How to Test Your Dishwasher’s Drain Pump: Troubleshooting Tips

Ever had that sinking feeling when you open your dishwasher post-cycle and find it still filled with water? It’s frustrating, isn’t it? You’re not alone. Many of us have faced the annoyance of a dishwasher that just won’t drain properly. But fret not, because in this article, we’ve got your back! We’ll walk you through the common reasons why your dishwasher might not be draining and how you can fix it without breaking a sweat. So, if you’re tired of dealing with a dishwasher that’s more like a mini swimming pool, stick around. We’re here to help you get that water flowing in the right direction again.

Check the Drain Filter

When your dishwasher doesn’t drain properly, one common culprit could be a clogged drain filter. This filter is designed to catch food particles, debris, and other items to prevent them from clogging the drain. Over time, it can get blocked, affecting the draining process.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Locate the drain filter: It’s usually found at the bottom of the dishwasher. Refer to your appliance manual for specific instructions on how to access it.
  • Inspect the filter: Check for any buildup of food particles or debris. Cleaning the filter regularly can help prevent drainage issues.
  • Remove any blockages: Carefully clear out any clogs or obstructions in the filter. You can use a soft brush or sponge to clean it thoroughly.
  • Rinse the filter: After cleaning, rinse the filter to ensure it’s free from any remaining debris. A clean filter can help improve drainage significantly.
  • Reassemble and test: Once the filter is clean, put it back in place securely. Run a short cycle to see if the drainage problem has been resolved. If the issue persists, you may need to explore other potential causes.

Regularly checking and cleaning the drain filter is an essential maintenance task that can help prevent drainage issues in your dishwasher. By keeping this component clean and free from obstructions, you can ensure that your dishwasher continues to run smoothly and efficiently.

Inspect the Drain Hose

To address dishwasher drainage issues, start by checking the drain hose. Ensure it is free of kinks, bends, or clogs. A clogged hose can lead to water backing up in the dishwasher.

Regularly inspect the entire length of the drain hose. Look out for cracks, tears, or obstructions that can impede water flow. If you notice any issues, replace the hose promptly to prevent further problems.

To clean the drain hose, disconnect it from the dishwasher and sink. Use a mixture of vinegar and warm water to flush out any debris. Reconnect the hose securely once it’s clean.


Dishwasher Drainage Issues Inspection Frequency
Clogged Drain Hose Every few months
Damaged Drain Hose Annually

Clean the Garbage Disposal

When your dishwasher doesn’t drain properly, a clogged garbage disposal could be the culprit. Food debris, grease, or solid particles can accumulate in the disposal, leading to drainage issues. Here are steps to clean it:

  • Turn off the disposal: Make sure it’s completely powered down.
  • Remove any visible debris: Check for large food particles or objects stuck in the disposal.
  • Run cold water: Flush the disposal with cold water to help clear any remaining debris.

If you’re still facing drainage problems after cleaning the garbage disposal, it’s essential to check other potential causes like a blocked drain hose or a faulty dishwasher pump.

Test the Drain Pump

When your dishwasher doesn’t drain, one essential component to check is the drain pump. This pump is responsible for removing water from the dishwasher during the draining cycle.

Here are the steps to Test the Drain Pump:

  • Locate the pump: It is usually found at the bottom of the dishwasher.
  • Access the pump: Depending on your model, you may need to remove the lower spray arm or bottom dish rack to reach the pump.
  • Inspect for debris: Check the pump for any visible debris or blockages that could be hindering its operation.
  • Turn the impeller: Gently rotate the pump’s impeller to see if it moves freely. A stuck impeller could be the cause of drainage problems.
  • Listen for unusual noises: Run a drain cycle while listening for any unusual noises coming from the pump. Loud or grinding sounds may indicate a malfunction.
  • Test for power: If the pump fails to operate, use a multimeter to check for power supply. If there’s power but the pump doesn’t work, it may be faulty.

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


Now that you’ve learned about testing the drain pump to troubleshoot your dishwasher drainage issues, you’re equipped with the knowledge to tackle the problem effectively. Remember, regular maintenance of the drain pump is key to keeping your dishwasher running smoothly. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your dishwasher drains properly and continues to work efficiently. Don’t hesitate to take action if you notice any unusual noises or signs of blockages. With these tips, you can keep your dishwasher in top condition and enjoy hassle-free dishwashing for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the drain pump located in a dishwasher?

The drain pump is located at the bottom of the dishwasher.

How can I test the drain pump for issues?

To test the drain pump, check for debris, rotate the impeller, listen for unusual noises during a drain cycle, and test for power supply using a multimeter if necessary.

Why is it important to test the drain pump?

Testing the drain pump helps diagnose drainage problems, ensuring the dishwasher operates smoothly.

How often should I perform maintenance on the drain pump?

Regular maintenance of the drain pump is recommended to prevent drainage issues and maintain optimal dishwasher performance.

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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