Dishwasher Not Draining Fully😩😩😩: Causes, Solutions, and FAQs

A dishwasher that doesn’t drain fully can be a frustrating and messy problem. When water remains in the bottom of the dishwasher after a cycle, it can lead to unpleasant smells, mold growth, and even damage to the dishwasher and its contents. Moreover, a dishwasher that doesn’t drain fully may also indicate underlying issues with the plumbing or the dishwasher itself. In this article, we’ll explore the causes and solutions of a dishwasher not draining fully, as well as some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about this issue.

Causes of a Dishwasher Not Draining Fully

There can be several reasons why a dishwasher doesn’t drain fully, including:

  • Clogged Drain Hose:

The drain hose is a tube that connects the dishwasher’s pump to the garbage disposal or the sink drain. Over time, food particles, grease, soap scum, and other debris can accumulate in the drain hose and block the flow of water. A kinked or twisted hose can also restrict the drainage.

  • Clogged Garbage Disposal:

If your dishwasher is connected to a garbage disposal, a clog in the disposal can prevent the water from draining properly. A clogged garbage disposal can also cause food scraps to back up into the dishwasher and create a foul odor.

  • Blocked Air Gap:

An air gap is a small device that prevents contaminated water from flowing back into the dishwasher. It’s usually located on the countertop or the sink and consists of a plastic cylinder and a cap. If the air gap becomes clogged with debris, it can prevent the water from draining properly.

  • Malfunctioning Check Valve:

A check valve is a small plastic or rubber flap that prevents water from flowing back into the dishwasher after it has drained. If the check valve is stuck or broken, water can flow back into the dishwasher and cause it to overflow or leak.

  • Broken Drain Pump:

The drain pump is responsible for pumping the water out of the dishwasher and into the drain hose. If the drain pump is broken or clogged, it may not be able to pump out all the water, leading to a partially drained dishwasher.

  • Improper Installation:

Sometimes, a dishwasher may not drain properly due to improper installation. For example, if the drain hose is not properly secured or the garbage disposal is not connected correctly, it can cause drainage problems.

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Solutions to a Dishwasher Not Draining Fully

The solutions to a dishwasher not draining fully depend on the specific cause of the problem. Here are some possible solutions:

  • Clean the Drain Hose:

To clean the drain hose, you can disconnect it from the dishwasher and the sink or the garbage disposal, then run water through it to flush out any debris. You can also use a long, flexible brush or a plumbing snake to remove any stubborn clogs. Once the drain hose is clean, reconnect it and run a cycle to see if the drainage has improved.

  • Unclog the Garbage Disposal:

To unclog the garbage disposal, you can turn off the power and use a plunger, a drain snake, or a specialized garbage disposal cleaner to clear the blockage. Once the disposal is clear, run a cycle to see if the dishwasher drains properly.

  • Clean the Air Gap:

To clean the air gap, you can remove the cap and the plastic cylinder, then rinse them with water and scrub them with a brush or a toothbrush. You can also use a thin wire or a paper clip to remove any debris from the small openings in the air gap. Once the air gap is clean, reassemble it and run a cycle to check if the drainage has improved.

  • Replace the Check Valve:

To replace the check valve, you may need to consult the dishwasher manual or a professional technician, as the process can vary depending on the make and model of your dishwasher. In some cases, you may need to replace the entire pump assembly or motor to fix a malfunctioning check valve.

  • Replace the Drain Pump:

To replace the drain pump, you may need to disconnect the power and water supply to the dishwasher, remove the lower access panel, locate the drain pump, and disconnect the wires and hoses that connect it to the dishwasher. Then, you can install the new drain pump and reassemble the dishwasher. Again, it’s recommended to consult the manual or a technician to ensure proper installation.

  • Check the Installation:

To check the installation, you can inspect the drain hose, the garbage disposal, the air gap, and any other connections to make sure they are secure, aligned, and properly sealed. If you find any issues, you can adjust or tighten them as needed. You can also check the dishwasher’s level to ensure it’s not tilted or wobbling, which can affect the drainage.


Q: Why is my dishwasher not draining fully even though I cleaned the drain hose?

A: Even if you cleaned the drain hose, there may still be residual debris or buildup in the pump or the check valve that is preventing the water from draining fully. You may need to clean or replace these components to fix the issue.

Q: Can I use a chemical drain cleaner to unclog my dishwasher?

A: It’s not recommended to use a chemical drain cleaner, as it can damage the dishwasher’s components and contaminate the dishwasher’s interior with toxic chemicals. Instead, you can use natural remedies like baking soda, vinegar, or lemon juice to dissolve minor clogs, or use a mechanical tool like a plumbing snake or a plunger to remove larger clogs.

Q: How often should I clean my dishwasher’s drain components?

A: It’s a good idea to clean your dishwasher’s drain components at least once a year, or more frequently if you notice slow drainage or foul odors. You can also prevent clogs by scraping and rinsing off any food scraps before loading the dishwasher, using a high-quality dishwasher detergent, and running hot water in the sink before starting the dishwasher.

Q: Why is there water left in the dishwasher even when the cycle is complete?

A: If there is water left in the dishwasher even when the cycle is complete, it may indicate a drainage issue, a malfunctioning float switch, or a problem with the dishwasher’s electronic control board. You may need to troubleshoot these issues or seek professional help to diagnose and fix the problem.

Q: How can I prevent my dishwasher from not draining fully in the future?

A: To prevent your dishwasher from not draining fully in the future, you can follow these tips:

  • Clean the drain components regularly.
  • Scrape and rinse off food scraps before loading the dishwasher.
  • Use hot water in the sink before starting the dishwasher.
  • Use a high-quality dishwasher detergent and avoid overloading the dishwasher.
  • Check and maintain the dishwasher’s seals, gaskets, and other components for signs of wear or damage.
  • Address any plumbing issues or clogs in a timely manner.


A dishwasher not draining fully can be a frustrating and messy problem, but it’s often fixable with some basic troubleshooting and maintenance. By understanding the common causes and solutions of this issue, as well as some FAQs, you can save time, money, and hassle while ensuring your dishwasher performs at its best. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with any of the steps involved in fixing a dishwasher not draining fully, it’s always wise to consult the manual or a professional technician for assistance.

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