If you have a dishwasher that’s not draining, then this can cause serious problems in your kitchen. Before you start trying to repair the problem, take a moment to understand why a dishwasher doesn’t drain.

The dishwasher has a drain hose that runs the water under the sink. The connections in the sink may be broken down or there may be debris clogging the unit and preventing it from draining.

Before you start to tackle any dishwashing problems, you want to make sure that you’re being safe and efficient.

Remove any dishes from the unit so that the dishwasher is completely empty before proceeding. You may also want to remove the bottom rack so that you have easier access to the dishwasher.

Once you’ve removed all of these items, turn off the electricity to the dishwasher to make sure that you don’t have a current running to the machine.

You can turn it on to run the machine when you’re troubleshooting but having it off while checking the machine is a good idea since electricity and water don’t mix well together.

Once the machine is ready, remove any standing water that’s still in the unit with a towel. Not only will this be a good way to get a better visualization of the unit, but you’ll also reduce the risk of slipping or falling when you’re working around the dishwasher. Once you’re done with these steps, follow the following steps for the most common problems.

1. Check Plumbing Connections

If you can get under your sink, check the drain hose that’s connected to the dishwasher. Make sure that it’s still connected and free of any food or garbage pieces.

metal water pipe line, plumbing connection

It may be draining into the garbage disposal so turn this on and see if it has any leftover food inside. This could be clogging your system so turn on the disposal to try and remove any remaining food.

2. Check Dishwasher Filter

You may not be able to reach all the plumbing easily but if it all appears to be working appropriately, the next common problem is food that’s built up in the dishwasher itself.

Check inside the washer and clean out any remaining food that may have been left behind. The filter is the best place to look as well. It’s typically located at the back or the bottom of the tub. These drains have small grids to prevent the filter from buildup but it can still have debris.

You can typically unscrew the casing and clean the filter. If you’re not sure how to do this, consult the instruction manual for detailed instructions although the operation is fairly simple. Take note of any large pieces of food that are present and clean out the unit.

3. Clean the Drain

In some cases, the drain may be blocked in an area that’s difficult to reach. If the above tactics didn’t work, then you can clear the drain from the inside with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.

This nonabrasive mixture will generally break down any food particles that may be inside the pipes.

Mix an equal part of both vinegar and baking soda together. Pour the solution into the basket at the bottom of the dishwasher and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Pour hot water down the basket and then run the rinse cycle to see if it’s fixed the problem.

blue pipe wrench and red adjustable pipe wrench

Consider an Expert

If you’ve followed these steps and still haven’t found or been able to resolve the problem, then it may be best to call in a plumber.

Depending on your dishwashing unit, there may be problems that are difficult to detect and require an expert to repair. In most cases, a dishwasher not draining is due to a clog in the system which can often be resolved on your own.

If you’ve followed these steps and your dishwasher still isn’t draining, then you probably want to reach out to a plumber for their assistance.

This professional can assess the dishwasher and provide you with an expert diagnosis and recommendation for repairs. Most dishwashers will have some problems, especially over time so it’s a good idea to reach out to them for more serious problems that you can’t fix.

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