How to Drain Standing Water in Dishwasher

Dealing with standing water in your dishwasher can be frustrating. It not only prevents your dishes from getting clean but can also lead to unpleasant odors and potential damage to the appliance. In this article, we will explore the causes of standing water in dishwashers and provide you with practical solutions to drain it effectively.

Is Standing Water in Dishwasher Normal?

Standing water in a dishwasher is not normal and typically indicates a problem. If you notice standing water in your dishwasher, it could be due to a few different issues.

One possible issue is that the drain hose is blocked or kinked, preventing the water from draining properly. You can check the drain hose and make sure it is free of any blockages and that it is not kinked.

Another possible issue is related to the garbage disposer or sink drain. If there are blockages in either of these areas, it can prevent the dishwasher from draining properly. It’s best to have a professional plumber take a look at this issue as they will be able to identify and fix any problems with the drain system.

Understanding the Problem of Standing Water in Dishwashers

Standing water refers to the accumulation of water at the bottom of the dishwasher’s tub, even after the washing cycle has completed. It can occur due to various reasons, such as clogged drainage systems, malfunctioning components, or improper maintenance. Resolving this issue is crucial to ensure your dishwasher functions optimally and keeps your dishes spotless.

Reasons for Standing Water

  1. Clogged Drainage System

One common cause of standing water in dishwashers is a clogged drainage system. Over time, food particles, grease, and other debris can accumulate in the dishwasher drain, leading to a blockage. This prevents the water from properly draining out after each cycle.

To unclog the dishwasher drain, start by removing the bottom rack and locating the drain. Use a small brush or toothpick to dislodge any visible debris. Then, mix equal parts of baking soda and vinegar and pour the mixture into the drain. Let it sit for about 15 minutes before flushing with hot water.

  1. Faulty Float Switch

The float switch is a small device located in the dishwasher’s tub that helps regulate the water level. If the float switch becomes stuck or fails to function correctly, it can cause standing water issues. The float switch should move freely up and down based on the water level.

If you suspect a faulty float switch, carefully inspect it for any obstructions or damage. Gently move the float up and down to ensure it moves smoothly. If necessary, you may need to replace or adjust the float switch to resolve the problem.

  1. Malfunctioning Drain Pump

The drain pump plays a crucial role in removing water from the dishwasher during the drainage cycle. If the drain pump malfunctions or becomes clogged, it can result in standing water. You may notice unusual noises or prolonged draining times as indicators of a faulty drain pump.

To address a malfunctioning drain pump, consult your dishwasher’s user manual for specific instructions. In some cases, cleaning the pump and removing any obstructions can solve the issue. However, if the pump is damaged, it may need to be repaired or replaced by a professional technician.

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How to Prevent Standing Water in Dishwashers?

To avoid future instances of standing water in your dishwasher, follow these preventive measures:

  1. Regular Maintenance and Cleaning

Perform routine maintenance on your dishwasher to prevent clogs and ensure optimal performance. Clean the dishwasher filter regularly by removing it and rinsing off any accumulated debris. Additionally, clear food particles from the dishwasher before running a cycle by scraping plates and utensils.

  1. Proper Loading Techniques

Arrange your dishes strategically to allow for efficient water flow during the cleaning process. Avoid overcrowding the dishwasher, as this can obstruct the water’s path and lead to standing water. Ensure that larger items, such as pots and pans, do not block the spray arms.

  1. Using the Correct Detergent

Choose a dishwasher detergent that is suitable for your appliance and water hardness. Using the wrong detergent or excessive amounts can result in soap residue buildup and hinder proper drainage. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for optimal detergent usage.

  1. Ensuring Sufficient Water Supply

Check the water supply connections to your dishwasher to ensure they are secure and free from leaks. Additionally, ensure the water pressure is appropriate for your dishwasher model. Low water pressure can affect the drainage process and cause standing water.

Troubleshooting and Resolving Standing Water Issues

If you continue to experience standing water in your dishwasher despite preventive measures, consider the following troubleshooting steps:

  1. Inspecting the Drain Hose

Inspect the drain hose for any kinks, clogs, or damage that may obstruct proper water flow. Straighten out any kinks and remove any blockages using a small brush or pipe cleaner. If the drain hose is damaged beyond repair, it may need to be replaced.

  1. Verifying the Air Gap

Check the air gap, a small device located on the sink or countertop adjacent to the dishwasher, to ensure it is clear of debris. The air gap prevents wastewater from flowing back into the dishwasher. If you notice any obstructions, clean the air gap thoroughly.

  1. Examining the Check Valve

The check valve prevents water from flowing back into the dishwasher after draining. If the check valve is faulty or damaged, it can lead to standing water. Inspect the check valve for any signs of wear or malfunction and replace it if necessary.

Cleaning and Maintaining the Dishwasher

Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential for the overall performance of your dishwasher. Here are some tips to keep your dishwasher in optimal condition:

  1. Cleaning the Interior

Remove debris and residue from the dishwasher’s interior by wiping it with a damp cloth or sponge. Pay attention to hard-to-reach areas, such as corners and crevices. You can also use dishwasher-safe cleaning agents specifically designed for this purpose.

  1. Descaling the Dishwasher

Over time, mineral deposits can build up in the dishwasher, affecting its performance. Descaling the dishwasher periodically helps remove these deposits and improves water flow. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions or use a descaling solution recommended for dishwashers.

  1. Odor Prevention and Control

To prevent and eliminate unpleasant odors in your dishwasher, consider the following tips:

  • Regularly clean the dishwasher filter to remove trapped food particles that contribute to odors.
  • Run an empty cycle with a cup of white vinegar placed in a dishwasher-safe container on the top rack. This helps remove odors and keeps the dishwasher fresh.
  • For persistent odors, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher and let it sit overnight. Then, run a cycle with hot water to rinse away the baking soda.

How often should I clean my dishwasher to prevent standing water?

It is recommended to clean your dishwasher at least once a month to prevent standing water and maintain its performance. However, if you notice any signs of clogs or standing water, clean it immediately.

Can I use vinegar to unclog the dishwasher drain?

Yes, vinegar can be an effective natural remedy for unclogging a dishwasher drain. Mix equal parts of vinegar and baking soda and pour the mixture into the drain. Let it sit for about 15 minutes before flushing with hot water.

Why is my dishwasher not draining properly even after cleaning the filter?

If your dishwasher is not draining properly despite cleaning the filter, there may be a blockage in the drain hose or other components. Check for kinks or obstructions in the drain hose and inspect the air gap and check valve for any issues.

How can I tell if the drain pump in my dishwasher is faulty?

A faulty drain pump can cause standing water in your dishwasher. Signs of a malfunctioning drain pump include unusual noises during the draining cycle or prolonged draining times. If you suspect a faulty drain pump, it may need to be repaired or replaced.

Is it normal for a little water to remain at the bottom of the dishwasher after a cycle?

It is normal for a small amount of water to remain at the bottom of the dishwasher after a cycle. However, if there is excessive water or standing water, it indicates a problem that needs to be addressed. Follow the troubleshooting steps mentioned in this article to resolve the issue.

How to get rid of standing water in dishwasher?

There are a few things you can do to get rid of standing water in your dishwasher. First, check the drain hose for any clogs or blockages. If the hose is blocked, use a plunger or snake to clear the obstruction. You should also make sure that the drain valve is open and not blocked by debris. If these steps don’t work, try running a cycle with white vinegar to help break down any food particles that may be stuck in the pipes. Finally, if none of these methods work, you may need to call a professional plumber to inspect and repair your dishwasher’s drainage system.


Dealing with standing water in your dishwasher can be a hassle, but by understanding the causes and implementing preventive measures, you can effectively resolve the issue. Regular maintenance, proper loading techniques, and troubleshooting steps can help ensure your dishwasher drains efficiently, providing you with clean and spotless dishes.

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