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.

dishwasher

These repairs may help solve your dishwasher problem

Replace the dishwasher drain pump

Replace the dishwasher 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.

October 1, 2016
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher drain pump

If the dishwasher doesn’t drain, the problem could be the drain pump, even if you hear the pump running. You can replace the pump in about 30 minutes, following the steps in this repair guide and video.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
Clean the dishwasher drain path

Clean the dishwasher 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.

Replace the dishwasher drain line

Replace the dishwasher 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.

April 1, 2014
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher drain hose

Water leaking from under a dishwasher could mean the drain hose cracked or split. This step-by-step DIY repair guide shows you how to replace a leaking drain hose.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the dishwasher electronic control board

Replace the dishwasher 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.

How to replace a dishwasher electronic control board

Because the electronic control board runs every stage of the dishwashing cycle, it's hard to know if the problem is the board or something it controls. If you or a repair technician determines the dishwasher control board is faulty, this repair guide and video show how to install a new one.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the dishwasher timer

Replace the dishwasher 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.

April 1, 2014
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher timer

If a dishwasher isn't advancing through the wash, rinse, drain or dry cycles, chances are the dishwasher timer is to blame. This easy-to-follow repair guide shows you how to replace the timer yourself.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the dishwasher check valve

Replace the dishwasher 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.

Clear the dishwasher chopper blade area

Clear the dishwasher chopper blade area

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.

Repair the dishwasher upper circulation pump assembly

Repair the dishwasher upper circulation 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.

Replace the dishwasher circulation pump and motor assembly

Replace the dishwasher circulation pump and motor assembly

Several situations can require the replacing the circulation pump and motor assembly in a dishwasher. If the motor on the circulation pump fails, then the dishwasher pump won't run at all. Sometimes the motor runs but doesn't generate water pressure through the spray arms, because the damaged impeller or pump housing is damaged. The pump housing and/or the seals could also deteriorate or become damaged, causing the dishwasher to leak. Problems inside the pump and motor assembly can create abnormal noises in the dishwasher. In all these situations, the pump and motor usually must be replaced.

How to replace a dishwasher circulation pump and motor assembly

When the dishwasher spray arm won't spray, the problem could be the circulation pump or the pump motor. Installing a new dishwasher circulation pump and motor assembly costs about as much as just replacing the motor, and is easier. This DIY repair guide with video shows how to replace the pump and motor assembly.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
Symptoms common to all dishwashers

Choose a symptom to see related dishwasher repairs.

Main causes: light switch beside the sink turned off, lack of power, bad dishwasher door switch, control system failure, wiring problem
Main causes: not using rinse aid, rinse aid dispenser failure, broken heating element, malfunctioning vent, drying fan failure
Main causes: damaged or stuck spray arm, leaking door seal, damaged door hinge, leaky heating element water seal, cracked water supply line
Main causes: improper loading, low water temperature, improper detergent dosage, detergent dispenser failure, spray arm or pump problems
Main causes: water supply problem, stuck overfill float, clogged water inlet valve screen, water inlet valve failure
Main cause: damaged rack height adjuster
Main causes: clogged kitchen sink drain, clogged drain hose, drain check valve damaged, drain pump failure, control system problem
Main causes: broken door latch, tripped circuit breaker, broken heating element, faulty vent fan, sensor failure, control system problem
Main causes: broken door spring, detergent dispenser failure, cabinet mounting brackets loose or broken
Repair guides common to all dishwashers

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your dishwasher.

October 1, 2016
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher diverter motor

Upper spray arms not getting water? The diverter motor could be broken. Use this guide to replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
October 1, 2016
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher high-limit thermostat

Follow these steps to replace the high-limit thermostat in your dishwasher if prevents the heating element from heating.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
October 1, 2016
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher vent and fan assembly

If the control panel goes blank, the fan could be to blame. Replace the vent and fan assembly using these steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Articles and videos common to all dishwashers

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your dishwasher.

December 1, 2017
Wiring schematic symbols explained video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn some of the most common symbols found in a wiring diagram and what they mean.

September 28, 2016
Dishwasher has no power video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Sometimes you just plain forget to turn the dishwasher switch on, but you might also need to check for faulty wire connections or user interface control.

September 20, 2016
How to anchor a dishwasher to the floor video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Use a floor-mounting kit to fasten your dishwasher to the floor.