What to Do When Your Dishwasher Does Not Drain

Dishwasher Repair

Here is a hypothetical. You just served your family a delicious and wholesome dinner. You loaded up your dishwasher afterward so you would have that much more time to spend together. Once the machine has run its course, you open up its door so you can put your dishes back in their places and – oh brother! Your dishwasher didn’t drain!

What do you do? Do you order a brand new dishwasher? Heavens no! You just need to know what to do when your dishwasher does not drain. Follow these steps in order, and you’ll most likely enjoy a free-draining dishwasher once again in no time!

1. Check the Motor

Make certain your dishwasher is receiving power. If the appliance only produces a faint humming noise while it is turned on, then its motor is receiving power without producing motion in return. In this case, your motor is in need of repair – or, barring that, outright replacement.

2. Check the Latch

Is your dishwasher’s door failing to latch completely shut when you close it? That alone may cause it to fail to drain correctly. Once you have ensured the door is latched shut, run another cycle and see if that is enough to make your dishwasher drain fully. If your dishwasher door cannot fully shut, a latch replacement may be needed.

Warning: Before you begin following the next steps, make certain your dishwasher is disconnected from its electricity. You can do this by removing the appliance’s fuse from your home’s fuse box or flipping its accompanying circuit breaker. If you are at all uncertain about how to disconnect your dishwasher’s electricity, please do not proceed. Water and electricity are a potentially fatal combination!

3. Check the Sump & Filter

A rogue piece of food or another type of debris may have become lodged in your dishwasher’s inlet sump. This component is located at the bottom of your dishwasher tub. Simply reach in and remove the blockage.

Alternatively, your dishwasher’s filter may have become obstructed by debris. The filter is typically located toward the back of the dishwasher tub or beneath the lower spray arm. Remove the filter and clean it thoroughly. Clearing the inlet sump and filter is often enough to restore a dishwasher’s ability to drain!

4. Check the Drain Hose

Your dishwasher’s drain hose does exactly what you assume. Locate the corrugated tube, which typically lies between the drain pump and drain line. If it has become kinked or tangled, straighten it out just like you would a malfunctioning garden hose.

If your drain hose has become obstructed with debris, loosen the clamps which hold it in place. Run a suitable tool through the hose to remove the obstruction – or, barring that, blow into it like you are the world’s most confused trumpet player.

5. Check the Kitchen Sink

Remove your garbage disposal’s drain plug and then run the disposal. This will ensure that your dishwasher’s drain itself is not clogged. Under no circumstances should you ever put your hand down the garbage disposal. Almost 1,000 people go to the emergency room every year because they didn’t follow that advice!

6. Check the Air Gap

In plumbing, an air gap prevents water from running back down the faucet or other fixture. A dishwasher’s air gap is typically a small, round metallic-colored cylinder located on or near the countertop by the kitchen faucet.

Check to see if water is seeping out of your dishwasher’s air gap while the appliance is running. In this case, you should remove the air gap and submerge it in a solution of baking soda and water. If such cleaning does not clear the obstruction, replacement of the air gap may be necessary.

7. Check the Drain Valve

Your dishwasher may have a drain valve in order to let water drain while it is in operation. Consult your dishwasher’s manual to locate this valve, and then apply pressure to its nearby valve bracket. If this component cannot move freely, remove any debris which may have become lodged alongside it. If the drain valve remains frozen in place, replacement may be necessary.

If you have detected a broken component while inspecting your dishwasher – or you have failed to restore functionality after detecting and clearing any potential sources of obstruction – then you may need professional dishwasher maintenance, repair, or replacement.

If you need dishwasher service in the greater Sioux Falls area, then we welcome you to contact PrairieSons today! We serve homeowners, property managers, and business owners of the greater Sioux Falls area for all their heating, air conditioning, and plumbing needs. We will quickly get to the root cause of any misbehaving dishwasher!