Water In Bottom Of Dishwasher – What’s Going On & How To Fix It
Does this sound familiar? You’ve just finished a delicious dinner with your family and it’s time to load the dishwasher, you open the door, and to your surprise, you find standing water in the bottom of the appliance. What’s going on? Is this normal? How do you fix this!?
Well, after years of product training courses and troubleshooting for clients, I’ve picked up a few tips that should hopefully help you out!
In this post, I’ll explore the reasons behind this common problem and discuss how to fix water sitting in the bottom of a dishwasher.
Let’s dive in!
Water In the Bottom of Your Dishwasher
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that it’s normal for a small amount of water to remain in the bottom of your dishwasher after a wash cycle. Usually around 1/2 inch or less. This water helps keep the seals moist and prevents them from drying out, which could lead to leaks.
However, if there’s a significant amount of water pooling at the bottom, it’s a sign that something isn’t quite right. This issue could be caused by a number of factors, including clogged filters, a blocked drain, or a malfunctioning pump.
Clogged Filters: The Silent Culprit
One of the most common reasons for water standing in the bottom of a dishwasher is a clogged filter. Just like any other appliance, dishwashers need regular maintenance to perform at their best. Over time, food particles and debris can accumulate in the filter, preventing water from draining properly.
Imagine a friend who never cleans their kitchen sink. After a while, the drain becomes clogged and water starts pooling. The same principle applies to your dishwasher. To prevent this issue, it’s essential to clean the filter regularly to clear blockages.
To do this, simply remove the filter from the dishwasher and rinse it under running water. If it’s particularly dirty, use a soft brush to scrub away any stubborn debris. Once the filter is clean, reinstall it and run a test cycle to see if the water has drained.
Blocked Drains: The Hidden Roadblock
If you’ve cleaned the filter and still find water in the bottom of your dishwasher, the problem may lie in the dishwasher drain itself. A blocked drain can be caused by a variety of factors, such as a buildup of food debris, a kink in the drain hose, or even a small object lodged in the pipe.
To check for a blocked drain, first, disconnect the dishwasher from the power source. Next, locate the drain hose (usually found at the back of the dishwasher) and disconnect it from the appliance. Inspect the hose for any visible kinks or obstructions. If you find any, straighten the hose or remove the object causing the blockage. You can flush the drain hose through by using some hot water, vinegar and baking soda.
If the hose appears to be clear, the problem could be further down the line. In this case, use a plumber’s snake or a long flexible brush to clean out the drain pipe. Once you’ve cleared any obstructions, reconnect the hose and run a test cycle to see if the water has drained.
Malfunctioning Pump: The Troublesome Ticker
If you’ve ruled out a clogged filter and a blocked drain, the issue could be a malfunctioning drain pump. The pump is responsible for moving water out of the dishwasher and into the drain during the cycle. If it’s not working properly, water will remain in the bottom of the appliance.
Fixing a faulty pump is a bit more complex than the previous solutions and may require the help of a professional. If you’re comfortable with DIY repairs, start by disconnecting the dishwasher from the power source and removing the lower access panel. Locate the pump (usually found near the front of the dishwasher) and inspect it for any visible signs of damage or wear.
If you find any issues with the pump, you’ll need to replace it with a new one. To do this, carefully disconnect the pump from the dishwasher and remove it from the appliance. Purchase a replacement pump that’s compatible with your dishwasher model number and install it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the new pump is in place, reconnect the dishwasher to the power source, and run a test cycle to see if the water has drained.
If you’re not comfortable tackling this repair yourself, or if the issue persists after replacing the pump, it’s a good idea to call in a professional appliance repair technician to diagnose and fix the problem.
Garbage Disposal Connection: A Common Enemy
A frequently overlooked cause of water pooling in the bottom of a dishwasher is an issue with the garbage disposal. Many dishwashers are connected to the garbage disposal through the drain hose, which allows dirty water to drain away properly. Problems with the garbage disposal or its connection to the dishwasher can prevent water from draining and lead to standing water in your appliance.
If you’ve recently installed a new garbage disposal or had one installed professionally, there’s a chance that the dishwasher’s drain plug was not removed during the installation process. The drain plug is a small piece that blocks the connection between the garbage disposal and the dishwasher, preventing water from draining.
To fix this, disconnect the power and water supply to both appliances, locate the dishwasher’s drain hose connection on the garbage disposal, and disconnect the hose. Check the inlet for a plug, remove it if present, reconnect the drain hose, and restore power and water supply. Run a test cycle on your dishwasher to see if the water drains properly.
Another reason for water pooling in the bottom of your dishwasher could be a clogged garbage disposal. If the disposal is jammed or filled with food debris, it can prevent water from draining effectively.
To resolve this, disconnect the power to the garbage disposal, turn it off, and use a flashlight to inspect the interior. Remove any visible debris, then run cold water down the sink drain while turning the garbage disposal back on to flush out the remaining particles. After cleaning the garbage disposal, run a test cycle on your dishwasher to check if the water drains correctly.
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Water In the Bottom of the Dishwasher When Not In Use
Now, let’s address another puzzling scenario: water appearing in the bottom of your dishwasher when it’s not in use. This issue is usually caused by a leak in the dishwasher’s water supply line or a faulty water inlet valve.
Leaky Water Supply Line: The Dripping Dilemma
The water supply line connects your dishwasher to your home’s plumbing system, providing the appliance with the water it needs to clean your dishes. If there’s a leak in the supply line, water can slowly drip into the dishwasher even when it’s not running.
To fix this issue, first, locate the water supply line (typically found at the back of the dishwasher) and inspect it for any visible signs of damage or wear. If you find any issues, replace the supply line with a new one. This is a relatively simple DIY repair, but if you’re unsure about how to proceed, it’s best to call a professional plumber for assistance.
Faulty Water Inlet Valve: The Unwanted Flow
The water inlet valve controls the flow of water into your dishwasher. If it’s not functioning properly, it can allow water to seep into the appliance even when it’s turned off. To fix a faulty water inlet valve, you’ll need to replace it with a new one.
Begin by disconnecting the dishwasher from the power source and turning off the water supply. Locate the water inlet valve (usually found near the front of the dishwasher) and carefully disconnect it from the appliance.
Purchase a replacement valve that’s compatible with your dishwasher model and install it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the new valve is in place, reconnect the dishwasher to the power source and turn the water supply back on. Run a test cycle to see if the issue has been resolved.
If the problem persists, it’s a good idea to consult a professional appliance repair technician for further assistance.
Draining a Dishwasher with Standing Water: A Step-by-Step Guide
So, you’ve found yourself with a dishwasher full of standing water and need to drain it manually. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Follow this step-by-step guide on how to drain a dishwasher with standing water and get your appliance back on track.
Step 1: Disconnect the Power
Before you begin working on your dishwasher, it’s essential to disconnect the power source for safety reasons. Unplug the dishwasher from the wall outlet, or if it’s hardwired, switch off the circuit breaker controlling the appliance.
Step 2: Prepare for Water Removal
Gather some essential supplies, such as rubber gloves, towels or rags, a large container or bowl, and a sponge or small hand pump (like a turkey baster) to remove the standing water.
Step 3: Remove Standing Water
Put on your rubber gloves and open the dishwasher door. Remove the bottom rack and any utensil baskets. Place the large container or bowl inside the dishwasher, next to the standing water. Using the sponge or small hand pump, begin removing the water from the bottom of the dishwasher and transferring it to the container.
Once the container is full, carefully remove it from the dishwasher and dispose of the water in a sink or outside.
Repeat this process until you’ve removed as much water as possible. If there’s still a small amount of water remaining, use towels or rags to absorb it.
Step 4: Inspect and Clean the Filter
With the standing water removed, it’s a good opportunity to inspect and clean the dishwasher filter. Locate the filter (usually found at the bottom of the appliance) and remove it.
Rinse the filter under running water and, if necessary, use a soft brush to scrub away any stubborn debris. Once the filter is clean, reinstall it in the dishwasher.
Step 5: Check the Drain Hose
Inspect the drain hose for any visible kinks, obstructions, or damage. If you find any issues, straighten the hose or remove the object causing the blockage. Pour some hot water down it to help clear any debris. If the hose is damaged, replace it with a new one.
Step 6: Run a Test Cycle
With the filter clean and the drain hose inspected, reconnect the dishwasher to the power source (or switch the circuit breaker back on). Run a short or rinse-only cycle to see if the water drains properly. If the water still doesn’t drain, you may need to consult a professional appliance repair technician for further assistance.
By following these steps, you can effectively drain standing water from your dishwasher and help prevent potential damage to your appliance. Remember, regular maintenance and timely repairs can keep your dishwasher running efficiently and extend its lifespan.
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Preventative Measures: Keeping Your Dishwasher Draining Smoothly
Now that you know how to drain standing water from your dishwasher and tackle common issues that can lead to pooling, it’s time to discuss preventative measures. Regular maintenance and proactive steps can help keep your dishwasher running smoothly, reduce the likelihood of water accumulating in the bottom, and extend the life of your appliance.
Keep Your Dishwasher Clean
One of the easiest ways to prevent water from accumulating in your dishwasher is to keep it clean. This means regularly removing and rinsing the filter, as well as wiping down the interior surfaces of the dishwasher, including the door and the bottom of the tub. This will help prevent food debris and residue from building up and blocking the filter or drain.
Make sure to also clean the sprayer arms by wiping them down with warm water on a regular basis. Hard water and small food debris can block the holes in the arms. Preventing water from spraying out properly and giving your dishes a full clean.
Scrape Your Dishes
Before loading your dishes into the dishwasher, take a moment to scrape off any large food particles. This simple step can significantly reduce the amount of debris that accumulates in the filter and drain, helping to prevent clogs and pooling water.
Load the Dishwasher Properly
Loading your dishwasher correctly can also help prevent water from accumulating in the bottom. Ensure that dishes are placed securely and that they don’t block the spray arms or the drain. Avoid overcrowding the dishwasher, as this can also impede water flow and drainage.
Regularly Inspect Hoses and Seals
At least once a year, take the time to inspect the hoses and seals on your dishwasher. Check for any visible signs of damage or wear, such as cracks or kinks, and replace any parts that are no longer functioning properly. This simple maintenance task can help prevent leaks and keep your dishwasher draining effectively.
Use the Right Detergent
Check your owner’s manual and always use dishwasher detergent that’s specifically designed for your appliance. Avoid using regular dish soap, as this can create excessive suds and lead to drainage issues. Additionally, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate amount of detergent to use, as using too much or too little can also cause problems.
By incorporating these preventative measures into your regular routine, you can help keep your dishwasher draining effectively and avoid the inconvenience of a leaking dishwasher. Remember, a little effort goes a long way in maintaining the performance and longevity of your appliance.
When to Call a Professional: Knowing When It’s Time for Expert Help
While many common dishwasher drainage issues can be resolved with some basic troubleshooting and DIY repairs, there are times when it’s best to call in a professional appliance repair technician. Knowing when to seek expert help can save you time, frustration and potentially prevent further damage to your dishwasher. If you’re at all unsure or find yourself in any of these situations then it’s probably wise to call a professional.
Persistent Water Pooling
If you’ve tried all the DIY solutions mentioned in this article, such as cleaning the filter, checking the drain hose, and inspecting the pump, and you still find water accumulating in the bottom of your dishwasher, it’s time to call a professional. There may be a more complex issue at play, such as a damaged component or an internal blockage, that requires expert knowledge and tools to diagnose and fix.
If you suspect that the problem with your dishwasher is related to its electrical components, it’s best to call a professional. Electrical repairs can be dangerous if not handled properly, and a trained technician will have the necessary skills and equipment to safely address the issue.
Leaks or Water Damage
If you notice water leaking from your dishwasher or signs of water damage around the appliance, it’s important to call a professional as soon as possible. Leaks can lead to significant damage to your home, and a technician can quickly identify and fix the source of the problem to prevent further harm.
If you’ve successfully fixed a drainage issue in your dishwasher before but find that the problem keeps coming back, it may be time to consult a professional. Recurring issues can be a sign of a larger problem, and a technician can help identify the root cause and recommend a long-term solution.
Limited Experience or Comfort with DIY Repairs
If you’re not comfortable performing DIY repairs or don’t have experience working with appliances, it’s best to call a professional from the start. Attempting to fix a problem without the proper knowledge or tools can result in further damage to your dishwasher or even pose safety risks.
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There you have it! Problem solved, hopefully.
Water in the bottom of your dishwasher can be a frustrating issue, but it’s often easily fixed with some basic troubleshooting. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the filter and inspecting the drain hose, can help prevent many common problems. However, if you’re faced with a malfunctioning pump, a leaky water supply line, or a faulty water inlet valve, it’s best to consult a professional for repairs.
So, the next time you find water standing in the bottom of your dishwasher, don’t panic. With a little detective work and some basic DIY skills, you can get your appliance back in tip-top shape and ready to tackle your next load of dirty dishes.
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.