow the youtube video below.

Read more: How to fix a dishwasher that will not turn on

Eliminate any standing water

If the disposal isn’t able to aid (or if you don’t have one), then it’s time to empty the water and take more closely at potential sources. Put absorbent towels on the bottom of the dishwasher. Then take the dish tray off the bottom by simply sliding it away. After the tray is taken out of the way and removed. Use a plastic cup to pour the stinky and sour water into the bucket to dispose of. When the water level isn’t high enough to scoop, use towels to scoop the last drop of water from the inside of the dishwasher.

Ensure to check the dishwasher and drain the hose

The plastic hose is lightweight and ribbed. \Which connects the drain pump of the dishwasher to the trash disposal (or to an air cap)–can hinder the draining of water. If something heavy or large was dumped under the sink, it might have caused a blockage of the dishwasher’s hose. Therefore, look around the area to locate the hose. If it’s bent, attempt to straighten it by hand. Unfortunately, when a hose drains and kinks, it is likely to happen at the exact spot. If this happens again, then change your drain pipe.

Cleanse your dishwasher’s air gap

In the majority of cases, it is the case that a drain connector with an air gap. In the dishwasher is the least likely to experience issues, but whether or not yours is equipped with one will depend on the local building code. Certain cities require gaps for air. However, others only require an elevated loop beneath the cabinet of the sink drain hose.

Make sure you have cleaned up the mess caused by detergent

Dishwashers are made to work with detergents for automatic dishwashers and cleanse without creating suds. In the course busy day, it’s not difficult to accidentally spill regular dishwashing fluid into the dishwasher that can produce enough suds to hinder the proper draining. Similar issues can arise if you’re running out of dishwasher detergent and need to substitute laundry detergent. Do you feel guilty? Just take the tub out as explained above and start the process again with the right detergent for the dishwasher.

Run your garbage disposal

The drain hose in your dishwasher drains in the waste disposal drain. Suppose the disposal has unground food items or food sludge deposited in the drainpipe underneath that disposal area. In that case, this may stop even the most efficient dishwasher from draining correctly. Sometimes, running the dishwasher is enough to bring the dishwasher to drain once more. In fact, develop the habit of keeping the water running and letting your garbage disposal run for an additional 15 seconds following the food has gone. This eliminates any food that could otherwise be in the P-trap drain underneath the disposal.

Look at the drain hose for obstructions

However, if the hose isn’t curled, it may be blocked by food sludge or other debris. To determine if there is a blockage, one must remove the front of the lower part of the dishwasher. Then, find where the ribbed hose is attached to the pump for the drain. The first step is to unplug the dishwasher. If you be in contact with wiring, the basic guideline for working on equipment is to disconnect first. Put old towels underneath the dishwasher and remove the front panel on the lower side. Many panels snap off; however, you may need to remove the screws or two based on the model.

Remove the hose from the pump (if you’re not sure which one is where or how to connect it, refer to the user’s guide). To examine the hose for obstructions, Simply blow it through. If the air doesn’t flow through, it’s likely to be the hose is blocked. If the obstruction is on either side of the pipe, take it off using a screwdriver or another smaller tool, like straightened coat hanger made of wire.

De-gunk the drain

It is typically the reason for a smelly, dirty dishwasher. It’s situated at the bottom of your dishwasher, generally beneath the lower rack. Its cover resembles an upside-down dish and can be removed or secured with a screw or two. (If the top of your machine doesn’t appear like this, consult the owner’s manual that you can usually download from the manufacturer’s website.) Take off the cover and look for food debris in the basket underneath. Make use of your hands or the spoon to clean any debris. Replace the cover, then repeat the dishwashing process.

If you notice many food particles in the drain, prevent future clogs by washing dishes before washing them. Many dishwashers made today come with macerators that crush bits of wet, soft food; however, they’re not equipped with the same power as garbage disposals. Therefore, even if your dishwasher states that you don’t need to rinse the dishes, make sure you do it to avoid having to clean out the drainage basket.

Change the drain pipe

If you’re experiencing recurring kinks or a clog isn’t able to be removed the clog. You’ll need to change the whole hose. Contact a plumber if uncomfortable trying it yourself. A professional can easily charge at least $150 for a call to the house, and you’ll save some money doing the work yourself. First, you must unplug the dishwasher and then remove it from underneath the counter. Then, you must disconnect the old hose from the disposal (or the air gap) and connect the new hose exactly the same way. Check the owner’s manual to make sure you buy an appropriate replacement for the hose. Any specific directions regarding how to attach it to the appliance.

Consult a pro

Repairs are free and no-obligation estimates from certified appliance repair technicians close to you. Sometimes, an air gap may become blocked by debris. This can hinder your dishwasher from draining properly and can leave standing water in the dishwasher. To check for this, turn your air space counterclockwise to eliminate it and check it for any gunk. Clean the air gap using water and a soft brush, then replace it and run the dishwasher again.

Contact the plumber

If you’re confronted with a dishwasher that isn’t draining the way it should. One of these methods will typically fix the problem. If you’ve tried every one of these methods but haven’t succeeded. It could be that the issue lies in a malfunctioning dishwashing pump or the motherboard or timer of your dishwasher. Repairing these parts of the dishwasher should be handled with the help of a certified plumber and if you’re in the circumstance, call a pro.

How to fix a dishwasher that is not draining: Tips

  • The dishwasher drain hose will be able to get into the cabinet via the dishwasher. It will loop up through at the top, held using tape, a string or a chain. It will then join to connect the disposal.
  • The hose must still have a high loop if the garbage disposal is not connected to the dishwasher drain line. However, it will be connected to the drain line. The connection should be made before (above) the P-trap is located on the drain pipe. Sewer gasses can get into the dishwasher and create the smell of rotten food when it’s not.
  • The hose is connected to the top of your cabinet, just as it does in the high loop. However, instead of using chains or tape to secure it, the hose is connected to an outlet at the rear and the back of the sink. If the drain fitting for the dishwasher has an air gap, an oblong knob is installed on top of the sink to let air in and block dirty sink water from draining into the dishwasher. In the simplest sense, the term “air gap” is similar to a dishwasher overflow, which stops airlocks from entering the pipe.
  • The same arrangement is used for the air gap to dispose of without garbage disposal. The hose will be connected through the air gap and later to the drainpipe just before the P-trap.

Learn now: How to plumb a dishwasher without a sink


Most of the time, you notice the dishwasher isn’t draining. It is a simple fix and affordable. This is usually due to the garbage disposal being full and will not allow the water to drain through the machine, which is why it re-enters the lower part of the dish. If that’s not the case, the issue is likely caused by a kink or problem with the drain line or a blockage in the hose, drain, or even the air gap. If you are trying to figure out how to fix a dishwasher that is not draining, homeowners aren’t required to call a plumber if they follow the steps above.

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