4. Check for a Blockage
Do you see any food debris or foreign items on the bottom of the dishwasher? Check near the bottom rear of the dishwasher to make sure nothing is causing a blockage.
Remove any debris, food particles, paper bits, or objects you find.
5. Check the Dishwasher Door Latch
Sometimes if your dishwasher won’t drain, it can be as simple as a door that isn’t latched properly. An unlatched door will prevent your dishwasher from draining properly.
Double-check that the door is fully latched and run a cycle to see if it drains properly this time. If the latch won’t close properly, it’s likely time for a replacement latch.
6. Check the Garbage Disposal
A full garbage disposal can lead to a dishwasher that won’t drain. Take out the drain plug and try running the garbage disposal for 30 seconds. Sometimes this is enough to repair clogging and get your dishwasher draining properly again.
Note: Never put your hands down the garbage disposal.
7. Check the Drain Hose
The drain hose is usually found underneath the sink in between the drain line and the drain pump. Follow these steps to make sure it is operating properly:
- If you notice any kinks in the drain hose, carefully straighten them
- If you notice or suspect blockages, remove the hose by loosening the clamps that secure it in place
- Blow into one end of the hose to try to dislodge any blockages (you can also straighten out a wire hanger and poke that through the hose to try and clear any debris)
- Make sure the drain hose seal is tight
If none of these steps helps solve the problem — or if you aren’t comfortable handling DIY repairs — reach out to our team of experts and we’d be happy to help.
8. Clean the Air Gap
The air gap is a less common cause of a dishwasher that won’t drain, but it is still worth checking. Depending on the building codes in your area, your dishwasher may or may not be required to have an air gap.
Check the air gap, the tiny cylinder at the back of the kitchen sink, to make sure no water is coming out of it when you run the dishwasher.
If you notice water coming out of the air gap during a wash cycle, it most likely indicates a blockage between the garbage disposer and the air gap.
To unblock it, remove the cap (twist it counterclockwise to take it off) from the air gap and use a stiff brush and a mixture of water and baking soda to clean it.
9. Check the Drain Valve
A drain valve’s function involves opening the solenoid, a part that allows water to drain out properly during the wash cycle. Not all dishwashers have drain valves, so you’ll want to check the owner’s manual to see if your dishwasher does.
You can test the drain valve by pushing on the valve bracket and making sure it isn’t stuck. If the valve does not move without resistance, you likely need to replace the drain valve.
10. Try Vinegar and Baking Soda
If you’re looking for a quick tip on how to unblock a dishwasher, consider using this DIY fix featuring vinegar and baking soda:
- Mix one cup of vinegar and one cup of water
- Pour the mixture into the standing water
- Let the mixture sit for about 20 minutes
- Rinsing with hot water
- Run the rinse cycle after this and see if it loosens any clogs