Why is My Dishwasher Not Draining?

No-one is happy to open their machine and discover it hasn’t emptied properly but, don’t overreact just yet. You may have the means to rectify the issue by yourself, without having to call a plumber or purchase a new machine.

Your dishwasher failing to drain can be caused by multiple components some of which are straightforward to resolve. Therefore, in advance of calling a dishwasher repair service here is a lineup of potential things you could correct yourself. A number of which are not even caused by the machine itself.

Ensure the cycle wasn’t cut short

It is possible that there is nothing preventing your dishwasher from draining. Alternatively, the cycle could have been interrupted.

The cycle might have been cut short for any number of of reasons. Kids pressing controls, accidentally pressing against the buttons, a power surge or opening the dishwasher mid-cycle may all interrupt the program and mean your machine doesn’t empty.

If you believe this could be the case, or you just want to be sure it’s not the issue run your dishwasher again on a quick cycle.

A number dishwashers might have an empty capacity so it’s well worth having a look at your instructions or checking online to make sure.

Inspect the garbage disposal

If your dishwasher is attached to a waste disposal examine this before you do anything else as an obstructed waste disposal will block your dishwasher from emptying. Run the garbage disposal with fast running water to ensure there are no obstructions.

If you do uncover a blockage drain un-blocker or a natural alternative could be employed to clear the obstruction and so this may fix the error.

Examine the plumbing for blockages

If you sink is draining inefficiently this might indicate an issue with the pipes as opposed to a problem with your machine.

If the kitchen sink is draining inefficiently you could attempt putting some bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar down the drain, leaving it for a few minutes, then flushing it away with hot water.

A plunger may also be utilized to attempt to dislodge the obstruction.

This may be enough to allow your machine to empty so start a short program now. If this hasn’t sorted the issue you can manually empty the dishwasher using a jug as well as a towel and have a look at a few more areas.

Make sure you turn off the machine to stay safe.

If during one of these checks you believe you may have found and fixed the error there is no need to continue to the next issue. Just complete an empty cycle to ensure the dishwasher is fixed.

Check and clean the filters

Any number of things could block the filters including corn kernels, paper from food jars, plastic film lids and smashed glass. Clear film could also be hard to spot if you aren’t looking for it.

Remove the filter and give it a thorough wash before putting it back in place. Not all filters are obvious and easy to remove so you may need to refer to the manual for this.

Is the waste water pipe blocked?

The next place to examine is the drain hose. Stuck food, a kink in the hose or a crushed hose may all impede your dishwasher from emptying.

Depending on the location of the waste pipe (generally the ribbed one) you may be able to view it by lifting away the base or you might have to pull the machine away from under the counter.

Look at the pipe first to see if there are any kinks or it’s been squashed. You could have the means to fix these issues by hand which is likely to deal with the issue, but it’s worth noting that when this has happened the probability of it happening again is massively increased so you may need to order a spare hose.

If you are unable to find any obvious kinks or obstructions you could take off the waste pipe from the dishwasher and blow into it to check for any blockages. Be sure to put down newspaper or towels first as there could still be water in the hose.

If you are unable to blow air through the waste pipe this might be the problem.

Take off the other end of the hose and then give it a thorough flush through to get rid of the obstruction. If you are unable to shift the blockage or the waste hose is cracked or degraded acquire a brand-new one. If you could remove the blockage then re-attach the hose and run a short program to make sure you have solved the error.

You may also check the point where the hose attaches under your sink as well. This is a common point for a build-up of gunk so if you happen to remove the waste pipe give this area a thorough clean as well.

Inspect the drain valve

You can manually inspect the drain valve to check it isn’t seized. The drain valve will generally be located at the base of the machine on the valve bracket. Examine your owners manual if you can’t see it.

Depressing the valve or giving it a jiggle should be sufficient to tell you if it’s seized. If you are able to see an object blocking it carefully extract this. If you can’t, this might be a good time to ring a plumber unless you are undaunted by purchasing and repairing the component on your own.

Check your pump is not broken

Your dishwasher pump makes use of impellers that can become obstructed by broken china or other objects. Check your pump isn’t broken by removing the safety cover and making sure the impellers are free to move.

Run your dishwasher and listen for any unusual noises

If the dishwasher sounds unusual your dishwasher pump or motor might be damaged and need to be repaired.

Call a repair person

If none of the above examinations has repaired the error, or you think the pump, pump valve or motor are damaged, it might be the moment you need to call a plumber.

At least having done your best to fix the problem yourself you have avoided needing to pay a hefty call-out fee for a blocked drain.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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