What to Do When the Dishwasher Won’t Drain | Mr. Rooter Houston

If you open your dishwasher to find it’s still full of water instead of the clean, dry dishes you expected, it can be a major frustration. When this happens, do you know what to do? Thankfully, there are a few easy things you can try yourself. And if all else fails, just call in the professionals to help.

A dishwasher that’s not draining all the way can be caused by many different issues. One of the simplest fixes that you should try first is to run another cycle and see if the water drains. It’s possible that the first cycle was interrupted for some reason and didn’t finish its job. However, if water in the dishwasher has been a recurring issue, it’s likely due to something else. Try these steps to determine and solve the problem:

  1. Run your garbage disposal. Most commonly, your dishwasher drain connects to your kitchen sink’s garbage disposal — if you have one. And if there’s food buildup in the disposal, the dishwasher will struggle to drain all of its water completely. Turn on your garbage disposal to clear up any remaining buildup and make a habit to do this before running the dishwasher.
  2. Check the air gap. If you don’t have a garbage disposal installed in your kitchen, you likely have what’s called an air gap. This small, cylindrical device generally sits right beside your faucet and prevents airlocks in your drain. However, if it gets clogged, it won’t do its job and can prevent the drains from working. Unscrew the air gap and check for clogs, cleaning if necessary.
  3. Clean the dishwasher’s drain basket. Inside your dishwasher, at the bottom of the machine, the drain basket prevents any large chunks of debris from going down the drain. This basket can easily become clogged with food buildup. Check the appliance’s manual or go online for instructions to remove the basket and clean it out. This step can help the drain water flow more freely.
  4. Check the drain hose. First, you’ll want to check the hose for any kinks. Look under the sink, and check for any other objects that may be bending or stretching the hose, making drainage more difficult. You can also detach the hose to check for clogs. Blow into the hose to check for airflow. Remove clogs with a wire hanger, but do not use a pipe snake, as these can be too harsh for drain hoses.
  5. Call the plumber. If the dishwasher still isn’t draining, it’s likely a different issue with the machine or plumbing, and it’s best to call in the pros. Request an estimate from Mr. Rooter in Houston — we’ve got you covered for all your dishwasher and plumbing issues.