Dishwasher Not Draining? Here’s How to Fix It

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Your household dishwasher not draining can be a very stressful experience. Firstly, no one likes dealing with a broken kitchen appliance. Secondly, no one likes having to hand wash dishes. Additionally, a dishwasher not draining properly may even cause flooding.

Fortunately, there are a number of simple steps that you can try to hopefully solve this situation. As a major bonus, you don’t have to be an experienced DIY’er to try the following suggestions:

Remove the Water & Run the Dishwasher Again

If someone or something caused your dishwasher to turn off during one of its cycles, it will often cause water to remain in the bottom of the unit. 

For example, what if someone opened the dishwasher while it was running to add a plate? After closing the appliance door, the dishwasher may not have resumed its cycle. If this is the scenario you’re dealing with, try these tips:

  1. Push the “Cancel” or “Drain” button if your dishwasher has them
  2. If that doesn’t work, remove as much of the standing water as you can with a cup
  3. Run the dishwasher a second time and see if it drains correctly

Make Sure the Dishwasher Drain Hose Isn’t Kinked

Sometimes, the things that you store under your kitchen sink—cleaning supplies, dishwasher tabs, small garbage cans—may end up accidentally pushing against the ribbed plastic dishwasher drain hose. As you can probably guess, a compressed hose won’t drain correctly. So to check for this issue:

  1. Clear out everything from under the sink that’s near the drain hose
  2. Grab a flashlight so you can get a good look at the hose
  3. Check it carefully for kinks or compressed areas, and straighten the hose where needed
  4. Put items back under the sink, away from the drain hose

Clean the Dishwasher Drain Hose

Your dishwasher won’t drain properly if its drain hose is full of gunk. Over time, food bits and dishwasher soap residue can accumulate in the unit’s drain hose, which can cause the water to stay in the bottom of the appliance. So, to try cleaning the dishwasher drain, try the following steps:

  1. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda into the bottom of the dishwasher near the drain
  2. Let it sit for 15 minutes
  3. Run the rinse cycle

Once your dishwasher is working properly again, every few weeks or so add equal parts of white vinegar and baking soda to the dishwasher. Then, let it sit for a few minutes before running a rinse cycle. 

This proactive tip can help prevent the clogged drains that may lead to your dishwasher not draining.

Turn on the Garbage Disposal (If You Have One)

Did you know that your dishwasher’s drain hose connects and empties out into the drain of your garbage disposal? When food scraps are clogging your garbage disposal or the drain below the appliance is backed up, your dishwasher won’t drain. To check for this issue:

  1. Turn on the hot water at your kitchen sink
  2. Run the garbage disposal for at least a minute to clear out anything that may be lodged in the unit and/or drain
  3. Try a garbage disposal cleaning tablet 

Clean Out the Drain Basket

Another common cause of a dishwasher not draining properly is that the drain basket is full of small bits of food that the wash cycle dislodges from plates. To check the drain basket:

  1. Start by removing as much of the standing water as you can
  2. Locate the drain basket, which is usually under the bottom rack on the base of the appliance
  3. Remove the cover of the drain basket and remove any debris inside
  4. Rinse out the drain basket with warm soapy water, and replace it in the base
  5. Run the dishwasher again and see if it is now draining correctly

If you’re not sure how to remove the basket, you can consult the owner’s manual for your dishwasher, which should be on the manufacturer’s website.

Call Your Protection Plan Provider

While the above tips can often solve the problem of a dishwasher that isn’t draining properly, you may find that your appliance is still acting up. If this is the case, it may be time to call your protection plan provider to help troubleshoot the situation and fix your hard-working dishwasher.

DIY Solutions Can Fix a Dishwasher Not Draining

You rely on your dishwasher to clean and dry your dishes, so finding that it isn’t working properly is definitely concerning. Fortunately, it’s reassuring to know that in many cases you can fix this situation yourself with the help of some simple and quick tips.

Then, if the issue persists, you can always turn to your protection plan provider for help.