GE Dishwasher not Draining: 8 Causes and their Solutions

GE (General Electric) is a common household name across the US. The brand offers a complete range of kitchen and home use appliances. Its dishwasher is one of the most frequently bought machines because of its superb cleaning power, reliability, and durability.

Just like all the other dishwashers, GE dishwashers also need maintenance and troubleshooting. One of the most commonly cited problems by GE dishwasher users is GE dishwasher not draining. While it is irritating to open the door of your dishwasher and find a water pool at the bottom, the good news is users can deal with the majority of the complaints by checking a few things and making some quick fixes.

We will help you sort the GE dishwasher not draining problem in this article. Please note that this guide cannot be used as an alternate to your product’s troubleshooting manual. It will cover the generic steps that will work with dishwashers from other brands as well.

GE Dishwasher not Draining Guide

Cause # 1: Incomplete Wash Cycle

Your GE dishwasher may not complete a cycle randomly. It can cause draining problems.

Solution: Check why your dishwasher is not completing the wash cycle properly. It can happen due to improper loading, overloading, selecting the wrong cycle, pre-rinsing your dishes, and door problems. The best way to get rid of an incomplete washing cycle is to reset your machine. You can reset your GE dishwasher by holding the start/stop button for 3-5 seconds.

Cause # 2: Blocked Filter

The second most commonly reported reason is the blocked filter. Food particles clog the filter that can block the drainage system.

Solution: Clean the water filter periodically to ensure that it stays in mint condition. Some GE dishwashers come with ultra-fine and fine filters.

Follow the steps below to clean the water filter in your GE dishwasher.

To clean the ultra-fine filter

To clean ultra-fine filter

  • Remove the bottom rack to access the water filter.
  • Twist the ultra-fine filter counterclockwise and lift to remove it.
  • Rinse the filter with warm soapy water and use a sponge to carefully remove any stuck food particles. Don’t scrub with scouring pads and toothbrushes, as it can damage the ultra-fine filter.
  • To remove any stains or smells, you can also dip the filter in white vinegar for 10-20 minutes.
  • Insert the filter back in its place and twist it clockwise to lock it in its place.
  • Make sure you check the arrow on the fine filter. It must be used as a guide to align the placement of an ultra-fine filter. It is a great idea to take a picture before removing the ultra-fine filter.

To clean the fine filter

To clean fine filter

  • To clean the fine filter (mesh plate); remove the bottom rack and then the ultra-fine filter.
  • Twist (counterclockwise) each of the two retaining posts located towards the back of the bottom of the dishwashers tub, and remove the fine filter.
  • Rinse the filter with warm soapy water or place it in a bowl of whiter vinegar for 20-30 minutes.
  • After you are done cleaning, insert the two filters back in the same way you took them out. Twist the two retaining posts clockwise to lock the filter in its place.

Please note that 1-2 cups of water covering the bottom of the tub is normal on models without an ultra-fine filter in GE dishwashers. In models with an ultra-fine filter, water in the sump (below the filter) is normal, but the water should not cover the bottom of the tub.

Cause # 3: Excessive Detergent

Adding excessive detergent or using the wrong detergent in your dishwasher can cause drainage problems in GE dishwashers.

Solution: You need to take care of three things to solve detergent-related drainage problems.

  1. Use GE recommended dishwashers such as Cascade® Platinum™ ActionPacs™, Finish® Quantum® detergents and boosters for hard water.
  2. Make sure you don’t use excessive detergent in your dishwasher.
  3. If you have hard water at home, always use hard water specific detergent. For people having soft water, it is recommended to use half the amount of detergent.

Cause # 4: Blocked/Kinked Drain Hose

Cause # 4 BlockedKinked Drain Hose

Another commonly reposted reason behind GE dishwasher not draining is a blocked or kinked drain hose. The drain hose on your dishwasher connects the dishwasher to the sink drain or garbage disposal.

Solution: Follow the steps below to check the drain hose in your dishwasher

  • Power off your dishwasher before performing any maintenance. If you turn off the circuit from your home’s electric control panel, it will turn off other lights and appliances on that circuit.
  • Inspect the drain line by opening the cabinet adjacent to your dishwasher for any kinks.
  • If you notice any kinks, try straightening them gently with your hands. If you can’t do it and feel that the pipe may break, unscrew the dishwasher from the counter and pull it out.
  • Remove the drain pipe from the dishwasher by unscrewing the clamp holding it.
  • Now remove the kinks and flush the pipe. You can also use a straightened wire hanger to remove any blockages in the pipe. If the pipe is damaged beyond repair, you’ll need to replace it.
  • Attach the pipe back and secure the dishwasher back in its place.
  • Turn on the power supply and give your dishwasher a test run.

Cause # 5: Clogged Air Gap

Cause # 5 Clogged Air Gap

The air gap on your dishwasher or washing machine prevents dirty water from coming back to the machine. The problem arises when the air gap becomes clogged with debris or food particles. Air gaps need periodic cleaning to ensure flawless working.

Solution: You can clear air gap clogs by simply removing the air gap cover. Remove any debris or food particles with your hands or paper towel. Check that there are no visible clogs in the air gap before putting the cover back on. You can also throw a jug of water in the opening to ensure that water is flowing freely.

Cause # 6: Garbage Disposal Problems

A newly installed garbage disposal can be the reason behind your GE dishwasher not draining. The drain plug may not have been removed, or a blockage in the garbage disposal can be causing draining problems.

Solution: Check garbage disposal under the sink and ensure that no valves are in the closed position. If you can’t figure out what’s wrong with it, call a licensed technician for inspection.

Cause # 7: Blocked Sink Drain

A blocked sink drain can be the reason behind the dishwasher not draining properly. It often happens that homeowners keep on checking their dishwasher while the real culprit is a blockage in the sink drain.

Solution: Use environment-safe draining cleaning liquids to remove the blockages in your drain. If the problem persists, call a licensed plumber to inspect the situation.

Cause # 8: Dirty Dishwasher

Cause # 8 Dirty Dishwasher

Sometimes everything will be working perfectly alright, but your dishwasher may not still drain properly—the reason: a dirty dishwasher.

Solution: Cleaning your dishwasher monthly with vinegar and baking soda is best to ensure that it performs optimally. Follow the steps below for cleaning your GE dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda.

  • Empty your dishwasher and place 1-2 cups of white distilled vinegar at the top rack. Run your dishwasher on hot settings.
  • Once the cycle is complete, remove the cup holding vinegar and sprinkle one cup of baking soda at the bottom of your dishwasher.
  • Program your dishwasher to a hot cycle.
  • Now use a flexible wire to clean the showerheads on spray arms.
  • Do not add vinegar and baking soda together in your dishwasher.

GE Dishwasher not Draining causes that need Professional Help

If you are not a DIY type of person and don’t understand how a dishwasher and its components work, we suggest you don’t get into the parts replacement thing. For the following problems, it is best to call a certified professional.

Faulty Drain Impeller

The drain impeller is responsible for pushing water through the drain hose. It can develop faults over time. You will need to replace the drain impeller.

Drain Pump

The drain pump uses an impeller to force water through the drain hose. If its motor is not working, the dishwasher will not drain. The technician will check the motor for continuity using a millimeter. If the motor doesn’t have continuity, you will need to replace the drain pump or motor in it.

Drain Solenoid Kit

It opens the drain valve to allow the water to exit the dishwasher. Any issues in the solenoid will cause drainage problems in your dishwasher. The only solution to a faulty drain solenoid kit is replacing it.

Drain Valve

While you can clear the drain valve of any stuck debris or food particles, you may need a certified plumber to replace it.

Final Words

Homeowners should apply the common and DIY fixes before seeking professional help. You can save a lot of time and money by fixing your dishwasher yourself. If your machine is in warranty, it is best to contact the manufacturer before replacing or repairing anything.


  • Stephen Powers

    Appliance repair guy from Washington. I am majorly experienced in dishwashers, water filters and refrigerators, AMA on my twitter account.

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