Why Won’t My Dishwasher Drain?

Why Won’t My Dishwasher Drain?

We have all been there. You open the dishwasher and discover an unexpected puddle of water at the bottom. Or even worse — a pool of water all over your kitchen floor! Dishwasher mishaps are unfortunately common and sometimes tricky to diagnose. If your dishwasher is damaged, it may need to be replaced. However, there several other things that could be going on. Here are some of the most likely reasons for why your dishwater won’t drain.

The Dishwasher Didn’t Complete a Cycle

Perhaps someone opened the dishwasher before it was done. Or maybe you accidentally pressed a button that canceled the wash before it was finished. If a cycle didn’t complete, you may be left with some standing water. Simply run it again to see if this remedies the problem.

You Used the Wrong Detergent

It happens. If you’re in a hurry or not fully paying attention, you can grab your dish soap instead of the dishwasher detergent. Dish soap creates an excessive amount of suds which can fill up your dishwasher and prevent it from draining properly. To fix this issue, you’ll need to clean out all the suds and run a cycle again using the proper detergent.

Blocked Drain Basket

Do your best to remove all standing water by scooping it out with a cup or soaking it up towels. Then inspect the bottom for any blockages. You may need to unscrew the drain basket to take a look at the screen underneath. Rogue utensils, small cups, and food scraps could all be blocking your drain basket from functioning properly. Clean it out and run a cycle to see if this corrects the issue.

Kinked Drain Hose

The ribbed plastic hose that runs from your dishwasher to the sink is the drain hose. If the hose becomes kinked, the water will have a hard time draining. Unkink the hose or replace it if it’s too worn or damaged. You can also check the hose for any clogs and clean away any gunk.

Garbage Disposal is Clogged

You may not know this but your dishwasher hose empties into your garbage disposal. If the disposal is filled with food and debris, the water won’t drain properly and will back up into the dishwasher. Turn the kitchen faucet on and run the garbage disposal to clear out any food that could be stuck in there.

Clogged Air Gap

If you don’t have a garbage disposal, your dishwasher drain hose will connect to something called an air gap. This small metal cylinder will be located near the sink faucet. The air gap vents the hose to prevent an air lock. Once in a while, it can get clogged with gunk. Twist it counterclockwise to remove and clean it with warm water and a bottle brush.

Loosened High Loop

If your sink doesn’t have an air gap, It’s possible that the drain hose was looped up and attached to the bottom of this sink. This is referred to as a high loop. Although this is not code-compliant, it is another technique used to prevent an air lock. If the loop comes undone or becomes loose, the dishwasher will not drain properly. Simply reattach the high loop or have an air gap installed by a licensed plumber. 

Stephens Plumbing Can Figure Out Why Your Dishwasher Won’t Drain

Sometimes it’s best to leave it to the experts. When you can’t get down to the bottom of your dishwasher woes, you can trust Stephens Plumbing to solve it. Available 24/7, our highly qualified team is ready to service your dishwasher. And if you’re ready for a brand new dishwasher, we can help you with that, too. Stephens Plumbing is there for all your kitchen plumbing needs.