How To Drain A Dishwasher – (Easy Ways) to Fix a Common Problem

Drain A Dishwasher

Dishwashers can and will make your life easier, but at the end of the day, they still require a bit of maintenance. The situation can get a bit messy if you fail to look after your appliance. Clogs are among the most common problems, as well as the most obvious causes of water failing to drain properly when the cycle is done.

Learning how to drain a dishwasher is not such a big deal if you have some basic knowledge. You do not need to hire a plumber, as it makes a good DIY project. Simply put, you give your appliance a good maintenance operation and you fix an issue that will most likely come back again if you fail to look after it. So, what options do you have with a dishwasher not draining?


Getting ready to drain the dishwasher

A little preparation is mandatory when the dishwasher won’t drain. Make sure you get ready accordingly to prevent facing any unexpected situations.

First of all, the dishwasher should be empty. Take everything out of it, from dishes to cutlery. Otherwise, they will become a problem when you try to take particular parts out. While the cutlery looks like it will never be in the way, this is your main concern. Knives are sharp and you risk injuring yourself, so take them out of the way.

Then, you have to ensure the dishwasher will not face an accidental start – even more trouble. Simply shut it down. Remove the power source – unplug it. Then, the waterline should also be turned off. You will have to find the main faucet for the waterline – it is usually located under the sink. It is easy to identify, as it is normally made of copper. Braided stainless steel may also be used.

Finally, you should get some gloves. Dishwashers not draining will usually have a common cause, which is a clog. You might need to clean the filter as well, so you are likely to touch some disgusting parts with lots of food leftovers. Most of that food is rotten, so get ready to face some foul odors as well. Heavy-duty gloves are great.


Cleaning the filter

Cleaning the filter will usually solve this problem, and you will be able to drain a dishwasher with no issues whatsoever. It is normally cylindrical and located under the spray arms – the bottom of the dishwasher. Once you identify it, take it out by unscrewing it. Lift it up and get cleaning. Some models may have different models of filter. The mechanism is also different – some of them will have to slide out.

Unable to find it? Get online, find the manual for your particular model, and locate it then.

Once the filter is out, clean it thoroughly,and get rid of all that rotten food. Look inside the hole where it was and clear out all the debris and food leftovers too. Once the debris is out, give the filter and its location a good cleanup. Get some hot water, soap, nd a sponge. Dishwasher detergent will also work to keep it clean.

Do the same for the filter and reinstall it. Run a short cycle to see if water drains.


Cleaning the air gap

The air gap has a simple purpose. It stops sink water from back flowing. It also prevents water from getting inside the dishwasher. It sounds funny, but this air gap is likely to cause drain line problems in dishwashers, as it can clog pretty easily.

The air gap should be checked as soon as you notice incoming water in the counter. You will have to remove the cap (different mechanisms) and get rid of all the debris in there. There will be some food particles left. Clean the area well and try out the drain line again – see if the water drains properly.

Dishwasher Disassembly

Cleaning the drain valve

Check the drain valve, but make sure the dishwasher is cool. You will get in touch with parts that can get very hot, so you want to prevent injuries. This part is usually at the bottom, close to the motor. It has a gate arm – this is the main indicator regarding its location.

Start with the gate arm. Is it in the right position? Are the springs alright? Is the arm stuck? Are the springs a bit damaged? Any of these reasons may cause a dishwasher not draining, so you will have to fix or replace problematic parts.

Then, move on to the solenoid. It has two wires. However, this kind of testing involves using a multitester. The resistance should be around 40 ohms. Make sure you do not have a circuit breaker either. If the resistance is way off, you will have to replace this part. Get the exact same model.

Take a look at the motor as well. Just like garbage disposal, this part has a motor. You can just look at it and feel it. If it looks stuck, turn it a little by hand. See if it feels loose. Once done, put everything back and test the dishwasher again. Is it draining alright now?


Cleaning the drain hose

The drain hose is not to be overlooked either. Close the dishwasher door, then slightly pull the dishwasher outside, so it is separated from anything around it. A dishwasher is quite heavy, so you might need help. You need to take it out enough to be able to reach its back and see the dishwasher drain hose.

The power supply should be off while checking the dishwasher hose drain. It has a plate at the bottom. Remove it and you will see the hose. You might need a flashlight for this operation.

Carefully check the drain hose and make sure there is nothing stuck in there. The easiest way to clear drain hoses is to use a long flexible brush. Simply run it through it. There might be some debris coming out of the hose mouth, so have a rag right under it.

Put everything back and test the dishwasher.

Finally, since you are there, you may also try clearing the garbage disposal – it is a common cause too.

Frequently asked questions

Whether you have to deal with a drain pump, a drain basket or some drain hoses, there will always be a few question marks in the process.


How do I get rid of standing water in my dishwasher?

Simply use a cloth and a recipient. Soak the cloth in the water, then squeeze it inside the recipient. Make sure the dishwasher is unplugged. Then, you can try out various fixes to get it to drain properly.


Why is there standing water in my dishwasher?

There are more causes of standing water in the dishwasher. Most commonly, you will have a clog, so you will need to clean the dishwasher and get rid of all the debris and leftovers.


What would cause a dishwasher not to drain?

Food remains in the filter, the drain hose or the drain valve represents the most common cause of a dishwasher not draining.


How do you drain a dishwasher with no power?

You will have to do it manually. Use a cloth – soak it in water and squeeze the water out.


The bottom line, figuring how to drain a dishwasher is not really a challenge, but it involves doing some dirty work. The operation can be done with no experience at all and usually involves some maintenance – just clean the areas exposed to food leftovers.

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