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What to Do If Your Dishwasher Stops Draining

If you’ve opened your dishwasher door prepared to unload a fresh round of sparkling clean dishes, only to find the bottom of the unit is filled with dirty water, you are probably wondering what to do next. Can you diagnose and fix this problem yourself or do you require assistance from a professional plumber? Thankfully, most common dishwasher problems are easy to troubleshoot yourself.

If you’re experiencing dishwasher draining issues, check out the steps below to tackle the problem on your own.

  1. Run the wash cycle a second time. Sometimes the dishwasher can shut off during the wash cycle and simply running it again will solve the problem.
  2. Turn on your garbage disposal. Because your dishwasher drain hose empties into the drain of the garbage disposal, a clog in the unit or the drainpipe beneath the unit can prevent the dishwasher from draining properly. 
  3. Check the sink’s air gap. When you don’t have a garbage disposal, a small, slotted cylinder called an air gap is installed to serve as a vent to prevent air locks from forming. To see if the air gap is clogged with debris, twist it counterclockwise to remove it and clean any clogs with water and a stiff brush, then replace the air gap and run the wash cycle a second time.
  4. Remove the standing water. Place towels around the base of the unit and slide out the bottom dish tray, then use a cup to scoop out the water and the towels to sop up any remaining water you can’t remove with a cup.
  5. Clean out the drain basket. The drain basket is located on the bottom of the dishwasher’s interior and typically looks like an upside basket. Remove the cover either by snapping it off or removing any screws holding it in place, check for buildup of food in the drain basket, remove the debris with a spoon or your hand, replace the cover, then run the cycle again.

If your dishwasher still does not drain after you followed the steps above, contact Columbia Drain right away. Our locally owned and operated Portland drain servicing company offers quality work, competitive prices, and a money-back guarantee if you are unhappy with your service for any reason. 

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