Help! My Dishwasher Won’t Drain

Standing, murky water in a dishwasher can quickly turn into a big mess. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey says fewer Americans own dishwashers than any other kind of major appliance. But if you’re among half of dishwasher owners who use the appliance up to six times a week, you know the frustration of seeing a puddle of dirty water in the bottom of the machine.

There are certain parts to the dishwasher you can test. The average dishwasher lasts 9-10 years, so consider the age of your appliance before you pour your cash into a repair. If your machine still has years to go, check these pieces and parts when the dishwasher won’t drain.

Dishwasher clogged by food debris

One of the most common reasons a dishwasher fails to drain properly is due to food particles caught in the drainage system. If you suspect this is your problem, remove as mush of the standing water as possible. Then, remove the bottom sprayer arm, which usually pops out. Next, remove the dishwasher screen by rotating the pressure lock. If food debris is the problem, you’ll see the mess in this portion of the drainage system. Remove the particles and you should be back to normal.

Clogged Supply Line

It’s possible that a clog in the supply line that connects the dishwasher to the primary drain is causing the standing water problem. You can locate the supply line by looking under your kitchen sink and finding the tube that’s running to your dishwasher. You may need to shut off the water supply before attempting this repair.

Look for clogs within the tube, especially near the connection point. You can use a plumbing snake or wire hanger if needed to clear out the debris. Be sure the check the main drainage pipe as well. Once the clog is removed, reattach the supply line and run a rinse cycle to see if that cleared the problem.

Check for a damaged drain pump
If you’ve cleared food debris from the drainage system and supply line, but still find water in the bottom of the dishwasher, check the drain pump. Over time, the drain pump can become cracked or dented, rendering the piece useless. A new dishwasher drain pump can usually be purchased for under $60. If you notice that the drain pump has significant damage, it’s time to replace the part.

Damager electrical control board

Even if the control panel on your dishwasher is receiving power, it may not be communicating effectively to other parts. So, when it’s time for the drainage system to begin working, the control board may not be sending the message. We recommend hiring a plumber or appliance technician to make this repair. Dishwasher control boards can range in price from $100 to more than $400, so before making the investment, consider the age of your appliance. It may be time to simply purchase a new dishwasher rather than making repairs to an aged machine.

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