How To Fix a KitchenAid Dishwasher That Isn’t Draining

December 11, 2023
Dishwasher Repair

Have you opened up your KitchenAid dishwasher to find water still pooling at the bottom? Perhaps this issue has cropped up suddenly, or maybe it’s an ongoing problem. Regardless, it’s certainly annoying! Luckily, there are a few simple fixes that will get your dishwasher draining properly again in no time. Read on to find out what to do.

This article applies to all major models of KitchenAid dishwashers, including:






















Blocked filter

One of the most common causes of a KitchenAid dishwasher that won’t drain is a blocked filter. The filter can easily get blocked with food particles and other dirt and debris. If it’s not cleaned regularly, this can create a clog. 

When the filter is clogged, water won’t be able to properly drain out of the dishwasher. This results in the water pooling at the bottom of the machine. Thankfully, this is a super easy fix!

To clean the filter:

  • Locate the filter. You may need to remove the bottom rack of your dishwasher; in some cases, you may also have to unscrew the bottom spray arm to access it. 
  • Remove the filter by unscrewing it counterclockwise. 
  • Check the filter housing for any dirt or debris, and clean it carefully with a soft cloth. 
  • Remove any clogs from the filter, then gently scrub the mesh with a scrubbing brush and a detergent solution. If the filter is blocked, try soaking it for a few minutes to help the grime come off easier. 
  • Once it’s clean, return the filter to your dishwasher and screw it back in clockwise. Replace the lower rack and spray arm, and run a cycle to check if your dishwasher is now draining. If not, move on to the next step in our guide.

Clogged drain hose

If cleaning the filter didn’t help, the next most likely culprit is a blocked drain hose. The drain hose funnels wastewater from the dishwasher into your drainage system. Sometimes the hose can become kinked, preventing water from passing through it properly. It can also be blocked by debris that isn’t caught by the dishwasher filter. 

To check the drain hose:

  • Access the drain hose. It is usually at the back of the dishwasher, so you may need to pull your dishwasher out from the wall to gain access. 
  • Visually inspect the hose to see if it appears kinked or bent. If there are any obvious kinks, straighten them out. Then, run a test cycle to see if it’s draining.
  • If you can’t see any kinks, there may be a blockage within the drain hose.
  • Make sure you have towels on hand to dry up any residual water spills. Then remove the drainage hose from the drainpipe and remove it from the back of the dishwasher. It may be held in place with clips or screws depending on the model. 
  • Take the dishwasher to a faucet and run water through it to see if the water flows freely. If not, use a length of wire or a long brush to clear out the clogs. 
  • Once you’ve cleared the hose, replace it into your KitchenAid dishwasher and run a cycle to make sure it’s now draining properly. 

Garbage disposal issues

Many dishwashers drain directly into your kitchen’s garbage disposal unit. If your garbage disposal is clogged or faulty, this can cause water to back up and not drain properly. To check this:

  • First, run water into the garbage disposal. If you notice water backing up, then it’s probably clogged.
  • Try running the garbage disposal for a while until the water drains. If this doesn’t work, there might be a major clog that you’ll need to clear manually. 
  • Turn off the power to the garbage disposal, then use a flashlight to look inside. If you see an obstruction, do not use your hands to free it—use pliers or something similar to take the clog out. 
  • Run water through the disposal unit to see if it’s draining freely. 

It’s also possible that the drainage issues could be caused by an installation error. This is particularly likely if your garbage disposal was recently installed—the installation could have neglected to take out the drain plug for the dishwasher. Ensure that the plug that corresponds to the dishwasher has been removed, and this should solve your drainage issue. 

Faulty check valve 

Your dishwasher’s check valve ensures water flows only one way during drainage—out of the dishwasher. If the valve is faulty, then the water won’t drain properly and could pool at the bottom. It can also lead to some drained water coming back into the dishwasher. 

To fix this:

  • Locate the check valve: It’s usually found near the bottom of the dishwasher, around where the drain hose connects to the pump or spray arm. 
  • Disconnect your dishwasher from the power.
  • Access the check valve—you may have to remove the lower dish rack, the lower spray arm, and the filter. 
  • Check the valve for buildup or damage. Clean any residue with detergent and warm water. 
  • If the valve appears damaged, you will need to replace it. You can order a replacement valve online, just make sure it corresponds to the model of your KitchenAid dishwasher. 
  • Replace the faulty valve with the new one, then put the filter, spray arm, and dish rack back in place. 
  • Restore power to your dishwasher and run a test cycle to see if your dishwasher is properly draining. If the valve was the issue, replacing it should have solved your problem.

Final thoughts

If none of these fixes worked, there may be a deeper issue with the drain pump or the motor. These require a bit more electrical and appliance knowledge to fix, but if you’re interested in replacing either of these parts, consult your KitchenAid manual and purchase the replacement parts online.


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