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How To Fix Standing Water In Dishwasher

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When you notice water beginning to pool and stand in the bottom of your dishwasher or overflow from the dishwasher drain, then it may be time to call in professional help. There can be a variety of reasons why the water in your dishwasher drain won't flow through immediately and completely. 

Most of the time, you can fix the problem of standing water yourself. If this is the case with your dishwasher drains, then try some of our foolproof ways to clear the drain hose without spending money on professional assistance.

Easy Ways to Fix Standing Water in Dishwasher 

  1. Pull the plug. It goes without saying that you should always cut the power before you start working on any electronic device. A dishwasher is no different. Unplug the machine or switch off the circuit breaker in the main electric panel to avoid any risks of injury or electric shock.
  2. Scoop out excess water from your dishwasher. To clear the drain line, it is first important to remove the water puddling in your dishwasher. You can line the floors with old towels, newspapers, or even old clothes while you scoop the water out with a large bowl. 
  3. Inspect the dishwasher filter and drain basket. This is one of the most common reasons for standing water in your dishwasher drain hose. The bottom of the dishwasher and the drain line can get choked with food debris, particles, etc., that keeps the dishwasher from draining correctly. The dishwasher filters can get clogged if the food garbage disposal is not handled properly. Check and clean the dishwasher drain basket, pulling out any debris with a wire hanger, and make sure no garbage or food debris is blocking the bottom of the dishwasher. Read more about how to clean your dishwasher filter properly.
  4. Clear out the dishwasher pump. The two most important features of a dishwasher are the top and bottom pumps that consist of two impellers. The top one sprays water into the dishwasher while the other sucks it out and drains it completely. Sometimes, food particles, garbage, tissue, or even broken glass, etc., can get lodged in the pumps, preventing these impellers from functioning properly. This can also cause standing water so be sure to remove any such particles from the way.
  5. Clean the dishwasher sprayers. The dishwasher sprayer arms are fixed at the bottom of your dishwasher and can easily be removed for cleaning. Make sure that the holes on it are not blocked by food waste and if so, you can clear it out with a wire hanger. Gently wash the sprayer arms with warm water while picking out any gunk or garbage in the way.
  6. Inspect the dishwasher filter and clean it. This can be a bit tricky, depending on the brand and build of your dishwasher. This is why it is imperative that you check your owner's manual to see where exactly the dishwasher filters are located. In most dishwashers, these can be found in the bottom or back of the appliance. You can easily loosen the screws and remove the filter screen. Gently clean it with water and wipe any particles or gunk around it with a damp cloth or sponge.
  7. Clear the clog from the supply line. If there is still standing water in your dishwasher after clearing the screen and the drain hose, then there is a chance the problem is in your supply line. Once you locate the supply line under your sink, you can place a large bowl or bucket under the line to catch dripping water and detach the plumbing line from the main drain. This will push the water to drain straight into the bucket, clearing out any clogs. You can also use a wire hanger or snake to dislodge garbage and waste from the line. Reattach the line and run your dishwasher on an empty cycle to clear through.
  8. Clear the drain line. You can find the drain line for your dishwasher at the back, right under the filter. All you need to do is mix half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of warm water to make a thick paste. Now pour the baking soda mixture down the drain through the filter and follow this step by pouring half a cup of vinegar. Let this sit for 15 to 20 minutes in the drain line. Now simply pour hot water through the drain line and dishwasher filter to clean away the remnants of baking soda.
  9. Fix and straighten the dishwasher drain hose. The drain hose can be found under the sink and is connected with clips and screws. If your dishwasher is old, then there is a chance that your drain hose may form kinks and this can cause standing water in the bottom of the dishwasher. Gently straighten out the dishwasher drain hose to clear out kinks and blockages.
  10. Switch on the garbage disposal. Detaching the drain hose from the garbage disposal can also clear out blockages as there is an air gap in the connecting hose that can keep the water from draining completely. After you clear out the clogs, run the garbage disposal to clear the way. Always be careful when you are dealing with the garbage disposal system as there is a serious risk of injury if you accidentally place your hand inside.
  11. Run your dishwasher on an empty cycle. A complete dishwashing cycle can ensure that your appliance is running smoothly and draining water at the bottom. Once this is done, open the dishwasher door and peek around to check if there are still any water puddles. If you still notice standing water in the bottom of your dishwasher, then you may need to call in professional help. To fix standing water in the bottom of your dishwasher and ensure that it is draining properly, you may also need to file a claim with your warranty provider. 
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Useful Tips to Prevent Standing Water in Your Dishwasher

You can easily prevent standing water in the bottom of the dishwasher  in the future by considering these easy recommendations:

  • Always pick the right dishwasher detergent. It doesn't matter if you use powder, liquid, or dishwasher pods, as long as you are using one that does not clog the drain. The best way to figure out which type is best for your dishwasher is by reading the manufacturer's handy manual. You can also read more about how to use a dishwasher and the right detergents for it. You can also find out more about our best homemade dishwasher detergent recipes that are safe to use!
  • Load the dishwasher correctly. Jamming your dirty pots, pans, plates, and delicate glasses to keep from running another cycle will only make things worse. This is because it makes it harder for the eater to drain completely as there are several blockages in the way. Always consult the manufacturer's manual for tips on the correct way of loading the dishwasher. 
  • Note any irregular sounds. If your dishwasher makes clicking, humming, or other strange sounds during the wash cycle then it may be the drain pump and the motor in need of a replacement. Get these sorted as soon as you can as they are crucial to preventing standing water in the dishwasher.
  • Ensure proper maintenance. Always consult the manual before you begin using your appliance so you know exactly what detergents and techniques to avoid. Proper and regular maintenance can also ensure a long life for your dishwasher. 

When Should You Hire Professional Help to Prevent Standing Water

Sometimes, when you don't know how to unclog a dishwasher or detach parts, or if you lack the tools to do so, then we recommend calling in professional help. You can take advantage of your home warranty and cover all dishwasher maintenance and repairs. 

If you have tried and tested all the aforementioned methods and there is still standing water at the bottom of your dishwasher, then the problem may lie elsewhere and expert help can save you a lot of trouble. 

The service technician will assess the situation and determine whether your dishwasher needs a repair or a replacement. If it is the latter, you will have to schedule an appointment to have the old dishwasher removed and the new appliance installed. Keep in mind that home warrant limitations may apply depending on your plan so always ask for the terms and conditions before you go in for a dishwasher replacement.

Dino Paccino

Dino Paccino

Dino is a lifelong writer and home improvement specialist. He enjoys bringing cutting-edge information on home renovation and remodeling to Kitchen Infinity.

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