If there’s standing water inside after you wash the dishes, you may have dishwasher drainage issues. A dishwasher not draining should be considered a plumbing emergency. This is one of the most common kitchen plumbing problems, and may not even involve the dishwasher itself. Here are some troubleshooting tips to help you figure out what’s causing the issue.

Run Your Garbage Disposal

Food debris in your garbage disposal can block the drain hose that connects to the garbage disposal drain. The drainpipe below the disposal can be affected by food particles as well. Running the disposal can sometimes clear a passage for water to drain from your dishwasher.

Clean the Sink’s Air Gap

The air gap of your kitchen sink helps prevent air vacuums that can cause drain water to back up into the dishwasher. Installed on top near the faucet, this slotted cylinder is usually made of stainless steel and is connected to the dishwasher’s drain hose. If the air gap becomes clogged, water may have nowhere else to go.

Fortunately, an air gap can be easily cleaned. Just twist its cap counterclockwise to remove it. Clean the inside with water and a stiff brush, and then run the dishwasher cycle. This is a good step to take if you see water coming from the air gap. Cleaning it helps improve drainage so, if it is the reason for water in your dishwasher, this should resolve the problem.

Check the Drain Hose

The drain hose can be the source of various problems. If the hose is kinked, it can block the normal flow of water, but this can be fixed by straightening the hose out; oftentimes this can be done manually without any tools. The hose seal may become loose as well, which can be corrected by tightening the seal valve. If the hose becomes clogged, you can try blowing through it or using a wire coat hanger to reach or clear any debris. However, your best option is to call a local plumber to inspect, repair, or replace the drain hose.

Clean Out the Filter, Drain Trap, and Drain Basket

A dishwasher filter clogged with food and other debris can prevent drainage. Locate the filter inside the drain trap on the bottom (in the middle or back) and clean the filter. In addition to cleaning a filter clog, check the drain basket inside the appliance. Resembling an upside-down basket, it can be unsnapped or unscrewed to remove the cover; you can then clean up any food buildup by hand or with a spoon. Excess detergent can cause a problem as well. Pre-rinsing dishes can help prevent clogs, so this is a good step to take if you notice your dishwasher is clogged.

Cleaning procedures may vary from one appliance model to another, so check for cleaning instructions in the owner’s manual.

Run the Dishwasher

Run a dishwashing cycle and listen for any unusual noises. If you hear humming, clicking, or any other unusual sounds, there may be a drain pump or motor problem. In this case, drainage issues will likely only be resolved by replacing faulty components.

Call a Plumber

Cardinal Plumbing is a local plumber serving customers in Northern Virginia during the coronavirus pandemic. We can assist with dishwasher drainage and other kitchen plumbing problems, while providing no contact service and following social distancing and sanitizer usage guidelines. Customers in and around Alexandria, Sterling, and Gainesville depend on us for high-quality plumbing services. To have a professional plumber check on the cause of your dishwasher drainage problems, call 703-686-5948 for same-day service—today!