How to Drain a Dishwasher with Standing Water

Having a dishwasher can make your life much easier, as it saves time and effort in cleaning dishes. However, encountering standing water in your dishwasher can be frustrating and inconvenient. In this article, we will guide you through the process of draining a dishwasher with standing water effectively. We’ll explain the common causes of standing water, provide step-by-step instructions on how to resolve the issue, and offer preventive measures to avoid recurrence.

A dishwasher is designed to efficiently wash and rinse your dishes, but sometimes it can encounter issues like standing water. This occurs when the dishwasher fails to drain properly after a wash cycle. Standing water not only prevents your dishwasher from functioning correctly but can also lead to unpleasant odors and potential damage to the appliance. It’s essential to address this issue promptly to maintain the performance and longevity of your dishwasher.

Common Causes of Standing Water in a Dishwasher

Before delving into the solution, let’s explore some common causes of standing water in a dishwasher. Understanding these causes will help you identify the underlying problem and take appropriate measures.

A. Clogged Filters and Drainage System

Over time, debris and food particles can accumulate in the dishwasher’s filters and drainage system. These clogs obstruct the water flow and prevent proper drainage. Cleaning or replacing the filters regularly is crucial to ensure optimal dishwasher performance.

B. Blockage in the Drain Hose

The drain hose connects the dishwasher to the plumbing system, allowing water to exit the appliance. A blockage in the drain hose can cause standing water in the dishwasher. Inspect the drain hose for any kinks, clogs, or improper installation that may hinder water flow.

C. Faulty Drain Pump

The drain pump is responsible for expelling the water from the dishwasher. If the pump is malfunctioning or damaged, it may not effectively remove the water, resulting in standing water. Checking the drain pump’s functionality is vital in troubleshooting this issue.

3 Best GE Dishwashers 1 How to Drain a Dishwasher with Standing Water

Steps to Drain a Dishwasher with Standing Water

Now that we have a good understanding of the causes, let’s proceed with the steps to drain a dishwasher with standing water. Follow these instructions systematically to resolve the issue effectively:

A. Turn off the Dishwasher

Before performing any maintenance or troubleshooting, ensure the dishwasher is turned off and disconnected from the power supply. This precautionary step ensures your safety throughout the process.

B. Check for Obstructions in the Drainage System

Inspect the dishwasher’s drainage system for any visible obstructions, such as large food particles or debris. Remove these obstructions using gloves or a small tool to facilitate proper water flow.

C. Unclog the Filters

The dishwasher filters are located at the bottom of the appliance. Remove the lower rack and locate the filters. Check for debris and rinse them under running water to eliminate any blockages. If the filters are damaged or heavily soiled, consider replacing them.

D. Clear the Drain Hose

Inspect the drain hose for any kinks, bends, or blockages. Straighten any kinks and ensure the hose is properly connected. If you identify a blockage, detach the hose from the dishwasher and the plumbing system. Use a long, flexible brush or a pipe cleaner to clear the blockage gently.

E. Test the Drain Pump

The drain pump is usually located at the bottom of the dishwasher. Access the pump and inspect it for any visible signs of damage or blockages. Remove any obstructions and ensure the impeller can spin freely. Reconnect any disconnected wires or hoses if necessary. Once done, test the drain pump by running a short wash cycle and observe if the water drains properly.

F. Repeat the Process if Necessary

If the dishwasher still has standing water after completing the previous steps, repeat the process to ensure all potential causes are thoroughly addressed. Double-check the filters, drain hose, and drain pump for any missed obstructions or damage.

Tips for Preventing Standing Water in the Dishwasher

Prevention is always better than a cure. By following these simple tips, you can minimize the chances of encountering standing water in your dishwasher:

A. Regularly Clean the Filters

Cleaning the dishwasher filters at least once a month helps maintain optimal performance and prevents clogs. Remove any debris or food particles to ensure unobstructed water flow.

B. Avoid Overloading the Dishwasher

Overloading the dishwasher can obstruct the spray arms and impede proper water circulation. Leave enough space between dishes to ensure efficient cleaning and draining.

C. Scrape Off Food Residues Before Loading

Scraping off excess food residues before loading the dishes helps prevent them from accumulating in the dishwasher’s filters or drainage system. This simple step significantly reduces the risk of clogs.

D. Check the Drain Hose for Blockages

Regularly inspect the drain hose for any blockages or kinks that may hinder proper water drainage. If you notice any issues, address them promptly to prevent standing water.

E. Run Hot Water Before Starting a Cycle

Before starting a dishwasher cycle, run hot water in the sink until it reaches its maximum temperature. This helps ensure the dishwasher begins the cycle with hot water, enhancing its cleaning efficiency and facilitating proper drainage.

How often should I clean the dishwasher filters?

It is recommended to clean the dishwasher filters at least once a month. However, if you notice any signs of clogging or reduced performance, consider cleaning them more frequently.

Can I use chemical drain cleaners to clear the dishwasher drain?

No, it is not advisable to use chemical drain cleaners in your dishwasher. These cleaners can damage the dishwasher’s components. Stick to manual methods like removing debris or using a pipe cleaner.

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

If the standing water issue persists, it is advisable to seek professional assistance. A qualified technician can diagnose and address the underlying problem effectively.

Is it safe to manually remove water from the dishwasher?

Yes, it is safe to manually remove water from the dishwasher using towels or a sponge. Ensure the power is turned off and the dishwasher is disconnected before doing so.

Should I hire a professional plumber if the problem persists?

If you have followed all the troubleshooting steps and the problem still persists, it is recommended to consult a professional plumber or contact the dishwasher manufacturer’s customer support for further assistance.


Experiencing standing water in your dishwasher can be a frustrating situation. However, by following the steps outlined in this article, you can effectively resolve the issue and prevent its recurrence. Regular maintenance, including cleaning the filters, checking the drain hose, and inspecting the drain pump, is crucial to maintaining optimal dishwasher performance. By implementing the preventive tips provided, you can minimize the chances of encountering standing water and enjoy a hassle-free dishwasher experience.

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