How to Drain a Dishwasher with Standing Water

Having standing water in your dishwasher can be a frustrating and inconvenient problem. Not only does it prevent you from using your dishwasher, but it can also lead to unpleasant odors and potential damage if not addressed promptly. In this article, we will guide you through the process of draining a dishwasher with standing water, helping you restore its functionality and keep your kitchen running smoothly.

A dishwasher with standing water is a common issue faced by many homeowners. It can occur due to various reasons such as clogged drains, faulty pumps, or even a malfunctioning float switch. However, there’s no need to panic as you can easily resolve this problem by following a few simple steps.

Before you begin:

Before attempting to drain your dishwasher, it is important to ensure your safety. Start by disconnecting the power supply to the dishwasher. This will prevent any accidental electrical shocks during the process. Additionally, put on protective gloves to safeguard your hands from potential debris and dirty water.

Tools and Materials you will need:

To effectively drain your dishwasher, gather the following tools and materials:

dishwasher troubleshooting
  • Screwdriver
  • Towels or rags
  • Bucket or large container
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Pipe cleaner or wire hanger
  • Wrench (if required)

Step-by-step guide on how to drain a dishwasher with standing water:

  1. Disconnecting the power supply: Locate the dishwasher’s electrical outlet or turn off the circuit breaker connected to it. This step is crucial to avoid any electrical mishaps during the process.
  2. Removing excess water manually: Using towels or rags, carefully soak up as much water as possible from the dishwasher tub. Wring out the soaked towels into a bucket or large container to avoid spills.
  3. Clearing the dishwasher drain: Remove the dishwasher’s bottom rack to access the drain area. Look for any visible debris or clogs obstructing the drain. Gently clear any blockages using a pipe cleaner or wire hanger. Be cautious not to damage any components while doing so.
  4. Checking the drain hose: Examine the drain hose connected to your dishwasher. Ensure it is free from kinks, twists, or any visible damage that may restrict proper water flow. If necessary, detach the hose and clean it thoroughly using a mixture of warm water and vinegar.
  5. Cleaning the dishwasher filter: Locate and remove the dishwasher filter, usually located at the bottom of the tub. Rinse it under warm water to remove any accumulated debris or food particles. For stubborn residue, use a soft brush and a paste made from baking soda and water.
  6. Testing for proper drainage: Reassemble all the components, including the filter and drain hose. Once everything is back in place, restore power to the dishwasher and run a short cycle without any dishes. Observe whether the standing water has been drained and the dishwasher functions as intended.

Preventive measures to avoid future standing water issues:

To prevent standing water in your dishwasher in the future, consider the following preventive measures:

  • Scrape off excess food from dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
  • Run your garbage disposal before starting the dishwasher to prevent clogs.
  • Regularly clean and maintain the dishwasher filter to ensure proper water drainage.
  • Inspect the drain hose for any signs of damage and replace it if necessary.

Can I use a plunger to unclog the dishwasher drain?

No, plungers are not recommended for unclogging dishwasher drains as they may damage the delicate components of the dishwasher. It is best to use a pipe cleaner or wire hanger for clearing any blockages.

How often should I clean the dishwasher filter?

It is recommended to clean the dishwasher filter at least once a month to maintain optimal performance and prevent standing water issues.

What should I do if the dishwasher still has standing water after following these steps?

If the problem persists, it is advisable to contact a professional dishwasher repair service to diagnose and resolve any underlying issues.

Is it safe to use chemical drain cleaners in the dishwasher?

No, it is not recommended to use chemical drain cleaners in the dishwasher as they may damage the internal components. Stick to natural cleaning methods like baking soda and vinegar.

Can I use a wet-dry vacuum to remove standing water from the dishwasher?

Yes, a wet-dry vacuum can be used to remove excess water from the dishwasher. Ensure the vacuum is appropriate for wet use and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation.


Draining a dishwasher with standing water is a manageable task that you can easily perform at home. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can restore your dishwasher’s functionality and keep it running smoothly. Remember to take appropriate safety precautions, gather the necessary tools, and perform regular maintenance to prevent future standing water issues.

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