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Dishwasher Draining Issues

Dishwasher Not Draining? Try These Troubleshooting Tips

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A dishwasher is one of many home appliances connected to your plumbing drain system, so there’s always a possibility of clogging and improper draining. If you see a lot of standing water at the bottom of the dishwasher in your Utah home, there are a few things you can try on your own before calling a professional to fix the problem.

What to do when Your Dishwasher Doesn’t Drain

Although you may think the problem is with the machine itself, the plumbing may be the culprit.  Here are a few things you can do when your dishwasher isn’t draining properly.

Garbage Disposal Repair in Ogden, Utah

Clear Your Garbage Disposal

Over 90% of dishwashers drain through the garbage disposal. If this is the case, it’s essential that you keep your disposal clear of harmful items and debris so that the water has enough room to flow freely. To clear food particles in a garbage disposal, run it thoroughly with plenty of hot water. If you need to clean the disposal manually, make sure there is no chance of it engaging, unplugging, or turning off the breaker is recommended. 

Clean the Air Gap

A dishwasher air gap plays an important role in keeping the dishwasher operating properly. It’s a small metal or plastic device that is mounted on the countertop or sink and connected to two hose components. It prevents dirty water from draining back into your dishwasher and contaminating your clean dishes. If you believe the air gap is blocked, remove the cap and locate the tube that goes into the disposal. Remove any debris from the tube before putting it back to place.

Clean the High Loop

Another method for draining is the high loop method. As the name implies, the drain line of the dishwasher is looped to the highest possible spot under the sink’s counter rim before it runs back down to connect to the drain system. Like the air gap method, the high loop method prevents drain water from backing into the bottom of your dishwasher. Drained water from the dishwasher has to travel upward before gravity sends it down to the p-trap of the kitchen sink.

Faulty Appliande?

After checking if the plumbing is working properly, it’s time to look at the dishwashing machine itself.

Load the Dishwasher Properly

Make sure to scrape off large food scraps or anything solid to prevent a clogged pump. Keep in mind, however, dishwasher manufacturers with more efficient models say there is no need to do a complete rinse.

Clean Dishwasher Filter

Clean the Filter

A dishwasher filter is responsible for trapping leftover dirt and food particles. To keep your dishwasher filter from being overloaded, we recommend a thorough cleaning at least once a month. 

Note: To keep your dishwasher in good working condition and prevent clogged floats, stay away from liquid detergent. Instead, use pods, pouches, or tablets.

Additional Dishwasher Tips

Practice Proper Loading Techniques: Proper dishwasher loading techniques are both an art form and a science. In fact, loading your dishes requires a well-thought out plan. Although it’s best to read the owner’s manual for specific instructions, the following steps on how to load your dishwasher will ensure that your dishwasher cleans the dishes properly.

A dishwasher filter’s job isn’t just to clean your dishes. It should also limit particles of food from recirculating onto your clean dishes and through the pump. However, the dishwasher isn’t a garbage disposal, so it’s essential to keep up the habit of scraping off large food particles or anything substantial and anything solid.

Although this may seem counterintuitive, there is no need to pre-rinse your dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. If you do, the built-in soil sensor may misread the amount of dissolved debris in the water as well as the detergent having nothing to break down. If the detergent doesn’t break down food it will break down seals and other dishwasher components. So it is important not to use too much detergent and have proper soil.

Place pots, plates, and other heavy-duty dishes on the bottom rack where heat and water pressure are most intense. Fill the top rack with cups, glasses, small bowls, containers, dishwasher-safe Tupperware, and larger utensils. Load all cutlery into the silverware rack. Alternate placing handles up and down so that all surfaces are sufficiently cleaned. Finally, bypass putting knives, wood, brass, cast iron pans, china, and crystal in the dishwasher.

Use the Right Kind of Dish Detergent

We recommend using high-quality dishwasher detergent. Our personal favorites include Finish or Cascade pods, pouches, or tablets. These are designed to break down food particles and help the dishwasher perform efficiently. Make sure to stay away from liquid detergent, as it can stick to the gears and parts inside the dishwasher, causing them to malfunction.

Make Sure Your Dishwasher is Level

If your dishwasher isn’t level, it could leak and lead to costly and time-consuming repairs. To check if your dishwasher is leveled correctly, place an air-bubble level along the edge of the door. If the dishwasher isn’t balanced, adjust the feet to raise or lower either side.

The Takeaway

Deep cleaning and deodorizing your dishwasher will keep it performing at its best and ensure your dishes and utensils stay clean and sanitary. If these steps seem daunting or out of your expertise, we’re happy to help.

Contact iFiX Today for Your Dishwasher Repair

Let us know if these tips helped and if you run a dishwasher empty. Inspections, regular maintenance, and education of overall operations will keep your dishwasher and its filter running smoothly. Since the dishwasher is a complex machine, we recommend contacting a professional for repairs. Call our locally-owned and operated dishwasher appliance repair service at 801.731.4349 for all your dishwasher needs.



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