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How to Fix a Dishwasher That Won’t Drain

Dishwasher with an out of order sign on it

One of the more frustrating things is when an appliance won’t work right. You spent a lot of money just to have that appliance because it will save you some work. When it breaks down, you have more work to do. When it is the dishwasher, you have double the work.

Not only do you have to wash the dirty dishes, but you have to find out the source of the problem and fix it. When your dishwasher won’t drain, this can be a hassle but there are some simple steps to take to get it to work again.

Just keep reading to find out those steps.

How to Fix a Clogged Dishwasher

The clog may be something simple like an obstruction. But to clear that problem, you may have to disassemble your drain and drain hose. That may be more work than you want to do. Here are some other steps to take first that may solve the problem without a lot of work.

Step 1 – Turn Your Disposal On

Because your dishwasher drains through this device, it may get clogged because your disposal still has food items in it. Turn your disposal on and clear out all food items before running your dishwasher. 30 seconds may be all that you will need to clear the problem.

Step 2 – Don’t Overload the Dishwasher

Also, put the dishes and pots in correctly. A crowded dishwasher, especially one that is filled with pots, dishes, and platters that have not been pre-rinsed can help clog up your drain.

Overloading your appliance can stop water from getting out quickly as well. Just put enough dishes inside to make sure your work is done, and the dishwasher does not overwork.

Step 3 – Check the Filter

Modern dishwashers are given this extra part. That is one more step in your cleaning duties you have to make. It may be a bother but making sure the filter is clean is one way to keep it working right and draining properly.

It will only take a minute or two to get the filter clean. Checking at least once a month should tell you when you need to pull it out and clean it. If you can’t get it clean, then change it.

Step 4 – Check the Drain Hose

There might be a kink in the line that you did not know about. To get the dishwasher draining again, just unkink the line. Then position it so that the line does not return to that position again.

Also, while you have the hose unhooked, run a coat hanger through it to check for obstructions. Then make sure the seal is secure and tight so that there are no leaks when you put the hose back on.

Step 5 – Look at The Drain Valve

It is a simple part but a vital one. If it malfunctions it can stop your dishwasher from draining. The valve is on the valve bracket at the bottom or near the bottom of your dishwasher. Push on it with your finger to see if it moves freely or not.

If it doesn’t you may have to replace it. Sometimes the valve is at the rear of the dishwasher in one of the corners.

Step 6 – Use Natural Ingredients

You may not be able to see the clog that is causing the dishwasher to stop draining. Or you may have a mineral or soap build-up that is blocking key exit portals.

The thing to do is run some vinegar through the system and let it clear up those clogs. Then run another cycle with some baking soda on the floor of the appliance to get rid of that vinegar smell.

Step 7 – Malfunction

Listen to your machine while it is running. If you are hearing strange noises, it may be a key part malfunctioning or breaking. When it does, that will stop your dishwasher from draining.

This may be a job for a professional repairman to fix. Give them a call and see what they say.

Step 8 – There May Be Blockages

It happens when someone forgets to pre-rinse a pot or a plate. To get rid of this issue you will have to unhook the drain, the drain hose, and other drainage areas. Then look for an obstruction in one of the systems.

You can use a toothbrush or a coat hanger or your fingers if you dare, but removing the obstruction is vital to a smooth operating dishwasher.

Some Final Words

When you are trying to find the problem, assess the issue as some of these problems may require the aid of a professional. It is a thought you may not like but you may not have another choice.

But don’t panic when you have this drain problem. Most of the issues causing the failure to drain are easy enough for you to handle on your own.

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