Dishwasher Not Draining – 7 Reasons Why It Won’t Drain

We know this is a common problem. Your kitchen sink is full of dishes and the dishwasher won’t drain. It’s a real hassle.

This troubleshooting guide will help you find the problem and fix it so you can get back to enjoying those freshly washed dishes.

If your dishwasher not draining, start by checking the drain lines. If they are clogged, try unclogging them with a plunger or snake.

If you still have problems, you may need to remove the tub from the cabinet. If you do remove the tub, take the lid off and check for debris.

Look inside the tub at the drains and make sure there are no obstructions.

Dishwasher Not Draining


Now, let’s take a look at the most common issues if your dishwasher stopped draining. You need to know them before calling a repair person.

Dishwasher Not Draining – 7 DIY Troubleshooting Ways

To fix the draining problem in the dishwasher you need to do the following things.

Note: Before you begin, ensure sure your dishwasher is unplugged or the circuit breaker is switched off.

1. Check the filter:

The dishwasher will drain if the filter is clean. Clean the filter by removing it from the bottom of the dishwasher.

Run a hose through the filter and pour out any remaining water in the drain.

You must change the filter if it does not have an indicator light. If you cannot see any water in the filter, the drain pump may be clogged.

To unclog the drain pump:

  • Turn the water line off at the valve and drain the line.
  • Disconnect the hose.
  • Unclog the drain using a plunger or snake.

2. Check the drains:

It is important to know how to fix a clogged drain in a dishwasher when they happen in order to avoid having your kitchen sink overflow.

Here is how to check:

  • Unscrew the drain plug of the sink drain or the dishwasher’s drain pipe.
  • Then remove it and look inside.
  • If you find any debris or objects that could be blocking the drain, you should remove them.
  • Next, remove the cap from the other end of the drain pipe and check for clogs.

3. Inspect the Drain Solenoid Kit

If you find no kinks in the drain hose, you may want to check a drain solenoid kit in the bottom of the dishwasher. 

A drain solenoid kit is a piece of equipment that is installed near the sink’s drain line to keep it from being blocked by debris.

Your drain solenoid kit may be located behind the dishwasher in the cabinet or under the sink in a separate container.

If you don’t have this kit, you may need to remove your drain line to see if it has an obstruction.

This can be done with a plunger or a snake, but it is not easy and can be dangerous.

So, it is better to have a repair person do this for you.

4. Inspect the Water Pump Belt:

Your dishwasher has a motor and a water pump belt. The belt connects the motor to the water pump.

If the belt becomes loose and starts slipping, it will cause your pump to stop working and your dishwasher will not drain.

It’s always a good idea to check your water pump belt when it first comes apart. If the belt isn’t loose, don’t worry about it.

If the belt does become loose, follow these steps to fix it:

  • Loosen the screws on the water pump assembly’s bottom.
  • Remove the three nuts that hold the belt on.
  • Remove the belt.
  • Reinstall the belt.
  • Reattach the three nuts.

But, if this task seems technical to you, I recommend that you hire a repair person to completely fix it.

5. Examine the water level:

The dishwasher uses water to clean dishes and the water is stored in a tank. Before using the dishwasher, make sure the tank is at least two-thirds full of water.

The dishwasher may not drain completely if the water level is too low.

To check the water level, look inside the dishwasher cabinet under the door. Look for an indicator light or a small tube that will show the water level.

If you see that the water level is too low, it will be hard for the dishwasher to clean your dishes.

So, you will need to add enough water to reach the required level.

Dishwasher Won't drain

6. Look for Air Gap behind the Dishwasher:

If your dishwasher has a fan that pushes air behind the dishwasher, you must make sure there is enough space between the dishwasher and the wall to allow this air to flow.

If there is too much air gap, this fan will stop working and the dishwasher won’t drain.

To check for this air gap, open the dishwasher door and see inside. You can see the air gap if there is a crack in the cabinet or if there is a small gap on the back of the dishwasher.

If there isn’t enough air gap, you will need to add some more space.

7. Replace the water inlet valve

The water inlet valve on your dishwasher allows water to enter. If it is damaged, the water will not flow properly.

If this happens, your dishwasher will not drain and your water will overflow.

To find out if this valve is damaged, look at the bottom of the dishwasher cabinet. There is a hole where the water enters the dishwasher.

If the hole is clogged, it will make it difficult for the water to flow through the valve.

If you see a leak in the valve, clean it with a sponge or toothbrush.


Tips to Prevent Your Dishwasher From Draining Problems

In order to prevent clogs from happening, you should not leave dishes in the sink. You should wash them and then put them into a dish rack or a drying rack.

You can also use a dishwasher basket that will allow water to drain through.

If your dishwasher is draining slowly, it is likely that there is a clog in the hose.

To fix this issue, you need to open the bottom door of your dishwasher and clear out any debris that has made its way into the drainage system.

Here are a few tips to prevent your dishwasher’s draining problems:

  • Don’t leave dishes in the sink for too long.
  • Don’t fill the tub more than three-quarters full.
  • Make sure your dishwasher has plenty of space between your dishwasher and the wall.
  • Clean the inside and outside of your dishwasher before using it.
  • To avoid food particle buildup, run your dishwasher at least once a week.
  • Check your water levels in your dishwasher.
  • Wash dishes in hot water if possible.
  • Keep your dishwasher under warranty.
  • Call a repair person if your dishwasher doesn’t drain.

You may like to troubleshoot:

Final Thoughts

If a dishwasher behaves in a concerning way, the first thing to do is to check for a clog. If there is one, use a plunger or a closet auger.

If the drainpipe is blocked, this could be the reason your appliance won’t drain.

Another common issue that causes dishwashers not to drain is if there is too much food or detergent residue at the bottom of the dishwasher.

This can cause it to clog, preventing water from draining.

One way to fix this problem is by running an empty cycle with just water and no detergent or dishes before putting dishes in again.

The last thing you can do when your dishwasher isn’t draining properly checks out its filter screen. If it’s clogged, remove it

Steven Settles Author

Steven Settles is an ISCET-certified master in appliance repair. He has aced the National Appliance Service Technician Certification Exam, showcasing his exceptional diagnostic and repair skills. With an in-depth understanding of the latest repair technologies and a keen eye on evolving industry standards, Steven is a go-to expert for any appliance issue.

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