Why Won’t My Dishwasher Drain?

Some people say they can’t live without their dishwasher, while others have never had to! The dishwasher is a modern convenience that has simplified life. You run it daily, so you don’t have to spend time standing at the sink scrubbing away the remnants of your dinner. But as with any appliance, things can go wrong.    

If you’ve found yourself exclaiming, “Why won’t my dishwasher drain?” you’re not alone. This problem creates frustration among many Springdale homeowners and forces a costly plumbing repair. You may even have to live without your dishwasher for several days. 

However, a dishwasher that won’t drain is a common problem that plumbers see every day. Some problems may require a simple solution that you can complete independently. Still, it’s always best to consult with a helpful plumbing professional before diving too deep into any DIY repairs.  

Keep reading to learn about the various reasons why your dishwasher won’t drain and how you can resolve the problem quickly. 

Clogged Garbage Disposal 

The garbage disposal is located underneath your sink. Its primary role is to collect solid food into the grinding compartment. When it is activated, it will spin quickly, forcing any food against the outer wall and pulverizing the contents. The tiny particles get flushed with water through small halls in the compartment wall.  

Every dishwasher has a drain hose that empties into the garbage disposal drain. If the garbage disposal contains large food particles, it can cause the dishwasher to drain improperly. You can try running the garbage disposal to see if it helps the drain in your dishwasher. 

Get into the habit of leaving your water on while the garbage disposal runs for about 10 to 15 seconds. This will help remove any particles that are lingering in the P-trap.  

Garbage disposals are an excellent instrument for eliminating food waste, but only when used correctly. Some things aren’t meant to go down the garbage disposal, including the following: 

  • Potato peels
  • Coffee grounds
  • Pasta
  • Fats, oil, and cooking grease
  • Hard objects, like utensils 

If your dishwasher doesn’t drain even after running your garbage disposal, you may need a more significant plumbing repair. 

Clogged Filters 

If you look inside the dishwasher near the sump, you’ll see two filters. These are the first places you should check when there is a clog. Most of the water in the dishwasher drains through these two filters. They catch and collect most of the gunk that was rinsed away from your dishes during draining. 

Eventually, all that food from the plates and bowls will build up on the filters and lead to a clog. You can avoid this by cleaning your dishwasher’s filters regularly. Remove the filters and hand scrub them with soapy, hot water in the sink. After replacing the filters, everything should begin to work again.  

Trouble with the Drain Hose 

The drain hose is the lightweight hose that connects the drain pump to the garbage disposal. Any issue with it can result in your dishwasher not draining properly. 

Check to see if it has any kinks.

If it does, try to straighten it out. However, once a hose gets a kink it is likely to kink again. You might want to consider replacing the hose to prevent this from happening.  

Set up a plumbing repair appointment with a local Springdale, AR, professional to replace your dishwasher hose. 

Dirty Drain Basket 

Located at the bottom of the inside of your dishwasher is the drain basket. The cover looks like an upside-down basket and is usually held in place with a few screws. Refer to your owner’s manual to locate your drain basket if it doesn’t look like that.  

You can clean this device by removing the cover. Locate any food or debris particles lingering in the basket and remove them. Replace the cover and run the empty dishwasher. 

If more food is collected in the basket, pre-rinse your dishes before loading them into the appliance. Modern dishwashers are designed for grinding food into smaller pieces. 

Another Plumbing Issue 

In some cases, the problem with your dishwasher drain may not even be related to your dishwasher. If any of the pipes in your home have a significant blockage, it could cause backups in other areas of your home. Pay attention to see if other plumbing fixtures are struggling to drain.

If there are other problems in addition to your dishwasher, you need to contact a qualified plumber to inspect your pipes. The clog will be removed after the issue has been detected, and your plumbing will begin to work again.  

Liquid Detergent 

One unsuspected culprit of drain problems is the type of detergent you’re using to wash your dishes. Most dishwashers are designed for powdered detergent. If you’ve used liquid detergent, you’re not alone. 

Liquid cleans your dishes, but it creates an abundance of bubbles that may be difficult to drain after the rinse cycle. This may be the easiest issue to resolve; check the type of detergent intended for your machine. If you decide to continue using liquid soap, use a smaller amount. 

Old Pipes 

Eventually, all plumbing wears out, requiring a professional plumbing repair. If you know your pipes are old, it may be time for a plumbing overhaul. This is a significant investment but will ensure your dishwasher will drain. 

Call a Helpful Plumbing Professional 

“Why won’t my dishwasher drain?” is a question that’s searched a lot on the internet. Now you know that your dishwasher failing to drain can be caused by one of the common issues listed above. 

Some of the causes have simple solutions, but keep in mind that working with plumbing requires special skills and a trained technician. Diving too deep into the world of DIY solutions could lead to more plumbing problems.

Turn to the Plumbing Pros in Springdale, AR  

If you’re unsure why your dishwasher isn’t draining, call Stith Plumbing & HVAC. We’ll gladly send a friendly technician to your home to get your drain flowing again!