How to Drain a Dishwasher with Standing Water?

There are many ways in which your dishwasher can create problems for you. Your dishwasher may seem like an easy-to-use machine, but it requires periodic maintenance and troubleshooting for efficient and smooth working. One of the most common problems reported by homeowners is standing water at the bottom of the dishwasher.

While it may seem like a serious issue on the hand, not all drainage problems require a technician’s visit. Most homeowners prefer saving time and money by troubleshooting their dishwasher themselves and getting rid of the standing water at the bottom.

In this article, we will discuss how you can drain a dishwasher with standing water. We will also discuss the common causes behind drainage problems and how to avoid further dishwasher not draining problems.

How to Drain a Dishwasher with Standing Water?

Let’s begin our discussion with common causes for dishwashers not draining.

Common Reasons behind Standing Water in Dishwasher


One of the most common reasons behind drainage issues is clogged parts in your dishwasher. The frequently clogged parts include filters and screens.

Operational Errors

Operational errors can appear out of nowhere in a dishwasher and other such appliances. They usually show up due to a faulty installation, unbalanced machine, or loading your dishwasher in the wrong way.

Broken/Worn Out Parts

Broken or worn-out parts in your dishwasher can cause drainage issues. When parts wear out, they must be replaced by a licensed professional or company’s technician to avoid warranty problems.

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Poor Maintenance

A monthly maintenance regime is very important for making your machine work flawlessly. Most homeowners don’t pay attention to their appliances unless they start creating problems. You must clean your dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda every month, check and clean filters, spray arms, and any other parts that need regular maintenance.

Troubleshooting Guide for Draining Water from your Dishwasher

Let’s check out all the steps you need to perform to get rid of the standing water in your dishwasher.

Step 1: Turn off Your Dishwasher

Turn off the machine or switch off the circuit in the electric panel to power off your machine. Please note that turning off the breaker will also turn off any lights and appliances connected to that circuit. Hence, it is best to turn off your machine individually.

Step 2: Getting Rid of the Standing Water

You can try draining the water automatically by resetting your dishwasher. Most dishwashers can be reset by pressing the power start/stop button for three seconds. However, it is best to check the user manual of your machine.

If you are lucky, the water may drain. If not, you will have to drain the water manually. To do this, line the floor under the dishwasher with old towels and remove the bottom rack from your dishwasher. Use a large cup or plastic container to scoop the water from the dishwasher and pour it into a large bowl. Empty the bowl in the sink. It would be best to wear latex gloves while doing this step as the water inside the dishwasher is dirty and may contain broken glasses.

You can also use a suction pump or a shop vacuum for removing the water from your dishwasher.

Step 3: Remove and Clean the Filter

Remove and Clean the Filter

Once the water is shallow enough to reveal the filter, remove it and place it in a bowl of white distilled water for 30 minutes. It will loosen the stuck particles and kill any germs on the filter. Use an old toothbrush to remove any food particles and rinse with cold water. Your dishwasher may have two filters in it. You must clean both the filters. Consult the user manual to check the location and number of filters in your machine.

If your dishwasher has a drainage screen, remove and clean it as well.

Step 4: Run a Disposal

A blocked garbage disposal or air gap may be causing drainage issues. Inspect the disposal from the top by using a torch and see if anything is stuck in there. Running water at full speed in the disposal for 30-60 seconds may fix the issue.

Step 5: Flush the drain

Flush the drain

If the dishwasher still creates drainage issues, try clearing it from inside by using baking soda and vinegar. Sprinkle one cup of baking soda at the bottom of your machine, and then pour one cup of vinegar over it. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes.

Finish by pouring hot water down the basket and running a rinse cycle on your dishwasher. This will clear any stuck particles in the drain.

Step 6: Inspect the Drain Hose

Inspect the Drain Hose

Check out the drain hose connecting your machine and the garbage disposal. Straighten out any kinks and inspect for any damages or leaks. If the drain hose is damaged, it can cause drainage problems and flooding issues.

You can check the drainpipe by blowing through the hose or pole a wire hanger through it to check for clogs. You must make sure that the seal is tight, too, while inspecting the drain hose.

Step 7: Check the Drain Valve

Check the drain valve on the valve bracket. Make sure that it is not stuck and moving freely.

Step 8: Run a Complete Cycle

Once you are done with all the above steps, run a complete cycle on your dishwasher to check if it is draining. If your dishwasher is now draining properly, you have done the required work and saved yourself a lot of hassle, time, and money by not calling technicians over to your home.

How to Prevent Standing Water in your Dishwasher

Consider the following recommendation to prevent standing water in your dishwasher.

Use the Right Detergent

Make sure you are using a manufacturer-recommended detergent and one that matches your water chemistry.

Load the Dishwasher Correctly

A lot of drainage issues happen due to improper loading of your dishwasher. You must read the user manual to get information on loading the dishes correctly in  your dishwasher. The usual safe practice is to load cups and small bowls in the top rack, utensils in the silverware holder, and big plates, large bowls, and pans in the bottom rack.

Listen to your Dishwasher

Listen to your machine randomly while it is running. If you notice humming or clicking sounds, there must be something wrong with the drain system in your machine. Moreover, listening to your machine will clarify whether drain water is flowing freely or not.

Periodic Maintenance

Maintaining your machine regularly is the best way to avoid costly repairs and drainage issues. You must clean the dishwasher with baking soda and vinegar every month, clean the filters monthly, and clean your machine’s spray arms and interior every 3-6 months.

Final Words

Homeowners themselves handle most drainage complaints, but some cases need special attention. If you have performed all the above steps and your machine is still creating drainage problems, we recommend you call in a professional.


  • 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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