Is Your Countertop Dishwasher Not Draining? Here are 7 Solutions to fix it!

Countertop or portable dishwashers are suitable for every kitchen regardless of their layout. These dishwashers are compact and thus require a little space. Moreover, they are easily accessible when placed on the countertop. This extremely useful kitchen gadget could be problematic for you if it is not draining correctly.

Improper drainage can cause havoc at your countertop and in your entire kitchen. So, if you are facing such issues, you must know the solution to resolve this. Here is a 7-step guide to solve improper countertop dishwasher draining issues.

countertop dishwasher

7-Step solution guide for countertop dishwasher draining

If your countertop dishwasher is not draining, it will be frustrating. It can cause a serious mess in your kitchen countertop. But, if you know how to fix this, it will be a relief for you, and you will not have to call a technician for this purpose. You can set your dishwasher’s draining issues by the following steps.

If you specifically have GE dishwasher and facing draining problem, then follow this guide: GE Dishwasher not Draining: 8 Causes and their Solutions

1. Start over the interrupted wash cycle  

One of the main reasons for improper or ceased draining is the interrupted wash cycle. It happens if the dishwasher’s door remained open. Thus, fix this issue by keeping the dishwasher door shut properly. The dishwasher cycle may resume on its own.

The washing cycle also can be disturbed by a sudden power outage. If the cycle was stopped mid-way, it will cease further drainage. So, it would help if you put your dishwasher on a rinsing cycle. It will help your dishwasher drain the water that was stopped during the mid-way. After that, the draining will continue like it was before. If it doesn’t work, then move towards the next step.

2. Run the garbage disposal

The dishwasher’s drain hose falls into the garbage disposal drain. If food particles and residues are stuck inside, it may clog the drain. It will hinder the draining efficiency of your dishwasher. So, clear your kitchen’ sink with water and then run the disposal drain afterward. If the disposal drain is jammed, then clean the disposal drain.

To clear the disposal drain, turn off the dishwasher and then take off the disposal drain. You can use a scrubbing brush to remove food disposal from the draining pipe. Then rinse it with water. Place the drain to its previous position. Check the dishwashers draining again, and if it does not work, go for the next step.

3. Clear the filter

Another leading cause for water retention in your dishwasher is the blockage of water filters. If your filter drain is clogged with food particles, it can disturb the draining process. So, fix this issue by removing the water filter from the dishwasher. But before this, turn off the dishwasher and unscrew the water filter with a screwdriver.

water filter

Rinse the filter with cold water and use a scrubbing brush to remove food debris. Screw the water filter back to its place and turn on the dishwasher. If the draining continues, it is fine, but if not, do check other possible causes.

4. Check the drain hose connection.

Countertop dishwashers are portable, and people also change their placement if needed. During this process, the connection between the drain hose and dishwasher may get interrupted. You can fix this issue quickly. First, you have to turn off the dishwasher and turn it towards you. Now check the connection between the drain hose and dishwasher.

If you discover that the connection is loose, use pliers to fix it. But keep in mind that you don’t have to over-tighten the link as it can break the drainage hose also. Turn on the dishwasher and check the drainage.

5. Examine and clear the drain hose

After checking the drain hose connection, you should also check the other problems associated with the drain hose. If your drain hose is clogged or there is a kink in the drain hose, then it will cause an interruption in drainage. To fix these issues, remove the kink causing pressure on the drain hose.

After removing the bottom access and toe panel, you can access the drain hose. Disconnect the drain hose from the drain pump. After removing the drain hose, you can use a cocktail stick to loose and remove the debris from it. This will clean out the drain hose and clears it. After cleaning the drain hose, connect it again with drain pump. Reassemble bottom and toe panel and turn on the dishwasher.

Drain hose

6. Check the dishwasher motor

Another possible cause of improper draining of countertop dishwasher is its stuck motor. If you haven’t used your dishwasher for a few days, then there will be a possibility that the motor will be stuck. To resolve this issue, you should cut off the power supply of the dishwasher first. Then remove its main access panel and move the motor clockwise to free it.

You can utilize a multi-meter to ensure the continuity of the dishwasher’s motor. If it fails, it’s better to buy a new motor for your dishwasher.

7. Clear your kitchen sink drain

If there is a blockage in your kitchen sink, the disposal drain will not work. You will have to unclog your kitchen sink to drain the portable dishwasher properly. You can clear the sink by following the method.

  • Take half a cup of baking soda and a half cup of vinegar. Pour the mixture into the sink’s hole and let it settle for 20 minutes at least.
  • Now, take water into a container and boils it up to 85 degrees centigrade.
  • Pour out this hot water into the sink’s hole. The hot water will unclog the kitchen sink quickly because baking soda and vinegar have already loosened the debris.
  • You can also use a plunger and commercial drain cleaner if you don’t want to use baking soda and vinegar.

Fixing guide for countertop dishwasher which is not cleaning properly is also available. Click here to read more.

Final Words…

If your countertop dishwasher is not draining, it is surely terrifying because of the mess it will create in your kitchen. But by using the 7 methods mentioned above, you can fix your dishwasher’s draining problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does a portable dishwasher drain?

A portable or countertop dishwasher drains with a special fitting called unicouple. The unicouple is attached to the spout of the kitchen valve. Two hoses connect the unicouple to the dishwasher. It helps in the dishwasher’s drainage.

2. How to drain a dishwasher’s draining hose without removing it?

Without removing the draining hose, you can clear it with vinegar and baking soda. Pour the hot water, vinegar, and baking soda mixture into the dishwasher’s basket. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes, and then run the drain cycle. It will clear your blocked draining hose.

3. Why is the bottom of your dishwasher full of water?

The bottom tray of the dishwasher could be full of water for the following reasons.

  • Clogging in the water filter
  • Clogging of garbage disposal
  • Blockage in the drain hose and drain pump
  • Air gaps in the hoses.


  • 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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