What To Check First When Your Dishwasher Not Draining

When your dishwasher not draining, then there are issues with it you need to quickly attend to. Otherwise, it may result to more difficult ones.

Or if you are not sure whether “is there should be water in the dishwasher?” or there is a doubt as to what causes dishwasher not to drain, then take your time to follow the tips in this post. 

But we start, what is the natural feeling you always have when your dishwasher is not draining residual water?

Whether you decide to hire an expert to repair or you go the DIY way, the first thing is to check the drainage system of your dishwasher. 

Although there are different models of dishwashers, the drainage system functions the same way and possibly will have similar solutions. One other thing to check is the drain hose

Dishwasher drain hose connection
Check drain hose connection.

Just put the screwdriver into this elbow to make sure nothing got stuck there

An obstructed drain hose will cause water not to flow.

Other defects include faulty drain valves, malfunction drain pumps and motors, to mention a few.

In this article, we will show why your dishwasher is not draining properly and ways to fix it.

What causes water not to drain from a dishwasher?

Defective Drain Pump

The drain pump is always one of the last component parts of your Frigidaire or any other brand of the dishwasher to get faulty.

Typically, the drain pump utilizes an impeller that helps in draining water out of your dishwasher. 

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However, once the impeller is faulty due to a number of reasons, water in the dishwasher remains undisposed.

So, what are the reasons your drain pump will be helpless while your dishwasher won’t drain? 

The first problem may be that some foreign object, usually pieces of broken glass, has blocked the way of the pump. One of the signs that inform you that the pump has been clogged is a sort of humming sound coming from the motor as soon as a cycle begins.

Clogged Garbage disposal

You observe that your whirlpool dishwasher is not draining at the end of the cycle, then try to check out for garbage disposal connection. 

A garbage disposal may cause your Frigidaire dishwasher not to drain residual water. 

The fault is always traced to issues during installation. It could also be that your disposer is clogged.

Inside the garbage disposal’s drain tube is a solid plug that usually blocks drainage. 

How to fix:

  • Check if the plug is in order or the garbage disposal has clogs by removing it.
  • Remove the drain hose and sanitize the joint of the disposal and drain hose.
  • Check your food chopper if the food particles are much larger than what you can manually remove.

Water backflow From The Sink

Have you once noticed that sometimes your dishwasher drains, but after a while, you find water remains at the bottom of the machine? 

You want to know if there should be water in the dishwasher drain.

Then know that water retains in the base of your dishwasher is not the best.

It is often caused by a faulty check ball or check valve flapper.

If there is a backflow of water that is drained from the dishwasher then the check ball, a small plastic ball in the check valve, is preventing a flow back of water.

There is possibility that the check ball it stuck which restricts the free flow of the check valve.

Obstructed drain hose

Often, your KitchenAid dishwasher is not draining, and you wonder what the problem is.

Here is the most probable reason this may happen.

Some food debris may have clogged the drain hose. 

The drain hose is the part of your dishwasher that connects the machine to the garbage disposal compartment under your kitchen sink.

Once there is restriction along the drainage due to a faulty drain hose, then you can be sure that your dishwasher won’t drain.

The drain hose may have been blocked by food debris or the formation of kink.

How to fix:

Once your dishwasher has developed a kink, then your troubleshooting is done. Simply replace the drain hose.

However, if the food chopper has accumulated food debris, remove the drain hose from the pump and clean it. In the case of accumulation of food debris, the permanent solution is to fix the food chopper.

Defective Drain valves 

If you check near the motor of your Kenmore’s dishwasher, you will find drain valves.

So if your Kenmore dishwasher is not draining, then check out the valves. 

The drain valves parts help to allow wastewater to drain out of your dishwasher, thus, preventing it from backflow.

Faulty valves allow backflow of dirty water back into the dishwasher.

However, sometimes the valves are clogged by food debris, hence obstructing water from exiting the dishwasher. 

More provoking is the bad smell the used water releases after it remains in the dishwasher for a long time undisposed.

Then your kitchen stenches and becomes quite unbearable to stay in once you open the dishwasher’s door. You’ll need to check the drain valves. 

How to fix:

First, remove the valve to check what it needs. Clean off the dirt in it. But if the valve is bad, try to replace it as a faulty valve cannot be fixed. 

How do you check if your machine’s valve is defected? Remove the drain hose, fill it with water and try to drain.

While you’re trying to trap the water from escaping, you will see the valve opening. And after draining, the valve will not close again.

malfunctioned Dishwasher timer

What causes dishwasher not to drain? It may seem that this question has been over-flogged with the number of possible causes explained above.

But there is another reason why your dishwasher won’t drain. 

If you check the control panel of your old machine, you find the timer. This part helps the dishwasher control the motor and also the drain solenoid. When this timer is faulty, your Frigidaire dishwasher will not drain wastewater.

How to fix:

How do you know that the timer is faulty? Different Frigidaire dishwashers are built with unique wiring plan.

Check these schematics to understand the exact timer that works for your own Frigidaire dishwasher.

The way to go is to check if the current gets in the timer. Once the timer fails to indicate any current out, then the timer is defective.

And the only way is to replace a bad timer. However, if the timer signals current out, then it is functioning.

Trace the wire until you get to the point where there is current break. Try to replace the wires if there is any fault detected. 

How to fix a clogged Drain pump?

Fixing a dishwasher clogged by foreign object through the drain pump is quite simple. Take the following steps:

  • First disconnect the feeder hose, the anti-flood switch and any other connection that could get damaged in the process of moving the machine around.
  • Unscrew the base plate of your dishwasher, then the drain pump.
  • Carefully turn and pull the drain pump out. Any sign of resistance when pulling may be due to a screw holding the pump down.
  • Check and scrap any food debris clogging the impeller. 
  • Check if the impeller or motor is properly rotating, not running or running in the wrong direction by trying it out with your finger. Any of these will be the cause of why your Frigidaire dishwasher won’t drain.  
  • If the motor is not rotating or rotating wrongly, then use a meter to check if the circuit gets to the terminals. If your drain pump is not working, then be sure that it is either there is a problem with your machine’s motor winding, or the motor has seized.
  • Replace the seized motor with the right one. 

How to fix Drain pump check valve:

The fix is simple. Simply, use a screwdriver to free the ball and spray some lubricant to allow free flow of the check valve. 

How to manually drain a dishwasher?

In addition to the drainage problems discussed earlier, a clog or leftover water can cause your dishwasher to produce fishy odors. 

If your dishwasher isn’t draining water, fixing it might be one of the quick and easy issues to deal with manually. 

But you will need to do some troubleshooting to know what the problem is. Start your troubleshooting to know if the dishwasher’s filter is clogged and try to clean them.

However, that does not solve the problem; you’ll need to check the drain hose and valve for clogs 

Take the following steps to do proper manual cleaning of your dishwasher:

The process starts with removing the dishes from the dishwasher before placing them in the sink. Turn off the power connection with dishwasher as well as water flow into the machine. 

You disconnect the power flow into the dishwasher by shutting off the circuit that connects to the machine.

As to water flow, turn off the water supply by turning off the copper line or braided stainless steel-enabled water line.

Then remove the water with containers and towels or just follow steps in this video

Can you put a drain cleaner in a dishwasher?

It is not advisable to put drain cleaner into the dishwasher for a number of reasons.

Although the drain hose in your dishwasher can help clear off particles of food left on your dishes, the part can also potentially clog up, rendering your machine inefficient. 

Using a drain cleaner is also not the best way to clear this clog caused by drain hose.

There are attendant health risk that comes with using drain cleaner to unclog the dishwasher drain hose. Never try to put a drain cleaner in your dishwasher. It is risky!

One is that drain cleaner could potentially damage the rubber or plastic inside of your dishwasher. Some of the commercial drain cleaners out there contain toxic chemicals. 

And when you mix a drain cleaner into your dishwasher, the residue left from the cleaning agent may be left in the machine, constituting health risks to your dishes during future wash cycles. 

The drain cleaner residue is also harmful to your health.

The drain cleaner could also damage the drain hose or some other important parts of the dishwasher. It could also cause leakages and other mechanical problems to your machine.

What alternative methods can you use to manually drain your dishwasher?

The next time you observe your Samsung dishwasher is not draining, and you will need to clean it follow this method. 

Mix baking soda with white vinegar and apply it on your dishwasher to dissolve minor drain clogs.

How to use it:

  • Disconnect the dishwasher from the power source
  • Locate the drain connection to unscrew the nuts holding the connection in place.
  • Loose the screws that hold the dishwasher and then move the machine.
  • Remove the drain hose but try to place a bucket under it to catch any liquid that escapes from the dishwasher.
  • Pour the mixture of baking soda and vinegar.
  • Allow the blend to stay on the clog for some time before running your dishwasher through a normal cycle in order to remove any residue. 
  • Do this once in a month to help to clean the dishwasher. 


Now you know what causes your dishwasher not to drain. From this post, you now also understand how you can unclog a dishwasher with standing water. 

It is absolutely no brainer to unwind what damage some fault has done to your dishwasher. But you need to give good maintenance to your dishwasher to have a lasting use.

As you know, not every damage can be undone. Prevention seems to be the best solution that will save you from being charged a heavy fee from the technician.

Goodness saves you that you don’t fall into the hands of a pseudo-experts who gives you a false repair at a very high price. 

So learn the rope and be careful never to get to the point that you can’t adopt a DIY mechanism on your dishwasher.

So, if next time you ask: ‘why is water left in the bottom of my dishwasher?’ the answer is right in your lips. Pick up your tools and quickly do the fix.

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