Dishwasher: Won't drain

If water remains in the dishwasher after the cycle ends, check the kitchen sink drain to make sure it's not clogged. If there's no clog, try pressing the Cancel button; most dishwashers run the drain pump when the Cancel button is pressed.

If these tips don’t help, a broken drain pump, damaged check valve, clogged drain path or control failure (timer or electronic control) could be preventing the dishwasher from draining water. A clog in the upper pump assembly or chopper blade area can also prevent water from draining. Some dishwashers use the same pump for circulation and draining, so you may need to replace the pump assembly in that type of dishwasher.

Make sure that water drains through the kitchen sink drain because a clogged sink drain won’t allow water to drain from the dishwasher. If the kitchen sink drain is clear, check the drain hose for clog and clear the drain hose if it’s clogged. Our Dishwasher Not Draining Video shows how to check the drain hose.

The drain hose on many dishwashers includes a check valve that prevents water from backing up into the dishwasher sump through the drain hose. The check valve in some dishwashers is located in the upper sump assembly or next to the chopper blade assembly. If the check valve is damaged, water may initially drain out of the dishwasher while the drain pump runs but then flow back into the dishwasher after the drain pump stops. Examine the check valve and replace it if it’s damaged.

Water flows down to the drain pump through the upper sump assembly on some dishwashers. A clog in the upper pump assembly can prevent water from reaching the drain pump. Check the upper sump assembly for a clog and clear any debris that blocks drain water flow.

Some dishwashers have a chopper blade that shreds debris as the circulation pump runs. The chopper blade sometimes fails to break up large debris and some items such as jar labels and glass. When the chopper blade area gets clogged with debris, water may not reach the drain pump so the dishwasher won’t drain out the water. Check the chopper blade area and clear any debris from that area of the sump.

If the drain path is clear, a failed drain pump or bad control could be preventing the dishwasher from draining. If the drain pump doesn’t run or doesn’t pump out water when activated, replace the drain pump. If the timer or electronic control doesn’t activate the drain pump during the drain portion of the cycle, replace the control device.

Some dishwashers use the same pump to circulate water through the spray arms and drain the dishwasher. The pump runs one direction to move water through the spray arms and the opposite direction to drain the water. If the pump doesn’t run in the drain direction when activated, replace the pump assembly.

These repairs may help solve your Dishwasher problem:

Replace the dishwasher drain pump

Drain pump

Replace the dishwasher drain pump if it's cracked or damaged, or if the drain pump doesn't pump out water. Before replacing, check the drain path (drain hose, sink drain and sump) to make sure it's not blocked. If the drain path is clear and water doesn't pump out, the drain pump has failed. Replace the drain pump if it won't run even though it's getting run voltage from the timer or control board.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Clean the dishwasher drain path

Drain path

The drain path (sump, pump, drain hose, air gap if installed and sink drain) can sometimes become clogged with debris or grease. In this situation, the drain pump will run but the water won't be evacuated. The drain path will need to examined and cleared to fix this type of dishwasher problem. If the drain line is damaged or cannot be cleared, then it will need to be replaced.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Replace the dishwasher drain line

Drain line

Replace the drain line—also called the drain hose—if it develops a hole or tear. Holes in the drain hose cause the dishwasher to leak, especially when the dishwasher is draining.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Replace the dishwasher electronic control board

Electronic control board

The electronic control board runs all dishwasher functions. If the electronic control board is getting voltage, but not operating properly, it should be replaced.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Replace the dishwasher timer

Timer

The timer controls the electro-mechanical components in the dishwasher such as the wash pump, drain pump, inlet water valve and heating element. The timer also advances the control knob on the control panel. Replace the timer if it fails to start and stop the components properly or fails to advance the control knob.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Replace the dishwasher check valve

Check valve

Most drain systems in the dishwashers have a check valve that prevents the drain water from backing up or siphoning back into the sump of the dishwasher after the normal drain process is completed. If the dishwasher isn't draining properly, or drain water is backing up into the sump after the drain process, then you will need to clear or replace the check valve.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Clear the dishwasher chopper blade area

Soil separator

A kernel of popcorn or a similar foreign object can drop into the chopper blade area of the dishwasher, causing a loud grinding noise when the pump runs. Remove the lower spray arm and the upper part of the dishwasher sump to access and clear debris from the chopper blade area. If the chopper blade is damaged, replace it.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Repair the dishwasher upper circulation pump assembly

Upper pump assembly

Some dishwashers have a portion of the circulation pump assembly that can be accessed and repaired from inside the dishwasher tub (from the top of the circulation pump assembly). A clog, a foreign object or a failed seal can prevent the water from flowing to the spray arms. A clog or failed check valve can prevent the dishwasher from draining. Remove the lower spray arm and the top of the sump to inspect the upper circulation pump when spray is weak or the dishwasher won’t drain. Clear any clogs and replace any damaged parts to restore water flow to the spray arms or drain pump.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Replace the dishwasher circulation pump assembly

Sump and motor assembly

The circulation pump can wear out or become damaged by foreign objects such as broken glass. If the circulation pump impeller gets damaged by a shard of broken glass, the impeller won’t pump water through the spray arms. Some dishwashers use the same pump and impeller to circulate water through the spray arms and drain water from the dishwasher during the drain portion of the cycle. A damaged impeller won’t drain water out during the drain cycle in dishwashers that use the same pump for circulation and draining. On some dishwashers, individual components such as the pump impeller aren’t available as separate replacement parts so you may need to replace the entire circulation pump assembly when the dishwasher doesn’t spray or drain water out.

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.