My Dishwasher isn’t Draining! What’s Wrong with It?


Dishwashers help us save time returning plates, cups and cutlery to pristine condition without the elbow grease. So when your dishwasher fails to drain, you want to investigate the causes and fix the problem as soon as possible to get this handy household helper up and running again. Here we look at some of the reasons a dishwasher might fail to drain, and what you can do to correct dishwasher issues when they arise. To start with, always disconnect the power from your dishwasher before doing any inspecting or DIY repairs, and if in doubt, leave it to a professional plumber.

Water is Draining, But Not Completely

If some of the water from your dishwasher is draining, but the draining is slow and water is left behind in the bottom of your dishwasher, the culprit could be a clogged filter. Many dishwashers nowadays have ways to cope with small bits of food that end up in the dishwasher, but occasionally large, insoluble particles get trapped inside and clog up the filter. You can check the filter basket or filter screen in the dishwasher for yourself by unscrewing and lifting the filter out of the bottom of the dishwasher. You may need to bale out the excess water trapped in the bottom of the dishwasher first. Remove any food particles or obstructions you may find to clear the drainage path. You can also prevent your filter basket from becoming clogged by ensuring all large particles of food and any insoluble parts like bones or jar labels are thoroughly rinsed and removed before putting items in the dishwasher.

Plumber kneeling down working on an open dishwasher

Clog in The Drain Hose

If a clog or food particle has somehow made it through your dishwasher filter, the drain hose of your dishwasher may be blocked. To detach the drain hose, remove the front panel (toe kick) in the front of the dishwasher and loosen the hose clamp. You can then disconnect the drain hose from the pump. Check to see where your drain hose leads and whether there are any obstructions in this outlet. You can try to blow through the hose or alternatively try to run water through it to assess the presence of blockages. You can also check for any kinks or damage to the drain hose. If there are any obstructions or issues, replacing your drain hose could solve the problem.

Problems With the Drain Valve

Not all dishwashers have a drain valve, but for those that do, malfunctioning and worn out drain valves can cause drainage water to flow back into the dishwasher. Your dishwasher has a drain valve if it has a drain valve bracket. Push on the valve bracket to test the valve – if the valve is frozen and doesn’t move freely it needs replacing. You may be able to source an OEM part or contact your local professional plumber for expert assistance.

If your dishwasher has stopped draining, don’t leave it out of order or at risk of overflowing. Troubleshoot the source of your drainage issues or contact Magnificent Plumbing, your local plumber for rapid dishwasher service.

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