dishwasher not draining

Dishwasher Not Draining? Here’s What To Do!

Many things can be the cause of a dishwasher not draining. If your dishwasher has a lot of standing water inside of it after you finished a cycle, this could mean it isn’t draining properly. This isn’t the biggest issue in the world, because there are many ways to fix it.

Run the Garbage Disposal

This can be an easy fix, so why not try it? If your garbage disposal is backed up, this can cause issues with how your dishwasher drains. The dishwasher’s drain hose dumps into the garbage disposal’s drain. If there’s food in the garbage disposal that is settling around the drain hose, this will cause a lot of issues. Luckily, this is an easy problem to fix. Just run your garbage disposal to remove all of that gunk. Hopefully this will solve the problem, if not there are many other possibilities. 

Remove Any Standing Water

If you don’t have a garbage disposal, there are still other ways. It’s time to clean up the standing water and take a closer look. Lay towels around the dishwasher’s base to soak up the excess water. Remove the tray and scoop up the standing water underneath the tray. Soak up the rest of the water with a dry towel and inspect it to see what the problem could be.

Are You Using the Right Detergent?

Dishwashing detergent is made specifically for the dishwasher. If you’re having an issue with your dishwasher not draining, it might be because you’re using the wrong detergent. The detergent is automatic, so you don’t have to put it in before each cycle. These don’t produce any suds like other detergents. If you run out of dishwasher detergent and think it’s a good idea to use regular dish soap or laundry detergent, think again. The suds that other cleaners have can cause issues with how your dishwasher drains. If this happens and now it won’t drain, simply soak up the water from underneath the tray.

Clean the Dishwasher Air Gap

Not all dishwashers have air gaps. Building codes usually determine if your dishwasher has an air gap. Some areas will require you to have an air gap, but many will be okay with a high loop. If you have an air gap, it can become clogged with dirt or debris. This could be the cause of your dishwasher not draining. Remove the air gap and investigate for any buildup of dirt or debris. Clean it by using a cleaning brush and water. Once it’s clean, place it back and run the cycle again. 

dishwasher not draining. air gap
Air gap

Clean the Drain Basket

The basket at the bottom of your dishwasher could be causing problems. Excess gunk could be the cause of your dishwasher not draining. This is usually below the bottom rack and can be removed easily. Once you remove it, clean any excess dirt or debris from underneath and put the cover back into place. 

If there is a lot of food built up in the drain basket, we recommend rinsing your dishes before washing. This will help prevent these types of clogs in the future.

drain basket
Inside of a dishwasher. The drain basket is located at the bottom.

Check The Drain Hose for Kinks

Drain hoses can cause many problems in how your dishwasher drains if it has problems. A drain hose is a lightweight plastic hose that connects the drain pump to the garbage disposal (or air cap). A kinked hose is usually caused from it being smashed. Make sure to remove anything around the kinked portion of the hose. Try to straighten it out and remove the kink. Even if you do this, the kink might continue to come back.

Check for Clogs in the Drain Hose

The clogged drain hose to lead to many problems. To find if there is a clog, remove the lower front panel from the dishwasher and find where the drain pump attaches to the hose. Unplug the dishwasher and remove the drain pump from the hose. Try blowing on the hose to see if the air is able to pass through. If the air isn’t able to pass through, you have a clog. If the clog is located at one of the ends, it can be manually removed. Use a screwdriver or something similar to gently scrape away at the dirt and debris. This will only work if the clog is on the ends, because it’s too fragile to use a drain snake.

The Last Resort is to Replace the Drain Hose

Clogs towards the middle of the hose will most likely mean you have to replace it. You can replace a drain hose yourself, but we recommend calling a plumber to help. Having a plumber replace the hose will allow them to inspect the dishwasher to confirm that the hose is the only issue.

Drain hose
Drain hose

Final Thoughts

If your dishwasher isn’t draining, we got you covered! There are many simple fixes that may fix the problem. If none of these options work, call your local plumber to troubleshoot and find the problem.

Call 1-Tom-Plumber

Don’t hesitate to contact us here or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237) if you need a plumbing service. 1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, or water damage problem. We also handle the excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.

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