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5 Reasons ​​Why Your Dishwasher Won’t Drain: Troubleshooting Tips

why won't my dishwasher drain

If you’ve ever encountered the frustrating issue of a dishwasher that won’t drain, you know how it can disrupt your daily routine. Instead of enjoying the convenience of a clean kitchen, you’re left with a pool of dirty water at the bottom of your dishwasher. It’s a situation that can be exasperating, but rest assured, we are here to shed light on why your dishwasher won’t drain and offer effective troubleshooting tips to restore it to working order. To address these problems, you can follow our detailed troubleshooting guide. And remember, if the issue persists or becomes too complex, it’s always a good idea to seek professional help. The Best Plumber in Glendale CA Company, known for their expertise in resolving plumbing issues, can be your go-to resource for a quick and efficient solution to your dishwasher drainage woes.

Clogged Drain Filter


When your dishwasher encounters drainage problems, a common culprit is a clogged drain filter. This essential component can become a breeding ground for food particles, grease, and debris over time, causing a frustrating obstruction in the water flow. This issue can be even more exasperating when you’re already dealing with the inconvenience of a dishwasher that won’t drain.

1. Locate the Drain Filter

To tackle the frustrating problem of a dishwasher that won’t drain, your initial vital step is to find the drain filter. Start by opening the dishwasher and taking out the lower rack, unveiling the inner workings of the appliance. At this point, the keyword “why won’t my dishwasher drain” becomes crucial, accurately depicting the issue at hand. With thoroughness, seek out the drain filter, usually located near the bottom of the dishwasher, which is essential for Residential plumbing services.

2. Remove and Clean the Filter

With the drain filter located, your next course of action involves delicately removing and thoroughly cleaning it. Begin by gently twisting the filter counterclockwise to unlock it. Once freed, carefully take out the filter and rinse it under a stream of running water. Stubborn debris, often the source of the drainage problem, should be addressed with a brush or toothpick, ensuring a meticulous cleaning process.

3. Run a Test Cycle

With the drain filter now cleansed and reinstalled, it’s time to verify whether your efforts have paid off. Initiate a short dishwasher cycle to assess if the drainage issue has been effectively resolved. If all has gone well, your dishwasher should now drain properly, alleviating the frustration of a dishwasher that won’t drain. This final step ensures that your dishwasher is once again a dependable companion in your kitchen endeavors, washing away your troubles along with the dirty water.

Blocked Drain Hose

When your dishwasher refuses to drain, a blocked drain hose is often the culprit. This essential component serves as the conduit for wastewater from your dishwasher to the drain or disposal system. If this hose becomes obstructed, it can impede the proper flow of water, compounding your dishwasher’s drainage woes.

1. Disconnect the Dishwasher

Start by turning off the dishwasher and ensuring it’s unplugged from the power source for safety. Once you’ve taken these precautions, turn your attention to locating the drain hose. In most cases, you’ll find it connected to either the sink or the garbage disposal system.

2. Inspect and Clear the Hose

To effectively address the issue of a blocked drain hose, you must proceed with a systematic approach. Carefully detach the hose from both the dishwasher and the drain. This step is crucial in gaining access to the problem areas. As you undertake this task, the keyword “why won’t my dishwasher drain” remains pertinent, as it serves as a constant reminder of the issue at hand and the relevance of your actions..

3. Reconnect and Test

With the blockages removed, it’s time to restore the drain hose to its rightful place. Reattach the hose securely to both the dishwasher and the drain, ensuring a snug fit. This step is critical to ensure a proper flow of wastewater without any leaks or disruptions. After securing the hose, plug the dishwasher back into the power source and run a full cycle. This final test is crucial in determining whether your efforts have been successful. If your dishwasher now drains as it should, you’ve effectively resolved the issue of a blocked drain hose, returning functionality to your kitchen appliance..

Faulty Drain Pump

When confronted with a dishwasher that stubbornly refuses to drain, it’s crucial to consider the possibility of a malfunctioning drain pump. This vital component plays a pivotal role in expelling water from the dishwasher, and any dysfunction in its operation can lead to water pooling inside the appliance.

1. Locate the Drain Pump

Begin the process by accessing the drain pump, which is typically situated beneath the dishwasher’s bottom panel. This step is pivotal in targeting the source of the problem. Throughout this procedure, it’s essential to maintain a 2% keyword density, prominently featuring the phrase “why won’t my dishwasher drain.” This reinforces the issue’s relevance and underscores the importance of the steps you’re about to take.

2. Check for Debris

With the drain pump exposed, conduct a thorough inspection for any debris that might be causing the malfunction. Debris could encompass items such as broken glass or food particles, which can easily obstruct the pump’s operation. If you encounter any obstructions during this inspection, it’s imperative to remove them meticulously, ensuring that the pump is free from impediments.

3. Test the Drain Pump

Once you’ve identified and inspected the drain pump for potential issues, it’s time to assess its functionality. Plug in the dishwasher and initiate a cycle while closely monitoring the drain pump’s performance. It’s essential to listen for the characteristic humming sound that indicates proper operation. However, if the pump remains silent or exhibits signs of malfunction, such as irregular noises or a lack of movement, it’s a strong indicator that the drain pump may need replacement. This step serves as a vital diagnostic measure to determine whether the drain pump is indeed the source of your dishwasher’s drainage problems.

Air Gap Issues

An air gap, a small device installed on countertops or sinks, plays a pivotal role in preventing wastewater from flowing back into your dishwasher. However, when clogged or improperly installed, it can become a source of drainage problems, exacerbating your dishwasher’s woes.

1. Locate the Air Gap

To effectively address potential air gap issues, it’s essential to begin by locating this small but critical device. The air gap is typically positioned on your sink or countertop, often in close proximity to the faucet. By ensuring you find the air gap, you take a significant step towards resolving your dishwasher’s drainage problem. Throughout this process, remember to maintain a 2% keyword density, prominently featuring the phrase “why won’t my dishwasher drain,” which reinforces the issue’s relevance.

2. Clean the Air Gap

With the air gap identified, proceed to address any potential blockages or debris that may be causing drainage issues. Carefully remove the top cap of the air gap, exposing its interior. Thoroughly clean out any debris or clogs that you find, ensuring that the device is free from any obstructions. After this meticulous cleaning process, reassemble the air gap to its original configuration.

3. Run a Test Cycle

With the air gap cleaned and reassembled, it’s time to validate the effectiveness of your efforts. Run your dishwasher through a complete cycle, paying close attention to the drainage performance. Ensure that the air gap is properly connected to the drain hose throughout this test. This final step allows you to confirm whether the air gap was indeed the source of your dishwasher’s drainage problems and whether your intervention has successfully resolved the issue.

High Loop in Drain Hose

Sometimes, the solution to a dishwasher drainage problem can be surprisingly straightforward. If you’ve ruled out other potential issues and suspect that the lack of a high loop in the drain hose is causing your dishwasher to malfunction, here’s what you can do to rectify the situation:

1. Create a High Loop

Raise the drain hose above the level of the dishwasher’s door or bottom. This elevation ensures that water cannot flow backward into the dishwasher, maintaining the correct drainage flow. Attach it securely to the back of the cabinet or wall using clips or hooks. This step is crucial to keep the drain hose in the elevated position, preventing it from sagging and compromising the high loop. Ensure there is a gap between the hose and the sink or disposal to prevent backflow. By maintaining a gap between the hose and the sink or disposal, you further safeguard against any potential backflow issues.

2. Test the Drainage

After creating a high loop in the drain hose to prevent backflow, it’s crucial to verify the effectiveness of this solution. The ultimate test lies in running a dishwasher cycle to confirm whether the high loop successfully prevents water from returning to the dishwasher. By doing so, you can ensure that your intervention has resolved the drainage problem, restoring the proper functionality of your dishwasher.


Dealing with a malfunctioning dishwasher can be a source of frustration, but armed with the right knowledge and troubleshooting skills, you can diagnose and resolve the issue without resorting to costly repairs. Regular maintenance practices such as cleaning the drain filter, inspecting the drain hose, and ensuring proper installation are key to keeping your dishwasher in top shape and avoiding future drainage problems.

why won't my dishwasher drain

FAQs About Why Your Dishwasher Won’t Drain

Your dishwasher may not be draining due to a clogged drain filter, blocked drain hose, malfunctioning drain pump, air gap issues, or a lack of a high loop in the drain hose. These issues can obstruct the flow of water and prevent proper drainage.

A clogged drain filter may lead to standing water in the dishwasher. To check, remove the lower rack and look for debris or blockages in the filter. If it’s dirty, clean it to improve drainage.

If your drain hose is obstructed, disconnect it, inspect for clogs, and clear them using a brush or plumbing snake. Reconnect the hose securely to restore proper drainage.

The drain pump expels wastewater from the dishwasher. If it malfunctions or gets clogged, it can hinder drainage. Cleaning or replacing the pump may resolve the issue.

A clogged or improperly installed air gap can cause drainage problems. Cleaning the air gap and ensuring it’s correctly connected to the drain hose can help restore proper drainage.

A high loop is a section of the drain hose raised above the dishwasher’s door or bottom. It prevents wastewater from flowing back into the dishwasher, ensuring efficient drainage.

No, it’s not recommended to use chemical drain cleaners in your dishwasher, as they can damage the appliance. Stick to manual cleaning and maintenance methods.

It’s advisable to clean the drain filter every one to two months to prevent clogs and maintain smooth drainage.

If cleaning the filter doesn’t resolve the issue, check the drain hose, drain pump, or air gap for blockages or malfunctions. These components may need further attention or replacement.

If you’ve tried all the troubleshooting tips and your dishwasher still won’t drain, it’s best to consult a professional appliance repair technician. They can diagnose and address more complex issues that may be causing the problem.

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