Dishwasher Won’t Drain



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If your dishwasher has standing water that won’t drain, the most likely culprit is a clogged appliance’s drain line.

The drain line connects your dishwasher unit to the garbage disposal and must be kept clear of debris so that the dishwasher can drain water without obstruction.

If the drain line is indeed the problem, clearing it is easy and requires nothing other than a few common household products.

Step-by-step video and instructions for clearing your dishwasher drain line and keeping your unit well maintained:

Maintenance video shows how to clean the dishwasher spray arm, filter, and more

Maintenance video shows how to clean the dishwasher spray arm, filter, and more

  • To be completely safe, it is recommended that you turn off the power to your dishwasher unit, if you possibly can.
  • Remove all dishes, then remove the dishwasher racks.
  • Using a cup, get rid of as much standing water as possible, then soak up the rest with old towels.
  • Unscrew the rotating sprayer arm from the bottom of unit, then wash the arm and all its seals and screws in the sink with a gentle brush, warm water and dishwasher liquid. Rinse and set aside.
  • Take off the filter screen from the unit floor, gently loosening with a screwdriver any bolts holding it in place.
  • Wash the filter screen with soapy water and rinse.
  • Remove from the dishwasher floor any pieces of food or other debris, and wash the floor clean with soapy water and a damp cloth.
  • Place the screen and the sprayer arm back in the unit, in their customary locations.
  • Find the drain line – it is located right underneath the filter screen, on the floor of the dishwasher.
  • Pour one half cup of baking soda into a bowl and add enough water to make it liquid enough so that you will be able to pour it. Pour the baking soda liquid through the screen, into the drain line.
  • After you have poured the baking soda, add one half cup of distilled white vinegar to the drain line.
  • Let the solution fizz for fifteen minutes and clear anything that might be stuck in the drain line.
  • In the meantime, boil a quart of water, and once done let the bubbles subside. Once the bubbles calm a bit, pour the hot water into the drain line to clear the baking soda and the vinegar solutions.
  • Watch as the water is going down the drain line and if you notice that the water is draining slowly (or not at all) repeat the baking soda, vinegar and boiling water treatment.
  • Once the water is draining with ease, replace the racks in your dishwasher and make sure that everything is put back in its original location.
  • If you had turned the dishwasher power off, turn it back on.
  • Run the empty dishwasher through one normal cycle to make sure the drainage problem is fixed.
  • If the dishwasher still won’t drain, repeat the process a few more times.
  • If your dishwasher still won’t drain, even after you have tried clearing the drain line a few times,  the issue may be with the pump or another electronic part.

Consult this excellent appliance resource for repair help, dishwasher parts, instructional videos and other help in solving the problem.

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