Water in the Bottom of Dishwasher When Not in Use: Causes and Solutions

Having water pooled at the bottom of your dishwasher when it’s not in use can be an alarming sight and a cause for concern. Not only does it create an unpleasant odor, but it can also potentially lead to damage and malfunction of the appliance. In this article, we will explore the reasons why this happens and discuss effective solutions to resolve the issue. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to prevent and fix water accumulation in your dishwasher.

1. The Door Gasket: A Potential Culprit

One of the common reasons for water accumulation in the dishwasher is a faulty door gasket. The door gasket is a rubber or plastic seal that prevents water from leaking out during a wash cycle. If this gasket becomes worn out, cracked, or damaged, it may fail to create a proper seal, allowing water to seep into the dishwasher when it’s not in use.

2. Clogged Dishwasher Drainage

A clogged dishwasher drainage system can also contribute to the issue. Over time, food particles, soap scum, and other debris can build up in the dishwasher’s drain, obstructing proper water flow. As a result, water may not fully drain out after a wash cycle, leaving water residue at the bottom.

3. Faulty Float Switch

The float switch is a safety mechanism that prevents the dishwasher from overfilling with water. If the float switch is stuck in the “up” position or malfunctioning, it may signal the dishwasher to keep filling with water even when it’s not in use, causing the water level to rise and collect at the bottom.

4. Malfunctioning Water Inlet Valve

The water inlet valve is responsible for controlling the flow of water into the dishwasher. When the dishwasher is off, this valve should remain closed, but if it becomes defective or develops a leak, it can allow water to enter the dishwasher continuously, leading to the water accumulation problem.

5. Incorrect Installation

Sometimes, the issue of water in the bottom of the dishwasher can be traced back to improper installation. If the dishwasher is not level, it may not drain properly, leaving behind residual water after each cycle.

6. Using Too Much Detergent

Excessive detergent usage can cause excessive suds, leading to water retention in the dishwasher. When the dishwasher is not in use, these suds may settle at the bottom and create the appearance of standing water.

7. Repairing the Dishwasher Yourself: A Word of Caution

While it may be tempting to attempt fixing the issue yourself, especially if you are handy around the house, it’s essential to exercise caution. Dishwashers are complex appliances, and attempting to repair them without proper knowledge and tools can lead to further damage. It’s always recommended to seek professional help if you’re unsure about troubleshooting and repairs.

8. Preventive Measures

To avoid water accumulation in your dishwasher, consider adopting these preventive measures:

Regular Maintenance

Perform routine maintenance, such as cleaning the filter, checking the drain for debris, and inspecting the door gasket for signs of wear and tear.

Proper Loading

Avoid overcrowding the dishwasher and ensure dishes are loaded correctly, leaving enough space for water to circulate freely.

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Use Recommended Detergent

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the recommended amount of detergent to prevent excessive suds and residue.

Check Water Inlet Valve

Regularly inspect the water inlet valve for leaks or signs of malfunction and replace it if necessary.

Keep the Dishwasher Level

Ensure that the dishwasher is properly leveled during installation to facilitate proper drainage.

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

Yes, a small amount of water is normal as it helps create a seal to prevent odors from escaping. However, excessive water accumulation is a cause for concern.

Can a faulty door gasket lead to leaks during a wash cycle?

Yes, a damaged door gasket can cause water to leak during a wash cycle, leading to water accumulation when the dishwasher is not in use.

How often should I clean the dishwasher filter?

It’s recommended to clean the dishwasher filter at least once a month to ensure proper water drainage.

Why is my dishwasher not draining properly?

A clogged drain, faulty drainage system, or a malfunctioning float switch could be the reasons behind improper drainage.

Why smelly water in bottom of dishwasher?

There could be several reasons for smelly water in the bottom of your dishwasher. One common cause is food debris and residue that accumulates over time. If dishes are not properly rinsed before loading them into the dishwasher, bits of food can get trapped in the filter or drain, leading to a foul odor.

Another possible reason is a clogged or blocked drain hose. If the water cannot properly drain out of the dishwasher, it can become stagnant and develop a bad smell. Checking and cleaning the drain hose regularly can help prevent this issue.

Additionally, using low-quality or expired dishwashing detergent can contribute to unpleasant odors. Make sure you are using a high-quality detergent that is specifically designed for dishwashers and check its expiration date.

To address the smelly water issue, start by cleaning out any visible food debris from the filter and drain area. You can use a toothbrush or soft brush to scrub away any stubborn residue. Then, run an empty cycle with hot water and vinegar to further clean and deodorize the dishwasher. Regular maintenance like this should help keep your dishwasher smelling fresh and functioning properly.

Why dishwasher standing water under filter?

There could be several reasons why there is standing water under the filter in your dishwasher. One possible reason is a clogged or dirty filter. Over time, food particles and debris can accumulate in the filter, preventing proper drainage and causing water to pool underneath. To fix this issue, you can remove the filter and clean it thoroughly with warm soapy water.

Another possible reason for standing water under the filter is a malfunctioning drain pump. The drain pump is responsible for removing water from the dishwasher after each cycle. If it becomes faulty or clogged, it may not be able to effectively remove all the water, resulting in pooling underneath the filter. In this case, you may need to call a professional technician to inspect and repair or replace the drain pump.

In conclusion, if you notice standing water under the filter of your dishwasher, it is likely due to a clogged or dirty filter or a malfunctioning drain pump. By cleaning the filter regularly and ensuring that the drain pump is functioning properly, you can prevent this issue from occurring in the future.

Should dishwasher have water in bottom?

Yes, dishwashers typically have water in the bottom. This is because dishwashers use water to clean the dishes. When you start a dishwasher cycle, it fills up with water in the bottom and then sprays it onto the dishes using rotating arms. The water helps to dissolve and remove food particles from the dishes.

Once the cleaning process is complete, the dishwasher drains out the dirty water from the bottom. So, having water in the bottom of a dishwasher is a normal part of its functioning. However, if you notice an excessive amount of water or if it doesn’t drain properly after a cycle, there might be an issue with your dishwasher that needs to be addressed.

Why water collecting in bottom of dishwasher?

There could be several reasons why water is collecting in the bottom of your dishwasher. One common reason is a clogged or blocked drain hose. Over time, food particles and debris can accumulate in the hose, preventing water from draining properly. To fix this issue, you can try removing the drain hose and cleaning it thoroughly.

Another possible cause is a malfunctioning drain pump. The drain pump is responsible for pumping out the water from the dishwasher after each cycle. If it becomes faulty or gets clogged, water may not be able to flow out effectively, leading to pooling at the bottom. In this case, you may need to replace the drain pump to resolve the problem.

It’s also important to check if there are any issues with the dishwasher’s float switch or inlet valve. The float switch monitors the water level inside the dishwasher and signals when it should stop filling. If it gets stuck or malfunctions, it may result in excessive water accumulation. Similarly, a faulty inlet valve can cause an overfilling situation. Consulting a professional technician would be advisable if these components are suspected to be causing the problem.

Why dishwasher water not draining?

There could be a few reasons why your dishwasher water is not draining properly. Firstly, check if there is any blockage in the drain hose or filter. Sometimes food particles or debris can clog these components, preventing water from flowing out. Clearing any obstructions should solve the issue.

Another possibility is a malfunctioning pump or motor. If the dishwasher’s pump is not working correctly, it won’t be able to effectively drain the water. In this case, you may need to replace the faulty part to restore proper drainage.

Lastly, ensure that your dishwasher’s air gap (if it has one) is clear and functioning correctly. The air gap prevents backflow of water into the dishwasher and can become clogged over time. Cleaning or replacing the air gap can help resolve drainage problems.

If none of these solutions work, it might be best to consult a professional technician who can diagnose and fix the issue for you.


Experiencing water accumulation in the bottom of your dishwasher when it’s not in use can be concerning, but with proper understanding and maintenance, you can resolve and prevent this issue. Regularly inspect and maintain your dishwasher, check for faulty components, and follow preventive measures to keep your dishwasher running smoothly.

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