Dishwasher Not Draining? Here’s What To Do!

Every home relies heavily on at least three appliances. If you have a large household, you probably couldn’t imagine living without a dishwasher. Just like any other kitchen appliance, it’s easy to take your dishwasher for granted even though, in the back of your head, you plan to give it a manual clean. But what happens if you keep postponing it?

Unfortunately, that’s when we overestimate these hard-working machines because we have high hopes and expectations. But no one is judging—many of us do that because we live busy lives and don’t necessarily have time for every little household task and chore! Now your dishwasher’s not draining. What should you do?

Your local Vancouver plumber receives many service requests that concern kitchen and utility room appliances that have trouble draining. There are various reasons for that. The expert plumbing technicians at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Vancouver will analyze each step with you in detail, and provide you with troubleshooting and maintenance tips needed to eliminate this issue once and for all. Here is what you need to do.

If Your Vancouver Dishwasher Won’t Drain…

Check Your Drain Hose

It’s an easy thing to miss for property owners in Vancouver. Dishwashers use water to clean and need a drain pipe to dispose of that dirty water. Just like your drain lines in your plumbing, they collect dirt and debris over time. When looking down your sink’s drain opening, you might see sludge buildup nearby due to soap residue, toothpaste and minerals from your water supply. One possible reason your dishwasher’s not draining properly is because the dishwasher drain hose or tubing is clogged with gunk that formed from food particles.

Some homeowners prefer pouring a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda at the bottom of the dishwasher, followed by hot water and a rinse cycle. While that’s an option, your Vancouver plumber does not usually recommend it because it involves too much guesswork, and you won’t find out how serious the drain hose clog might be. It could result in more standing water if the mixture is unable to break down the clog.

Instead, unplug the appliance and locate the drain hose. Next, check if the hose is kinked. If not, disconnect it from the pump and blow through it. Another way to dislodge a clog is to straighten out a coat hanger and carefully feed it down the drain hose. Be careful not to pierce holes into the drain hose. If your dishwasher won’t drain after this attempt, move on to the next step.

Check Your Filter

Most appliances have some sort of filter system that either needs to be replaced or cleaned on a regular basis. In this case, your dishwasher filter needs maintenance at least once a month. Depending on your model, the filter typically sits at the base of the spray arms. It’s important to note that thanks to new technology, there are now two types of filters. Besides the manual type, many units have a self-cleaning filter with a built-in grinder that pulverizes hard food bits. It may sound luxurious, but that doesn’t mean it’s quiet. Though a hard food disposer unit will minimize your maintenance needs and risks for clogs.

On the other hand, manual, removable filters are practically mesh plugs that need monthly cleaning because they collect food residue during each wash cycle. If not, water flow will be restricted and your plates and bowls won’t get cleaned properly. If your dishwasher won’t drain, it means the manual filter is clogged. Some filters are tricky to remove and may require you to remove a couple of screws. When you get to the dirty filter, clean it with soap and a little bit of vinegar.

Clear Your Garbage Disposal

Unfortunately, clogs are bound to happen in the kitchen if too many appliances share the same drain line. It gets overwhelming and buildups will happen faster than usual, especially if you use a garbage disposal and your dishwasher’s wastewater drains from it. Cleaning your garbage disposal regularly will help minimize the risks of clogs. That said, we also recommend ensuring your sink is not partially blocked because a clogged garbage disposal can easily create a nasty backup in the entire kitchen. Even if you don’t use your garbage disposal regularly, warning signs like rotten food indicate a clog that could compromise your kitchen’s drain line.

Pro Tip: Always remember to turn off the power before you start cleaning your garbage disposal. Unplug it and to be safe, turn off the switch on the control panel.

Clean Your Air Gap

An air gap is typically installed next to your faucet and is designed to prevent backflow. For example, it stops dirty sink water from flowing into your dishwasher and also ensures that dirty dishwasher water won’t re-enter the unit. Some local building codes may require you to install air gaps to prevent backflow and siphoning. However, there are also other options, such as having a certified Vancouver plumber install an efficient high loop or standpipe for effective drainage. Is your dishwasher not draining due to a clog in the air gap? You can check by taking off the cap and removing any debris.

Unclog Drain or Pump

Before you check for clogs in the drain or pump, please remember to unplug the unit for safety reasons. To locate either, please refer to the user’s manual, as it can vary from model to model. Modern models usually have two functioning pumps—one for washing and one for draining. Many models have easy access to the drain pump where you’re only required to remove the filter. However, for the more complicated designs, you will need to check behind the unit’s lower access panel. If you have that type of dishwasher, Vancouver plumbers at Mr. Rooter can give you a helping hand, so that you won’t have to deal with difficult repairs on your own that could result in injuries.

However, if your pump is located underneath the sprayer arm, remove the filter and then use a spoon to carefully detach and take out the pump cover. Check if anything is obstructing the pump impeller and take it out.

Pro Tip: Since you’ll never know what kind of obstruction might be causing the clog, always wear safety gloves as there might be broken glass and other sharp objects.

Inspect Spray Arms

Your dishwasher’s spray arms are the bottom propellers with holes that spin and spray. Another reason for the dishwasher not draining and water pooling around the base are clogged spray arms. Although Vancouver has fairly soft water, you might not frequently experience hard minerals clogging your supply lines, but it could still potentially happen. Other culprits to block those holes might include food particles. Check in your user’s manual how to correctly disconnect your spray arms and use a toothpick or a sewing needle to dislodge any clogs inside those holes.

Tired of Dishwasher Not Draining? Here’s How To Better Maintain Your Vancouver Dishwasher

Regular Cleaning

Routine cleaning has proven to serve wonders to all your home appliances, but you may not realize that some need it more than others. Unfortunately, the problem with dishwashers not draining always goes back to poor maintenance and not following the instructions in the user’s manual. We understand that it’s tedious to sit through those pages, but taking your time to read the essentials of do’s and don'ts will go a long way. If you know in advance that you will likely fall behind with maintenance work, we highly recommend not overwhelming your dishwasher with excess food scraps. Educate people in your household about disposing of leftover food in the compost or how to effectively grind them using the garbage disposal. Rinse your plates and bowls in the sink to wash off as much sauce as you can before placing them in the dishwasher baskets.

Dishwasher detergent usually comes in the form of tablets, which are also known as synthetic agents that do not lather or create any residue. If you ever run out of those, but need to urgently run a cycle, simply run it without using anything. Chances are the hot water will clean off grease and stains. Alternatively, if you have dirty, sticky kitchenware that has been left overnight, chances are the stains won’t wash off as easily. In that case, apply a spoonful of baking soda in the tablet compartment and only use one drop of dishwashing soap. That should appropriately remove stubborn stains.

However, using an excess amount of dishwashing soap or detergent as an alternative could lead to your dishwasher not draining because of the excess sud buildup that could overflow and even clog your drain hose. If someone in your household ever had this idea, be sure to run a rinse cycle to clear all the soapy water. If you already keep your filter clean and regularly check your drain hose for clogs, why not take out the spray arms and inspect the holes?

Drain Cleaning

Of course, you are invited to ask your Vancouver plumber to check upon your appliances’ drain hoses during clogged drain services. Since drain cleaning is our specialty, clearing small clogs is a walk in the park for us! Often, replacing drain hoses will optimize water flow, but our team of experts will share with you the best option they have in mind.

Our local Vancouver plumbers always go the extra mile to ensure the water you consume is safe. When we clean the drains in your kitchen, we do pay attention to how the drain lines are set up. We have seen dishwashers not draining properly due to a faulty setup, and some homeowners have a badly designed standpipe or high loop system. For that reason, we may suggest installing a reliable air gap to safely prevent dirty water from entering your dishwasher.

Does Mr. Rooter Provide Vancouver Dishwasher Repair Services?

We certainly do provide professional repairs! Clearing drain blockages is our job. After all, these units connect to your water supply lines and all that wastewater has to properly drain and gather in the sewer lateral. If your dishwasher won’t drain, at least 80 percent of the culprit leads to a clog. To save you the time investigating the cause of the problem or looking for the clog, your Vancouver dishwasher service technician can help you check each part of the unit fast and efficiently without wasting any of your time.

Aside from repairs and parts replacement, we’ll check if there are ways for optimization, so you won’t ever have to worry about your dishwasher not draining or future repairs.

Is Your Dishwasher Not Draining? Call Mr. Rooter For Dishwasher Repair Near Me!

When your dishwasher won’t drain, there is only so much DIY you can do. Not only is it time-consuming, but during any repair work, you could also risk injuring yourself. Our local Vancouver plumbers are fully insured and able to diagnose any underlying problems within minutes.

Mr. Rooter Plumbing offers dependable Vancouver dishwasher repair services so you will get the peace of mind knowing whether or not your favourite piece of kitchen appliance can be saved or needs to be replaced. If you already trust us as your expert plumber, we’ll guarantee that you can also trust us as your skilled kitchen appliance repair specialists. Wherever water needs to flow and drain, count on us to get the job done!

Call our friendly customer service team at (604) 433-5555 to schedule a convenient appointment, and you won’t have to panic about your dishwasher not draining. We also handle more drastic problems like burst pipes and sewer clogs and cleaning.