Kitchen equipment

3 Reasons Why Your New Dishwasher is Not Draining

I know how frustrating it is when your new dishwasher is not draining. I have been there before. The dishwasher is a very important kitchen appliance, or at least it is in my house.

I don’t know how I would survive without it. It makes my work very easy. All I have to do is load dishes, add detergent, set the wash cycle, and let it do the rest.  But what do you do when your new dishwasher is not draining properly?

Sometimes the dishwasher just doesn’t drain properly. Before you call a plumber, there are a few simple things that you can do to solve the problem without the help of a plumber.


The dishwasher not draining is one of the most common problems that plumbers have to deal with.

I know how scary it is to open the dishwasher and see standing water at the bottom.

Fortunately, it is not always a plumbing emergency. Most times you can even correct the problem yourself.

What to do when the dishwasher isn’t draining

  1. Run the disposal

If your disposal is full or there is an air gap in a connecting hose, water may not properly drain out of your dishwasher. Try running your disposal and see if it fixes the problem.

  1. Load the dishwasher correctly

Most people do not load the dishwasher the way that they should. Make sure that you carefully load the dishwasher. Read the user’s manual for directions and tips on how to load the dishes for the best results.

  1. Clean or change the filter

Sometimes your filter could just be clogged. Most people do not know that you actually need to clean the dishwasher filters regularly. Despite the fact that most dishwashers have small in-built grinders, pieces of food can still clog the filter.

A clogged filter could make your dishwasher not drain as it should. Simply check your user’s manual to see where your filter is and read the instructions on how and when to clean it. In most dishwashers, the filter is located on the inside bottom of the dishwasher.

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  1. Check for blockages

Blockages are arguably the most common cause of the dishwasher not draining. Check the bottom of your dishwasher to ensure that no pieces of food or any other item fell from the rack and consequently blocked the water flow. Something as simple as this could be the reason why your dishwasher is not draining.

  1. Inspect the drain valve

Most dishwashers have a drain valve that prevents water from draining back into the dishwasher. The drain valve should be able to move freely.

When the drain valve is frozen or doesn’t move freely, your dishwasher may not drain properly.  The drain valve is found on the valve bracket which is mostly located at the bottom of the dishwasher.  Push it to make sure it moves freely and is not frozen.

If the drain valve is frozen, it means that the electrical solenoid that controls it is burned out. You will have to replace it. New parts for dishwashers are readily available in the market.

  1. Check the drain hose

Before checking the drain hose, disconnect the dishwasher from its power source. You can do this by unplugging it or turning off the circuit breaker.

Inspect the drain hose that connects the sink and garbage disposal. Try straightening any kinks that may be making your dishwasher not drain.

Blow through the hose or poke a wire through it to make sure there are no clogs. Additionally, tighten the hose seal to make sure the dishwasher drains well.

  1. Clean the drain basket

The drain basket is located either at the side or at the bottom of your dishwasher. Food particles and detergents can sometimes clog the drain basket.

Check it to see if this is the case and unclog it. Wash the drain basket to clear any debris.

  1. Check the timer

If the timer of your dishwasher is defective, it may interfere with your dishwasher’s ability to drain properly.

Test the timer mechanism of your dishwasher. If it is faulty in any way, replace it. You can replace the timer’s motor or the entire timer assembly.

  1. Check the pump assembly

The pump assembly consists of the wash impeller, the pump, and the drain impeller. The pump normally ejects water from the dishwasher.

The wash impeller pushes water through the spray arm.  Examine the pump assembly and clean out any debris that may be clogging it. If any part of the pump assembly is worn out or does not work the way it should.

  1. Check the belt

In some dishwashers, the pump assembly is driven by a belt. However, it is not very common. If your dishwasher’s pump assembly is driven by a belt, the belt can sometimes become worn out and defective. Check it to see if it is worn out and replace it if need be.

  1. Inspect the motor

The motor plays an important role in the ability of your dishwasher to drain water. The motor should function properly in order for the dishwasher to drain water properly.

If not, the dishwasher will not drain. Test the motor for continuity. If it fails the test, replace it.

  1. Listen to your machine while it’s running

Sometimes the drain pump and motor might be the problem. Listen to the sound that your dishwasher makes while it is running.

If it does not make the usual sounds, you may need to replace the drain pump and the motor. Any humming or clicking noise means that the drain pump and motor need to be replaced.

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Draining a dishwasher properly


If you have some water standing at the bottom of the dishwasher, here is how to drain it properly. Line the floor of the dishwasher with towels.

If you don’t have any towels you can use, use newspapers. Use a large ladle or a measuring cup to scoop the water from the bottom of the dishwasher into a sink or bowl.

Once the water becomes too shallow to scoop use paper towels to soak up the water that has remained.

Proper dishwasher maintenance

A dishwasher is a kitchen appliance that you use on a daily basis. It is essential that you maintain it properly so that it works properly.

If you take care of your dishwasher, it will serve you for very many years. You can avoid paying for the replacement or repair of a dishwasher by proper maintenance. You can save yourself a lot of money.

Here is how to maintain your dishwasher properly.

  1. Use the right detergent

Make sure you use the right dish detergent according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Using the right detergent will ensure that the detergent does not clog the drain.

If the interior of your dishwasher is made of stainless steel, do not use bleach or any detergent that has bleach.

  1. Empty the dishwasher before you begin

Before you begin using the dishwasher, empty it. Don’t just load dishes into the dishwasher before you empty it.

  1. Make sure the door to the dishwasher opens easily

Clean the door and gasket of your dishwasher using a damp cloth. You can use an old toothbrush to get into tight spaces. Check the bottom of the door for debris and wipe clean if needed.

  1. Check for lime build-up.

It is important that you occasionally de-lime the water-feed equipment.  Run one cycle of your empty dishwasher with a mild food acid of your choice. This will clear any lime build up in your dishwasher.

  1. Always make sure that the scrap tray is in place

The scrap tray should always be clean and in its place. If you are mindful of what you put in your dishwasher, you may not have to clean the scrap tray often.

However, you should always inspect it and remove any shreds of broken glass or pieces of food.

  1. Wash and rinse the arms and nozzles

All the holes in the spinning arms of your dishwasher should be unclogged so that water can run through them freely. If the holes are clogged, use a thin stiff wire, a toothpick, or needle-nose pliers to unclog the holes and remove any debris.

Ensure that you do not scratch anything while unclogging. You can also use hot distilled white vinegar to scrub off any mineral deposits from the spray arm.

  1. Check the condition of plastic coating on the tines of the dish racks

The plastic coating on the racks should not be chipped. Promptly repair any chips to prevent rust. If there is any rust, you can use steel wool to remove it and cap the damaged rack tines with slip-on rubber tips.

  1. When on automatic, check that the dishwasher starts once you close the door

If the dishwasher does not start automatically once you close the door, there is a fundamental problem that definitely needs repair.

  1. Check for leaks

Any leak is an indication that your dishwasher needs repair.  Call a professional to deal with the problem.

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