How to Fix a Non-Draining Dishwasher: Complete Troubleshooting Guide

Ever had that sinking feeling when you open your dishwasher and find standing water? What a hassle, right? It’s like a mini-flood in your kitchen. But fret not, my friend! In this article, we’ve got your back with simple solutions to tackle the not-so-draining situation.

Picture this: You load up the dishwasher, press start, and eagerly wait for the magic to happen. But when it’s done, you’re greeted by a pool of water at the bottom. Sound familiar? Don’t worry; you’re not alone in this soggy saga. We’ve all been there, but the good news is, we’ve got the know-how to get things flowing smoothly again.

Check the Drainage Hose

When your dishwasher is not draining, a common culprit is a clogged drainage hose. Here’s what you can do to address this issue:

  • Disconnect the dishwasher: Before checking the drainage hose, make sure to unplug the dishwasher from the power source.
  • Locate the drainage hose: This hose is usually found underneath the sink connected to the dishwasher. It’s essential to unhook it carefully.
  • Inspect the hose for clogs: Look for any blockages or kinks in the hose that could be hindering proper drainage.
  • Clear any debris: Remove any debris or gunk that may be blocking the flow of water. You can use a pipe cleaner or a small brush for this task.
  • Reconnect the hose: Once you’ve cleared any obstructions, securely reconnect the drainage hose to its place.
  • Test the dishwasher: After reconnection, run a short cycle to see if the water drains properly.

Remember, a simple check and cleaning of the drainage hose might be all it takes to get your dishwasher draining efficiently again.

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Inspect the Filter

When your dishwasher is not draining properly, inspecting the filter is crucial. The filter can get clogged with food particles, debris, and other residues over time, causing drainage issues. Here’s what you can do:

  • Locate the filter: Typically, the filter is at the bottom of the dishwasher. It may be removable or have a cover that you can unscrew.
  • Check for debris: Once you’ve found the filter, examine it for any food remnants or buildup. A clogged filter can obstruct the water flow, leading to drainage problems.
  • Clean the filter: Use warm, soapy water to gently scrub the filter and remove any dirt or grime. Ensure all the openings are clear for water to pass through easily.
  • Reassemble and test: After cleaning the filter, place it back in its position or screw the cover back on. Run a test cycle to see if the dishwasher drains properly.
  • Regular maintenance: To prevent future drainage issues, make it a habit to clean the filter regularly. This simple task can help your dishwasher function efficiently.

Remember, a clean filter is essential for optimal dishwasher performance. By inspecting and maintaining it, you can ensure that your dishwasher drains without any hiccups.

Clear the Garbage Disposal

When your dishwasher is not draining properly, a common culprit could be a clogged garbage disposal. Here’s what you can do to address this issue:

  • Check for Blockages: Start by ensuring there are no blockages in the garbage disposal that could be hindering proper drainage.
  • Run the Disposal: Turn on the garbage disposal to see if it is working correctly. Sometimes, a malfunctioning disposal can affect the dishwasher’s drainage.
  • Clear Any Debris: If there are any food particles or debris stuck in the disposal, make sure to remove them to allow for smooth water flow.
  • Use Cold Water: Running cold water down the disposal can help clear out any remaining obstructions and assist in better drainage.

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By clearing the garbage disposal of any blockages or debris, you can improve the overall functionality of your dishwasher and ensure proper drainage.

Clean the Drain Pump

When dealing with a dishwasher that’s not draining properly, a common culprit is a clogged drain pump. Here’s what you can do:

  • Locate the Drain Pump: The drain pump is generally found at the bottom of the dishwasher.
  • Remove Debris: Check for any food particles or foreign objects stuck in the drain pump.
  • Clean the Pump: Gently clean the drain pump to ensure it’s free of obstructions.
  • Check the Impeller: Ensure the pump’s impeller moves freely without any blockages.

Regular maintenance of the drain pump can help in avoiding drainage issues and keep your dishwasher running smoothly.

Facts & Figures
Drain Pump Location Bottom of dishwasher
Maintenance Regular cleaning

Call for Professional Help if Needed

If you’ve checked the garbage disposal, cleaned the drain pump, and inspected the filter, but your dishwasher is still not draining properly, it might be time to call for professional help.

Here are some indications that you might need a professional:

  • **Persistent drainage issues despite cleaning efforts
  • Unusual sounds or odors coming from the dishwasher
  • Visible leaks or standing water in the dishwasher
  • Difficulty accessing or repairing internal components

A certified technician can diagnose the problem accurately and safely address any complex issues with your dishwasher. Remember, it’s essential to prioritize your safety and the efficiency of your appliance.


Remember, regular maintenance of your dishwasher’s garbage disposal, drain pump, and filter is key to ensuring it drains properly. If you’ve cleaned these components and issues persist, or if you notice any unusual signs like strange noises, leaks, or difficulty reaching internal parts, it’s best to contact a professional technician. They can accurately diagnose and fix any complex problems, prioritizing safety and efficiency for your dishwasher. Stay proactive in caring for your dishwasher to keep it running smoothly for years to come.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my dishwasher not draining properly?

When a dishwasher is not draining properly, it could be due to a clogged garbage disposal, drain pump, or filter. These components should be checked and cleaned regularly to maintain proper drainage.

What should I do if my dishwasher has unusual sounds, odors, or leaks?

If you notice unusual sounds, odors, or leaks in your dishwasher, it is recommended to seek professional help. These issues could indicate underlying problems that require expert diagnosis and repair.

How can I ensure my dishwasher functions optimally?

To ensure your dishwasher functions optimally, regularly clean and maintain the garbage disposal, drain pump, and filter. This can help prevent drainage issues and ensure efficient operation.

When should I seek professional help for my dishwasher?

If you have tried cleaning and maintaining the dishwasher components but issues persist, seek professional help. A certified technician can diagnose and address complex problems to ensure safety and efficiency.

Charlie Thomson is Appliance Mastery's expert on laundry appliances. With a degree in mechanical engineering and over 8 years of experience in the appliance repair industry, Charlie is a go-to resource for homeowners who want to tackle common issues with their washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers.

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