Why is My Dishwasher Not Draining?

No-one wants to open their machine and discover it hasn’t drained correctly but, don’t lose it just yet. You could manage solve the fault by yourself, without having to call a repair person or purchase a new dishwasher.

Your machine declining to empty could have any number of of causes a number of which are simple to solve. Therefore, before you call a dishwasher repair service try this list of potential things you could troubleshoot by yourself. A proportion of which aren’t even a fault of the machine itself.

Ensure the dishwasher wasn’t stopped mid-program

It is probable that there is nothing stopping your machine from emptying. Instead, the program could have been interrupted.

The program may have been stopped mid-way for multiple of reasons. Children pushing controls, accidentally leaning on the buttons, a power outage or opening the dishwasher mid-cycle could all prevent the program from completing and mean your dishwasher doesn’t drain.

If you believe this could be the circumstance, or you think it may be worthwhile checking run your dishwasher again on a short program.

A number appliances could have a drain capacity so it’s worth having a look at your manual or consulting google to make sure.

Examine the waste disposal

If you have a disposal inspect this before you do anything else as an obstructed garbage disposal will prevent your machine from emptying. Turn on the waste disposal using fast running water to make sure there are no blockages.

If you do find a blockage drain cleaner or a plunger could be sought after to clear the obstruction and this might rectify the error.

Check the plumbing for issues

If you sink is draining inefficiently this could indicate a plumbing issue instead of an issue with your dishwasher.

In the case that the kitchen sink is emptying slowly you may try putting a little bicarb and white vinegar down the drain, letting it sit for a few minutes and then rinsing it away with boiling water.

A sink plunger could also be utilized to try and dislodge the blockage.

This could be sufficient to allow the machine to drain so run a quick rinse and empty cycle at this point. If this hasn’t sorted the issue you may manually empty the dishwasher using a bowl as well as a towel and check the next few possible issues.

Make sure you unplug the machine to stay safe.

If in the process of any of these checks you suspect you have detected and repaired the issue there is no need to continue to the next issue. Just start an empty cycle to check the dishwasher is fixed.

Check and clean the filters

Popcorn, paper from containers, plastic lids and smashed glass, plus food debris, can all block the machine filter. Clear film may also be difficult to see if you don’t look closely.

Take out the filter then clean it thoroughly before putting it back in place. Not all filters are obvious and easy to remove so you could need to consult the owners manual for this.

Is the waste pipe obstructed?

The next place to inspect is the waste water hose. Many things could cause a blockage including a build up of food debris, a kink in the hose, or a crushed hose. All of which could all impede your dishwasher from draining.

Depending on the position of the waste hose (generally the corrugated one) you could have the means to view it simply by taking off the base or you could have to move the machine away from the wall.

Look at the pipe in the first instance to discover if it has been squashed or kinked. You may have the means to fix these issues by hand which should fix the issue, however, it’s worth noting that when this has occurred the probability of it happening again is massively increased so you could wish to purchase a replacement hose.

If you are unable to see any obvious kinks or obstructions you can remove the waste water pipe from the machine and blow into it to figure out if there are any blockages. Be sure to line the floor with newspaper or towels first as there might still be water in the pipe.

If you can’t blow through the waste hose this might be the reason your machine isn’t emptying.

Disconnect the hose at the sink end and then give it a good clean to get rid of the blockage. If you are unable to dislodge the obstruction or the waste pipe is cracked or worn acquire a new one. If you can get rid of the obstruction then put the hose back and start a quick program to find out if you have repaired the fault.

You may also inspect where the waste pipe connects to the sink. This is a typical place for a build-up of gunk so if you do remove the hose give this connection a thorough clean as well.

Inspect the drain valve

You may examine the drain valve by hand to make sure it hasn’t seized. The drain valve will generally be located at the base of the machine on the valve bracket. Examine your manual if you can’t see it.

Pushing down on the valve or giving it a wiggle should be enough to let you know if it’s seized. If you can see something stopping it from moving remove this. If you are unable to, this might be when you should get in touch with a plumber unless you are happy in procuring and replacing the valve on your own.

Examine your pump is not blocked

Your dishwasher pump uses impellers that can become obstructed by broken glass or other debris. Check your impellers aren’t obstructed by removing the cover and ensuring that the impellers can be easily rotated.

Listen to your dishwasher while it’s running

If it sounds unusual your pump or motor might be broken and need to be repaired.

Call a plumber

If you have been through the above list and the fault persists, or you suspect the pump, pump valve or motor are damaged, it could be a good time to call for help.

At least having done your best to troubleshoot you have managed to avoid needing to pay a hefty call-out charge for a clogged filter.

More Dishwasher Problems:

  • Dishwasher Being Loud
  • Dishwasher Not Turning On
  • Dishwasher Leaking
  • Dishwasher Not Drying
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