How To Fix Water In The Bottom Of A Dishwasher
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 dishwasher. 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!
In a hurry? Here are the things you need to check:
- Clogged Filters: Clean the filter regularly to prevent water buildup.
- Blocked Drains: Check and clear the drain hose for obstructions.
- Malfunctioning Pump: Replace the damaged pump or consult a professional.
- Waste Disposal Connection: Ensure the dishwasher’s drain plug is removed if connected.
- Leaky Water Supply Line: Inspect and replace leaky supply lines.
- Faulty Water Inlet Valve: Replace the malfunctioning valve or seek professional assistance.
Is It normal to have water standing in the bottom of a 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 cups or less (250-500ml).
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.
How To Fix Water In the Bottom of A Dishwasher
If there’s more water than the normal amount you’d expect to see, this is a sign of a bigger problem.
Having water in the bottom of a dishwasher could be caused by a number of factors, including clogged filters, a blocked drain, or a malfunctioning pump.
Below, I’ve listed the main culprits and how to fix the problem. 👍
1. Clogged Filters
A clogged filter is one of the most common reasons for water standing in the bottom of a dishwasher. 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.
How To Fix It
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.
2. Blocked Drains
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.
How To Fix It
First, switch your dishwasher off, then locate the drain hose (usually found at the back of the dishwasher) and 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 clear, the problem could be further down the line. In this case, use a plumber’s rod (snake) or a long flexible brush to clean out the drain pipe. Once you’ve cleared any obstructions, reconnect everything and give it a test.
3. Malfunctioning 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.
How To Fix It
Fixing a faulty pump is a bit more complex than the previous solutions and may require the help of a professional.
Locate the pump (usually under an access panel 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. Make sure you get a replacement pump that’s compatible with your dishwasher model.
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.
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4. Waste (Garbage) Disposal Connection
A frequently overlooked cause of water pooling in the bottom of a dishwasher is an issue with the waste disposal (garbage disposal). Many dishwashers are connected to the waste disposal through the drain hose, which allows dirty water to drain away properly.
If you’ve recently installed a new waste disposal, 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.
How To Fix It
Switch everything off, locate the dishwasher’s drain hose connection on the garbage disposal, and disconnect the hose. Check the inlet for a plug and remove it if there’s one there.
5. Leaky Water Supply Line
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.
How To Fix It
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, it’s always best to call a professional plumber for assistance.
Top Tip: If you need to order some spare parts (in the UK) I always use espares.co.uk
6. Faulty Water Inlet Valve
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.
How To Fix It
To fix a faulty water inlet valve, you’ll need to replace it with a new one. This one might require some professional help.
Switch everything off, locate the water inlet valve (usually found near the front of the dishwasher) and carefully disconnect it from the appliance.
Replace the valve with a compatible model and install it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Put everything back together and run a test cycle to see if the issue has been resolved.
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Preventative Measures: Keeping Your Dishwasher Draining Smoothly
Now that you know how to identify and fix common issues that can lead to water standing in the bottom of your dishwasher, 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.
1. 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.
2. Remember To 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.
3. 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.
4. Use the Right Detergent
Check your appliance 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.
When to Call a Professional
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, and 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 various DIY solutions and water still accumulates at the bottom of your dishwasher, it’s time to call a professional for potential internal issues.
- Electrical Issues: If you suspect the problem is with the electrical components of your dishwasher, it’s best to hire a trained technician as electrical repairs can be hazardous.
- Leaks or Water Damage: If you notice water leaking or signs of water damage around your dishwasher, it may be best to call a technician as leaks can cause substantial home damage.
- Recurring Problems: If a previously addressed drainage issue in your dishwasher reappears, it’s probably a good idea to consult a professional to diagnose the larger underlying problem.
- Limited Experience or Comfort with DIY Repairs: If you’re not confident in performing DIY repairs or lack appliance experience, I’d always recommend calling a professional to avoid further damage or safety risks.
There you have it! Problem solved, hopefully. 🤞
If 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.
However, if you’re faced with a malfunctioning pump, a leaky water supply line, or a faulty water inlet valve, it’s probably best to consult a professional for repairs.
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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.