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Dishwasher Won't Drain? All the Easy Fixes You Need to Know

Dishwasher Won't Drain? All the Easy Fixes You Need to Know


If your dishwasher finishes a cycle but you find that the tub is still filled with water, there are a few possible reasons. First, check your sink drain to ensure there isn’t any blockage from debris or food particles. If the kitchen sink drain is clear, try canceling your dishwasher cycle. If the tub still doesn’t drain, here are a few possible solutions from our friends at Sears PartsDirect.


Learn more about troubleshooting a dishwasher that won't drain from Sears PartsDirect.

Potential Fixes


Replace the Drain Pump

First, check the drain hose, sink drain and sump to ensure nothing is blocked. If the path is clear yet your drain pump is continually failing to pump out water, the pump has failed. If you notice that your drain pump has visible signs of damage including cracks or dents, or if it has failed, it needs to be replaced.


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Learn more about replacing a dishwasher drain pump from Sears PartsDirect.


Drain pump

Clear path

Clear the Drain Path

One of the most common reasons your dishwasher might not drain properly is due to a block or clog in the drain path. This path includes the sump, pump, drain hose and sink drain, and any one of them could have trapped food particles or a buildup of grease that prevents water from draining after a cycle. Clear the drain path to allow water to flow freely out of the tub, and replace any parts that show visible signs of damage.


Clear the Drain Line

Also known as the drain hose, the drain line carries water out of the dishwasher tub at the end of a cycle. If there is a clog in the drain line, water won't be able to flow out of the tub. It should be cleared of any debris, or replaced if there are signs of damage.


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Learn more about replacing a dishwasher drain line from Sears PartsDirect.


Drain line

Electronic control board

Replace the Electronic Control Board

The electronic control board is responsible for controlling all of the dishwasher’s many moving parts. If the electronic control board is receiving electricity yet fails to communicate with the dishwasher’s other parts, it may be damaged or defective. This might cause certain components to fail to drain water from the dishwasher tub. In this case, it needs to be replaced.


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Learn more about replacing a dishwasher electronic control board from Sears PartsDirect.


Replace the Timer

The dishwasher timer connects to many other components within the dishwasher including the wash pump, drain pump, water inlet valve and heating element. The timer dictates when each component should operate throughout a cleaning cycle. During a cycle, the timer will advance the knob on the control panel forward to determine when the cycle should end. If the timer is not moving the control knob or fails to operate other dishwasher components, this may prevent components from receiving the signal that it's time for the water to drain. In this case, it should be replaced.


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Learn more about replacing a dishwasher timer from Sears PartsDirect.



Check valve

Replace the Check Valve

After the standard draining process is complete during a dishwasher’s cycle, most models feature a check valve that prevent additional water from backing up into the sump. If water does back up into the sump after the end of the draining process, there may be something blocking the check valve. If the check valve is clear of debris, it may need to be replaced.

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Examine the Chopper Blade Area

If any loose food particles left on your dishes or silverware fall into the chopper blade section of your dishwasher, it can create a clog that prevents water from draining at the end of the cycle. To access the chopper blade area, remove the lower spray arm and upper part of the sump, and make sure the area is clear of anything that might be stuck. If the chopper blade has become damaged due to excessive grinding or trapped debris, it should be replaced.

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Chopper blade area

Upper pump assembly

Examine the Upper Pump Assembly

Anything from a clog or trapped debris to a deteriorated seal or a bad check valve could cause your upper pump assembly to improperly operate or fail to drain water from the tub. To examine the pump components, remove the lower spray arm and the top of the sump area in your dishwasher tub.


Replace the Pump Assembly

Loose food particles, trapped debris or broken glass can get stuck in the circulation pump and cause damage over time. If any of the pump’s components including the impeller or seal wear out, the spray arms will not deliver adequate water pressure to the dishes inside during a cycle. Replace the pump assembly if this is the case, including all different parts and seals to ensure proper function.



Pump assembly