If you open your dishwasher to empty it and notice that it’s still full of water, you have a problem. Before you can diagnose or repair the problem though, it’s usually best to get rid of the water.

Fixing drainage issues may be as simple as resolving food clogged in the drain but to get a better look, it’s best to first drain out the standing water. If you’re not sure how to drain a dishwasher, these are a few simple ways to do it.

Remove Dishes

Before you can drain the dishwasher, you should first remove the dishes. Place them in a sink or somewhere where they won’t be in the way. You should probably also remove the bottom rack of the dishwasher for easier access.

A hand removing plates in a dishwasher

Turn off Power and Water

You don’t want to work with an appliance that has active power running to it so it’s best to turn off the power and water. You may be able to turn off the power by simply unplugging the dishwasher.

If not, then you’ll have to go to the circuit breaker and then turn off the circuit that provides power. This will prevent any electrical problems when using the washer.

The water supply to the dishwasher is usually a flexible line that runs under the sink to the washer. There is usually a valve present that will lead to the dishwasher.

Turn off the valve that provides water. Your dishwasher will still be able to drain water but won’t be able to push any more water into the dishwasher until it’s re-opened.

Remove the Water

Now that your dishwasher is empty and off, you can remove the water with a combination of containers and towels. Protect the floor in front of the washer by using towels or old cloths to soak up any water that spills. Use a small cup or dish to scoop water out of the dishwasher and then transfer it to the sink drain.

draining a water from the dishwasher

Once you’ve gotten the majority of the water out of the sink, then you can use a few remaining towels to soak up the last part of the water. Depending on how much water is present, you may need additional towels so make sure that you have plenty present.

Clean out the filter

You probably won’t be able to get all of the water out of the washer but you can drain any residual water by removing the filter from the bottom of the dishwasher. Look for a small filter on the floor of the dishwasher.

Turn it and then remove it by pulling it straight up.

Most modern dishwashers today have filters but every brand and model is a little different. The filter may have food or debris blocking it from draining. You can clean out the filter and the additional water may drain at this point.

Consider Drain Hose Problems

One of the most common reasons why the water isn’t draining from a dishwasher is that there is food or debris that is stuck in the dishwasher system. When this happens, it’s often food that’s in the dishwasher and can be cleaned out manually.

technician repairing a hose with problems

However, if you follow these steps and find that your dishwasher still isn’t draining on its own, then the clog may be in the drain line or there may be a larger plumbing problem at work.

Most people should be able to use the following steps above to remove the water from their dishwasher but this won’t necessarily diagnose or repair the problem with the washer.

If you don’t know where the problem exists, then it may be best to reach out to a qualified technician for assistance. This professional can assess the dishwasher and determine why the dishwasher isn’t draining manually.

Dishwashers can be challenging to repair or diagnose so consider draining the dishwasher on your own before calling a technician. This will make the process faster and may make it easier for the technician to find the problem.

For the average person, some dishwasher problems can be fixed on your own but always reach out to a professional when you can’t seem to find or fix the problem on your own.

If you don’t feel comfortable with these repairs, you may end up causing additional damage.


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