Why Water Stays in Dishwasher: A Common Household Conundrum

Have you ever opened your dishwasher after a full cycle, only to find a pool of water sitting at the bottom? If you’ve experienced this, you’re not alone. Many people wonder why water stays in the dishwasher even when the cleaning process is seemingly complete. In this article, we’ll delve into the mechanics of dishwashers and explore the reasons behind this common household conundrum.

Understanding the Dishwashing Process

The Dishwashing Cycle

Before we address the issue of standing water, let’s take a closer look at how dishwashers work. Dishwashers follow a structured cleaning cycle, which typically includes:

  1. Pre-wash: The dishwasher initially rinses the dishes with cold water to remove loose food particles.
  2. Main Wash: Hot water mixed with detergent is sprayed onto the dishes to remove tough stains and grease.
  3. Rinse: The dishwasher rinses the dishes with clean water to remove soap residue.
  4. Drying: Some dishwashers have a drying phase where hot air is used to evaporate remaining moisture.

The Drainage Process

Now, let’s delve into the drainage process, which is crucial in understanding why water may remain in the dishwasher.

  1. Drain Pump: Dishwashers are equipped with a drain pump that expels wastewater from the appliance. The pump plays a pivotal role in emptying the dishwasher.
  2. Drain Hose: The drain pump pushes the wastewater through a drain hose that is connected to your home’s plumbing system.

Reasons for Water Retention

Partially Clogged Drainage

One of the most common reasons for water staying in the dishwasher is a partially clogged drainage system. Over time, food particles, grease, and debris can accumulate in the drain filter, hose, or pump. When these components become obstructed, water cannot flow out efficiently.

Faulty Drain Pump

A malfunctioning drain pump can also lead to water retention. If the pump fails to expel water properly, it will remain in the dishwasher. This issue often requires professional repair or replacement.

Incorrect Installation

Sometimes, improper installation can be the root cause of water retention. If the dishwasher is not installed at the correct angle or if the drain hose is not positioned properly, water may not drain out completely.

Air Gap Issues

In some cases, a faulty air gap can lead to water staying in the dishwasher. The air gap is a device that prevents dirty water from re-entering the dishwasher. If it’s not functioning correctly, water can’t flow out as it should.

High Draining Point

If your dishwasher’s draining point is higher than it should be, gravity may not effectively remove all the water. This situation can result from incorrect installation or modifications to your kitchen’s plumbing.

Resolving Water Retention Issues

Regular Maintenance

To prevent water retention, it’s essential to perform regular maintenance. Clean the filter, drain pump, and drain hose to ensure unobstructed water flow.

Check the Drain Pump

If you suspect a faulty drain pump, consult a professional technician to assess and repair or replace the pump.

Verify Installation

Ensure that your dishwasher is correctly installed, with the drain hose at the proper angle and connected securely to the plumbing.

Air Gap Inspection

Inspect the air gap for any clogs or malfunctions. Cleaning or replacing it may resolve the issue.

Plumbing Adjustment

If the draining point is too high, consider having a professional plumber adjust your kitchen’s plumbing to facilitate proper drainage.


Understanding why water stays in your dishwasher is the first step in addressing this common issue. Whether it’s due to clogged components, a faulty pump, or installation problems, resolving these issues can help ensure your dishwasher functions optimally. Regular maintenance and professional assistance are key to keeping your dishwasher trouble-free.


FAQ 1: Is it normal for a dishwasher to have some water left after a cycle?

It’s common for dishwashers to have a small amount of residual water at the bottom. However, excessive water retention is a cause for concern.

FAQ 2: Can I fix a clogged drain filter on my own?

Yes, you can clean a clogged drain filter yourself by removing it and rinsing it under running water. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

FAQ 3: What should I do if my dishwasher’s drain pump is not working?

If your dishwasher’s drain pump is malfunctioning, it’s best to consult a professional technician for repair or replacement.

FAQ 4: How often should I perform dishwasher maintenance?

Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the filter and drain components, should be done at least once a month to prevent water retention issues.

FAQ 5: What is the purpose of the air gap in a dishwasher?

The air gap prevents contaminated water from flowing back into the dishwasher, ensuring hygienic washing and draining. If it’s not functioning correctly, it can lead to water retention problems.

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 0 Average: 0]