Why is My Dishwasher Not Draining?

Although it’s never a pleasant sight to open a dishwasher and find out it hasn’t emptied fully, try not to panic just yet. You might have the means to deal with the error by yourself, without having to call a plumber or purchase a new machine.

Standing water in your dishwasher can have a number of of causes a few of which can be straightforward to fix. Therefore, before you call a dishwasher repair service try this list of probable issues you could troubleshoot yourself. A number of which are not even a fault of the dishwasher itself.

Ensure the dishwasher wasn’t interrupted mid-cycle

It is possible that there is nothing stopping your dishwasher from draining. Instead, the cycle could have been cut short.

The cycle could have been interrupted for a number of of reasons. Kids pressing controls, accidentally pressing against the control panel, a power outage or opening the machine mid-program could all prevent the program from completing and mean your machine doesn’t empty.

If you think this may be the case, or you feel it may be a good idea to check start the dishwasher again on a quick cycle.

A number appliances could have a drain cycle so it’s well worth consulting your instruction manual or checking online to find out.

Examine the waste disposal

If your dishwasher is plumbed into the disposal check this before you do anything else as an obstructed disposal will stop your dishwasher from emptying. Turn on the disposal using plenty of water to make sure there are no issues.

If you do uncover a blockage drain un-blocker or a natural alternative could be sought after to unclog the blockage and this could resolve the error.

Examine the sink for blockages

If you kitchen sink is emptying reluctantly this might suggest a plumbing issue instead of a fault with your machine.

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

A sink plunger might also be used to attempt to shift the blockage.

This might be enough to let your appliance to work again so run a quick rinse and drain program at this point. If this hasn’t sorted the issue you can manually remove the dirty water using a bowl and a sponge and troubleshoot the next few possible issues.

Make sure you turn off the dishwasher to avoid electrocution.

If during any one of these checks you suspect you have found and fixed the issue there is no need to continue to the next step. Just run an empty cycle to check the machine is repaired.

Examine and wash the filters

Popcorn, labels from tupperware, plastic covers and broken glass, as well as scraps of food, can all obstruct the dishwasher filter. Clear glass may also be difficult to see if you aren’t looking for it.

Remove the filter then give it a thorough clean before replacing it. Not all filters are obvious and simple to remove so you might need to consult the instruction manual for this.

Is the drain hose blocked?

The next area to check is the waste water hose. Many things could cause an obstruction 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.

Subject to the location of the waste hose (generally the ribbed one) you might have the means to inspect it by lifting away the base alternatively you could need to pull the dishwasher away from under the counter.

Have a look at the pipe first to discover if it has been squashed or kinked. You might be able to fix these issues by hand which will most likely fix the issue, however, be aware that once this has happened it is significantly more inclined to happen again so you might wish to purchase a spare hose.

If you can’t find any obvious kinks or obstructions you can take off the waste pipe from the machine and blow through it to discover any blockages. Be sure to put down newspaper or towels before you remove the hose as even if you have emptied the dishwasher there may still be waste water in the pipe.

If you can’t blow air through the waste hose this may be the issue.

Disconnect the other end of the hose and give it a good clean to get rid of the obstruction. If you are unable to dislodge the obstruction or the pipe is cracked or degraded acquire a new one. If you may get rid of the blockage then re-attach the hose and run a short program to find out if you have solved the issue.

You could also check the point where the hose attaches to the waste disposal. This is a common point for blockages to occur so if you do take off the hose give this connection a good scrub as well.

Examine the drain valve

You may manually examine the drain valve to make sure it hasn’t seized. The drain valve will usually be located at the base of the machine on the valve bracket. Consult your instruction manual if you’re not sure.

Pushing down on the valve or giving it a jiggle should be sufficient to let you know if it’s stuck. If you can see something stopping it from moving carefully extract this. If you can’t, this may be when you should ring a plumber unless you are confident in procuring and replacing the valve on your own.

Inspect your pump is not blocked

Your appliance pump makes use of impellers that could be blocked by broken china or other debris. Check your impellers aren’t blocked by removing the safety cover and making sure the impellers can be easily rotated.

Run your machine and listen for any unusual noises

If your dishwasher doesn’t sound normal your dishwasher pump or motor may be broken and need replacing.

Call a repair person

If none of the above checks has fixed the issue, or you think the pump, pump valve or motor are not working, it may be the right time to call for help.

At least having done your best to investigate what is wrong you have avoided having to pay a big repair fee for a blocked hose.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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