If you discover a pool of water in the bottom of your Dishwasher after a cycle, don’t panic.
Although standing water can be a sign that your Dishwasher needs professional repair, most of the time, it’s a minor issue that you can fix on your own.
Water in the bottom of the Dishwasher results from clogs in the filter, garbage disposal, drain hose, drain pump, or air gap.
When food or sediment build-up within these systems, the Dishwasher won’t drain properly. Locating the blockage and clearing the debris will solve the problem.
In this guide, We dive deeper into what’s causing water to pool in the bottom of your Dishwasher and explain, in plain English, the steps you need to take to troubleshoot.
Common reasons why your Dishwasher is not Draining
If you have water in the bottom of your Dishwasher, the first step is to figure out the root cause
The most common issues that lead to water in the bottom of your Dishwasher include clogs, poor maintenance, operating error, and broken or malfunctioning parts.
Blockages are the most common reasons why water is not draining correctly. You can easily prevent clogs by rinsing dishes before placing them in the Dishwasher. There are many different parts and systems in your Dishwasher that can get backed up, and we dive deep into the specifics of how to clear each in a minute.
2. Poor Maintenance
Most people don’t realize that they have to perform regular maintenance to keep their Dishwasher running correctly. Regular maintenance can include periodically emptying the drain basket, inspecting hoses, and cleaning filters. It’s also a good idea to clean and inspect the spray arm every six months or as directed in your owner’s manual.
3. Operation Errors
Always consult your owner’s manual to ensure proper operation techniques. It’s essential to know how to work the machine and what products are recommended. For example, using regular dish soap in a pinch could cause a clog and result in water in the bottom of the Dishwasher.
4. Broken Parts
When parts wear out, they should be replaced by a licensed professional to prevent voiding your warranty. If you don’t know who to call, you can use Home Advisor as a resource to find highly-rated, licensed professionals in your area. It only takes a few minutes to get completely free, no-obligation quotes.
How to fix standing water in Dishwasher
1. Turn off the system’s power
Before working on the Dishwasher, unplug the machine or switch off the circuit breaker in your electrical panel to prevent electric shock.
2. Remove the water in your Dishwasher.
Line the floor under the Dishwasher with towels and use a large cup or plastic container to scoop the water into a large bowl or the sink. When the water becomes too shallow to scoop, use a towel to soak up the rest of the moisture.
3. Check the drainage system.
Is your Dishwasher not draining? One of the most common reasons for water at the bottom of your Dishwasher is because food particles or other debris have clogged the drainage system.
Check the dishwasher drain and clean the drain basket around the lower sprayer arm, unclogging debris with a wire hanger. Make sure no large objects are covering or blocking the sump area in the rear of the tub.
4. Clean the pump
The pump consists of two impellers: the upper one pumps water into the Dishwasher, and the lower one pumps it out to the drain.
Sometimes, broken glass and other debris will prevent the impellers from turning, causing water to build up. Remove any trash you find that could be creating these blockages.
5. Clean the sprayer arms
Gently pop out the sprayer arms located at the bottom of your Dishwasher. Check the holes for food debris and clean them out with a wire hanger. Rinse the arms with warm water, ensuring all pieces of food have been removed and set them aside.
6. Clean the dishwasher filter
Check your owner’s manual to see where the dishwasher filter is located (it’s usually located on the bottom of the dishwasher floor near the back of the appliance) and use a screwdriver to remove it.
Rinse off the screen with water and wipe the surrounding area clean with a damp sponge. Replace the screen and the sprayer arms.
7. Assess the supply line
If you’ve cleaned out the screen and the drainage areas and there’s still standing water in your Dishwasher, then you probably have a clog in your supply line.
Locate the supply line under your sink. Place a bucket underneath the line to catch any falling water and disconnect the plumbing line that feeds into the main drain.
Allowing the water to drain into the bucket, look for clogs, and run a snake through the pipe to dislodge it. After removing any clogs, reattach the plumbing line and run an empty cycle through the Dishwasher.
8. Clean the drain line
Locate the drain line near the back of the Dishwasher right under the filter screen—Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of water to form a paste. Pour the paste into the drain line through the filter screen.
Pour 1/2 cup vinegar down the drain line and let the solution sit for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour hot water down the drain line to flush out the baking soda solution.
9. Straighten out the drain hose
Locate the dishwasher drain hose under the sink; clips or screws typically hold it up. Older drain hoses tend to form kinks, which can create blockages. If there are kinks in the drain hose, gently straighten them out.
10. Run the garbage disposal
Since an air gap in a connecting hose may prevent water from draining, remove the drain hose where it connects to the garbage disposal and clear blockages with a flat-head screwdriver.
After you’ve removed any clogs, make sure the kitchen sink drain isn’t clogged and run the disposal. Never put your hands down on the garbage disposal, as this could result in serious injury.
11. Run a complete cycle
To ensure that your Dishwasher is draining correctly, turn on the power to the system and run a complete dishwashing cycle.
Once the cycle is complete, open the door and check if any water remains in the bottom of the Dishwasher. If you notice an abnormal amount of standing water in the Dishwasher, you may need to call a professional.
If you have a home warranty, file a claim with your provider and schedule a time for a service technician to access your Dishwasher.
How to prevent standing water in your Dishwasher
To prevent water from building up in the future, consider these recommendations.
1. Use the correct detergent.
Whether your Dishwasher requires pods, powder, or liquid detergent, make sure you’re using the correct detergent to avoid clogging the drain. Your manufacturer’s manual should detail which detergent is best.
2. Make sure you’re loading the Dishwasher correctly
Improper loading may make it harder for water to drain during a complete wash cycle. Read the manufacturer’s manual for directions and tips on how to load the Dishwasher best.
In general, cups and small bowls should be loaded in the top rack, utensils should be placed in the silverware holder, and plates and large bowls should be loaded in the bottom rack.
3. Listen to your machine.
During a wash cycle, listen for humming or clicking sounds. If you hear these noises, the drain pump and motor may need to be replaced. Since these parts are essential in preventing standing water in your Dishwasher, you should get them replaced as soon as possible.
4. Properly maintain your Dishwasher.
Read the manufacturer’s manual to review the recommended maintenance schedule.