How to Drain a Dishwasher

How to Drain a Dishwasher

The smell of a clogged dishwasher can have anyone ready to throw the whole kitchen away and try again. If you’re someone like me, then you know dishwashers are the chip to my dip or the plié to my sous-sus. The bottom line is, dishwashers when running properly, can be the most dependable and trusted kitchen companion. Unfortunately, the dishwasher has become a love-hate relationship that can put a damper on anyone’s budget and mood, especially if buying a new dishwasher isn’t in this month’s budget plans. Oftentimes, dishwashers prose minor issues that can be fixed on your own. Ready to ditch the plumbing professionals, roll up your sleeves and figure out why your dishwasher is not draining? Put that dish down, and let’s figure out how to drain a dishwasher. 

Common Patterns of a Clogged Dishwasher?

To fix your dishwasher, we must first understand the underlying factors that play into why your dishwasher is not draining. Below are some common reasons why you’re dishwasher is malfunctioning:

  • Clogged filter 
  • Operational errors 
  • Defective parts

Locating the blockage can be an easy fix once you identify the error. Let’s dive deeper, shall we? 

How to Prevent Clogged Filters?

Old dishwasher with clean dishes

Rinsing your Dishes 

Rinsing dishes is the easiest way to keep your dishwasher from clogging. Before loading your dishwasher, be sure to rinse unnecessary food and debris that can potentially clog your dishwasher. The goal is to keep a constant flow of detergent and water running through your appliance. This makes dirt and debris easy to flush out of the dishwasher regularly.

A key tip is to clean your dishwasher when going away on trips, so you don’t come back with a nasty surprise. You can also clean your dishwasher on a 15-minute hot water cycle after emptying your clean dishes to ensure debris and dirt have been flushed out. If you made it thus far, add vinegar and baking soda for an extra cleaning bonus. 

Check for Operational Errors 

To ensure your dishwasher is operating right, look at the owner’s manual for confirmation. It’s important to understand how your machine operates and what products are recommended for usage. Please note that using dish soap vs. standard dishwashing liquid can cause clogs, bubbles, and water standing in the bottom of your dishwasher. 

Check for Defective Parts 

Over time, parts of your dishwasher will need replacement by a licensed professional. To drain your dishwasher, check and see if these parts are broken: 

Drain Valve or Solenoid

First, determine whether the valve is draining the water out after a cycle. Next, check if the solenoid, which is the part that controls the drain. Then, check your set timer is working correctly. Finally, check both of them together. If the timer is off, It may be time to replace it.

Faulty Motor

The motor can cause multiple screw-ups if it is not working correctly. Test your dishwasher motor. If it fails, it may be time to replace it. Contact your dishwasher manufacturer to purchase the correct model.

Malfunctioning Timer

The timing mechanism may be faulty and need replacement. You may have to contact your manufacturer to purchase the correct replacement product.

Pump Dilemma 

A malfunctioning pump assembly or debris in your pump could be causing a blockage. The debris could be blocking the wash impeller. You may have to replace the assembly or additional damaged parts 

Worn Belt

The pump assembly is supported by a belt. The belt rarely fails, but can be worn down. If necessary, the drive belt will need to be replaced. 

What Steps to Take

New renovated dishwasher with clean dishes

Here are the steps you should follow on how to drain a dishwasher:

Step 1: Turn on your Garbage Disposal 

The drain hose connects to the garbage disposal drain. If the disposal consists of food and debris, the dishwasher will not drain properly. Running your disposal can be all it takes to get your dishwasher up and running again.

Step 2: Clean the Sink’s Air Gap 

The air gap is a small slotted cylinder that connects to a dishwasher hose if your sink does not have a washer disposal. Occasionally, the cap can be clogged up with debris. Twist the air gap counter-clockwise to loosen it and remove the gunk. 

Step 3: Remove Dingy Water 

If the two methods above didn’t do the trick, it’s time to drain the water to inspect the dishwasher further. Remove the bottom tray and use absorbent towels to soak up overspilling water. With the tray gone, begin scooping the rest of the water with a plastic cup. When the water level is too low to scoop, use towels to soak up the remaining water.

Step 4: Clean the Drain Basket 

The drain basket is located at the bottom of your dishwasher’s interior. The basket can snap off or is held in place by two screws (Consult user manual if basket does not resemble the two examples mentioned). Detach the cover and remove any food or debris with a gloved hand or utensil. Place the basket back into the dishwasher and run the dishwasher on a fifteen-minute hot water cycle. To prevent future events, rinse your dishes before washing them in the dishwasher.

Step 5: Replace Dishwasher Drain Hose 

If clogs persist after de-gunking your hose, it may be time for a replacement. If you’re uncomfortable handling this task on your own, call a professional. Keep in mind a plumber may charge additional fees upfront for a house call, so if you can handle it yourself, go for it! First, unplug the dishwasher unit and pull it out from under the countertop. Next, disconnect the old hose from the garbage disposal (or the air cap) and the assembly pump. Lastly, replace the old house with a new one. Consult with the owner manual to ensure the correct replacement hose is purchased from your local retailer. 

How to Drain a Dishwasher: Conclusion 

The techniques mentioned above often do the trick. If you find your dishwasher still acting improperly, it may be a faulty pump or timer that requires a licensed professional to handle the situation. If this is the case, seek out a pro.   

Written by A’Rya Pratt

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