Why Is My Dishwasher Not Draining?

You’re enjoying the convenience of your dishwasher handling your dishes.

However, you start to observe puddles of water around the dishwasher. This indicates that your dishwasher is not draining.

Your dishwasher may not be draining because of an issue with the gasket, drain hose, spray arm, or seal.

Draining problems may also be caused by wrong maintenance and handling of the dishwasher such as not cleaning the filter, wrong loading, and use of detergent.

In this article, we’ll discuss ten possible causes of this problem and tips for fixing a dishwasher that isn’t draining.

10 Causes of a Dishwasher Not Draining

Broken Seal

The most common reason is that the seal between the dishwasher and the drain hose or at the door is broken.

The seal needs to be in good shape so that all of the liquid waste from washing dishes doesn’t back up into your home.

To fix this problem, you will need to purchase a new garbage disposal unit or have one repaired.

It’s often easier to just replace the garbage disposal and let the dishwasher drain itself after a while.

Spray Arm Issue

If there’s standing water at the bottom of their dishwasher, it indicates that the spray arm is jammed and full of debris.

If you turn on the machine and water starts spraying everywhere, then most likely the spray arm is jammed.

This is easily fixed by rotating it a few degrees and unclogging it with a wire toothbrush.

You may need to use an electrician to do this or you can get a hand-held tool that will easily fix the jam.

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Garbage Disposal

A clogged garbage disposal hose is probably the most common reason why dishwashers stop draining.

Clogs are very easy to remove using a plunger or a wire brush, but some clogs can be more difficult to clear.

A clog is typically caused by food particles and other debris that gets caught in the trap of the hose.

To unclog a garbage disposal hose, you will need to disconnect it from the dishwasher.

Remove the trash container from the drain.

Next, pour some baking soda down the drain (which will dissolve the grease) and then flush out the drain.

A connection system for a dishwasher
Source: Kitchen Rank

Dishwasher Filter

There might be a blockage in the dishwasher filter. This happens when you don’t clean your filter often.

The dishwasher filter is often blocked by debris, dish particles, and detergent accumulation.

To resolve this, locate the dishwasher filter and clean it.

Here’s an article on How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher Filter?

Supply Line

A clogged plumbing supply line is another common reason why your dishwasher is not draining.

Most supply lines to dishwashers are attached to a threaded metal hose, called a flange. It carries the water line to the drain.

Clogging usually occurs when too much pressure is applied to the supply line while it is in use.

If the supply line should become completely clogged, there is a possibility that the sink traps the water as it expands and turns into a vacuum.

This may result in the loss of power to your dishwasher and may require repair of your plumbing system.

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Dishwasher Detergent

It is very important to maintain the proper detergent levels in your dishwasher and to keep them at an appropriate level to avoid build-up.

Improper detergent levels can lead to the build-up of limescale and deposits on the inside of the dishwasher drum.

These substances will cause the drum to clog more quickly and could eventually cause the machine to malfunction.

Here’s an article on How Much Dishwasher Detergent Should I Use in A Dishwasher?

Detergent in a measuring cup

Incomplete Cycle

Sometimes, the cause of your dishwasher not draining might be as simple as an incomplete dishwasher cycle.

If for any reason a dishwasher cycle is interrupted, draining might not have occurred.

Reset the dishwasher or hit the drain button to complete the draining process.

Dishwasher Loading

Inappropriate loading of the dishwasher can affect how it drains.

They may interfere with the spray arms or affect water movement during the cycles.

Ensure that bowls are on the top rack while plates are at the bottom rack.

Guarantee that the dishes face downward or at an angle to prevent the formation of puddles.

Your utensils (forks and spoons) should stick up and be close together.

A dishwasher full of dishes

Drain Pump

A clogged drain pump or a slow-draining dishwasher could also be caused by rust forming at the lower portion of the supply line or the connection points with the motor and drain pump.

If you have any of the problems mentioned above and you still cannot figure out what is causing the problem, then it is likely that you need to have your garbage disposal or kitchen sink flushed.

Flushing the garbage disposal or sink could resolve the clog issue if it is caused by a properly installed drain hose or kitchen drain line.

If these items are not functioning, then it is recommended that you replace them immediately.

Electrical Issue

If you have any kind of electrical problems with your garbage disposal or sink, including circuit overload, then it is recommended that you call a professional immediately.

Electrical problems with these pieces of equipment are dangerous and should only be dealt with by qualified professionals.

The only safe solution for a clogged garbage disposal drain or sink is to call a plumber to perform a thorough plumbing inspection.

By doing an inspection first, a plumber will be able to tell whether there are problems with your drainage system.

They will also identify whether you need to call a plumber to fix the issue immediately.

If you ignore a clogged garbage disposal drain or sink and leave it alone, you risk experiencing dangerous electrical and water issues.

The issues could result in extensive damage to your drains and sinks as well as a serious plumbing issue that could eventually require the replacement of your appliances.

By calling a reputable plumbing company for an inspection, you can save yourself expensive repair bills and prevent the damage or even destruction of your drains and sinks.


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