Why Your Dishwasher Isn’t Draining: Simple Fixes You Need to Try Today

Ever wondered why your dishwasher isn’t draining properly, leaving you with a sink full of standing water? Picture this: You’ve just finished a big family dinner, loaded the dishwasher, hit start, only to find it’s not doing its main job – draining. Frustrating, isn’t it? In this article, we’ll unravel the mystery behind this common kitchen conundrum and help you get your dishwasher back in top working order.

You’re not alone in facing this issue, and the good news is that troubleshooting the dishwasher drainage problem doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By understanding the reasons behind the drainage issue and learning some simple fixes, you’ll soon have your dishwasher running smoothly again. Stick around as we guide you through practical tips and expert advice to tackle this inconvenience head-on.

Check the Drain Hose

When faced with a dishwasher that isn’t draining, one common culprit is the drain hose. A clogged or improperly installed drain hose can prevent water from flowing out efficiently.

  • Ensure the drain hose is free of kinks or bends that can obstruct water flow.
  • Check for any clogs caused by food particles or debris. It’s a good idea to clean the drain hose periodically to prevent blockages.
  • Verify that the drain hose is correctly installed to ensure proper drainage. It should be looped up to prevent backflow and allow water to flow freely.

By inspecting and maintaining the drain hose, you can resolve drainage issues and keep your dishwasher running smoothly.

Inspect the Garbage Disposal

When facing dishwasher draining issues, don’t overlook your garbage disposal. A clogged garbage disposal can prevent proper water flow from the dishwasher. Here’s what you can do:

  • Clear debris: Check the disposal for any food particles, grease, or other obstructions.
  • Run disposal: Turn on the disposal to see if it’s functioning correctly.
  • Reset disposal: If it’s not working, try resetting it.

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Remember, a smooth-running disposal can go a long way in ensuring your dishwasher drains properly.

Clean the Filter

When your dishwasher is not draining properly, one common culprit could be a clogged filter. The filter in your dishwasher is responsible for catching food particles and debris to prevent them from clogging the drain. Here’s how you can Clean the Filter to help resolve drainage issues:

  • Locate the filter: The filter is typically found at the bottom of the dishwasher, beneath the spray arm. It may be circular or rectangular in shape, depending on your dishwasher model.
  • Remove the filter: Gently twist or lift the filter to remove it from its position. Be cautious not to damage the filter while taking it out.
  • Inspect for debris: Check the filter for any food particles, grease, or other debris that may be obstructing water flow. Use a soft brush or cloth to clean the filter thoroughly.
  • Rinse the filter: After removing the debris, rinse the filter under running water to ensure it’s free from any leftover residue.
  • Reassemble the filter: Once the filter is clean and dry, place it back in its original position in the dishwasher. Make sure it is fitted securely to avoid any leaks.

Regularly cleaning the filter can help prevent drainage issues and maintain your dishwasher’s efficiency.

Examine the Drain Pump

When troubleshooting a dishwasher that isn’t draining properly, it’s essential to Examine the Drain Pump. The drain pump is responsible for expelling water from the dishwasher during the drain cycle. If the drain pump is clogged or malfunctioning, it can lead to drainage issues. Here’s how you can examine the drain pump to identify and resolve potential problems:

  • Locate the drain pump at the bottom of the dishwasher. It is typically found near the drain hose.
  • Inspect the drain pump for any visible debris, such as food particles, grease, or foreign objects that may be obstructing the pump.
  • Check the pump impeller for blockages. The impeller is a small, blade-like component that helps move water through the pump.
  • Test the pump to see if it’s running correctly. You can do this by initiating a drain cycle and listening for the sound of the pump working.
  • Remove any obstructions that you find in the drain pump. Use a soft brush or cloth to clean the impeller and surrounding area.
  • Reassemble the pump carefully after cleaning and ensure that all components are properly secured.

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Regularly examining and cleaning the drain pump is crucial for maintaining proper dishwasher drainage and ensuring optimal performance.

Fact Data
Homes in the US have dishwashers 75%
Share of dishwashers that develop drainage issues due to neglect 30%
Recommended frequency for inspecting the drain pump Every 3-6 months

Test the Air Gap

When your dishwasher isn’t draining properly, testing the air gap is a crucial step in troubleshooting. The air gap prevents backflow of water from the sink into the dishwasher, ensuring proper drainage.

Here’s how to test the air gap:

  • Remove the air gap cover located on your sink or countertop.
  • Clean out any debris that may be blocking the air gap.
  • Pour water into the air gap to check for free flow through the drain hose.

If you notice water backing up or flowing slowly, there may be a clog in the drain hose or air gap, which could be causing the drainage issues in your dishwasher. It’s recommended to clean the air gap regularly to prevent blockages and ensure smooth drainage.


Maintaining your dishwasher’s filter and drain pump, as well as testing the air gap, are key steps to ensure proper drainage. By regularly cleaning the air gap and checking for any blockages, you can prevent clogs and maintain smooth dishwasher performance. Remember, a well-functioning air gap is essential to prevent backflow and ensure efficient drainage. By following these simple maintenance tips, you can keep your dishwasher running smoothly and avoid common drainage issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is cleaning the filter and examining the drain pump important in a dishwasher?

Regularly cleaning the filter and examining the drain pump prevent drainage issues by ensuring proper water flow and preventing clogs that can affect dishwasher performance.

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What is the significance of testing the air gap in a dishwasher?

Testing the air gap is crucial to troubleshoot drainage problems as it prevents backflow from the sink, maintaining proper drainage in the dishwasher.

How can I test the air gap in my dishwasher?

To test the air gap, remove the cover, clean any debris, and check for free water flow to ensure it is functioning properly.

Why is it recommended to clean the air gap regularly?

Regularly cleaning the air gap helps prevent clogs and ensures smooth drainage, optimizing dishwasher performance and avoiding common drainage issues.

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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