5 Reasons Your Whirlpool Dishwasher Isn’t Draining

Fleet Appliance
July 8, 2024
Dishwasher Repair

If you find water pooling at the bottom of your Whirlpool dishwasher after a cycle, you know there’s an issue somewhere with the drain system that’s causing it not to drain properly. The question is, what’s the exact cause of the problem?

Various things can go wrong and affect drainage. This article looks at the five most likely reasons your dishwasher isn’t draining and offers troubleshooting tips to help you fix it.

1. The dishwasher filter is clogged

The dishwasher filter that sits at the bottom inside a Whirlpool dishwasher filters out food and other debris to prevent them from clogging the drain system.

If the filter isn’t cleaned as often as needed, it becomes clogged over time and affects drainage, especially if you don’t scrape or rinse your dishes before loading. Often, pieces of plastic or paper wrapping, tough foods like seeds, or starchy or greasy foods can clog the filter.

Here’s how to check and clean a Whirlpool dishwasher filter:

  1. Remove any standing water that hasn’t drained using a cup and bowl to scoop it out.
  2. Locate the filter. It’s usually located near the spray arm on the base of the tub, or in the back corner.
  3. Identify the parts to the filter. Usually there are two parts: the coarse filter and the fine filter.
  4. Twist and pull out the coarse filter first. You can then lift out the fine filter that sits under it in the cavity.
  5. Rinse the filters under a running tap to clean them. If there is stubborn grime, you can soak the filters in warm, soapy water and gently clean them with a soft toothbrush.
  6. Avoid using anything hard or abrasive to clean the filter as it could cause damage.
  7. Check for any debris or blockages inside the filter cavity or housing after cleaning the filters. Clean with a cloth and warm soapy water if necessary.

2. The drain hose is clogged or kinked

The drain hose carries wastewater from the dishwasher to the sink drain/garbage disposal. If the drain hose becomes clogged with food residue, grease, or grime, the wastewater can’t pass through the hose, causing the drainage issue. Likewise, a kinked or pinched drain hose can have the same effect.

To check if the drain hose is causing your dishwasher not to drain, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the bottom kick panel from your Whirlpool dishwasher to gain access to the drain hose.
  2. Locate where the drain hose connects to the garbage disposal or sink drain. It’s usually under the kitchen sink.
  3. Put some towels down and get a container ready to catch any water that spills out when you disconnect the drain hose.
  4. Disconnect the drain hose from the garbage disposal or sink drain.
  5. Then, disconnect the drain hose from the dishwasher by loosening the clamp that secures it.
  6. Remove the drain hose and inspect it for clogs or kinks.
  7. Clean the hose using a long flexible brush and running water to clear any blockages.
  8. Reinstall the drain hose, making sure there are no kinks or pinching.

3. The garbage disposal is clogged

Many Whirlpool dishwashers drain through the garbage disposal. If the garbage disposal becomes clogged with debris, the dishwasher won’t drain.

You can usually clear any blockages in the garbage disposal by running it with cold water for a minute or so. However, you should also check where the hoses connect to the garbage disposal if running it doesn’t solve the problem.

To do this, unplug the garbage disposal and disconnect the hoses and pipes attached to it. Then check the connection points on the garbage disposal for blockages and the hoses and pipes themselves.

If your garbage disposal was recently installed, there’s a chance the knockout plug hasn’t been removed. The knockout plug is located where the dishwasher’s drain hose connects to the garbage disposal.

You’ll need to disconnect the dishwasher drain hose from the garbage disposal so you can check inside the inlet. If the knockout plug is still there, you can remove it by tapping it out with a hammer and screwdriver.

4. The air gap is clogged

The air gap is a cylindrical device located on top of your sink. It allows air to pass through it to prevent a vacuum from forming in the drain system. However, if the air gap gets blocked, the dishwasher will struggle to drain properly.

You can inspect and clean the air gap by removing its cover, which usually either lifts or screws off. Then, use a bottle brush and a toothpick to clean inside and around the air gap and remove any blockages.

5. The drain pump is obstructed or faulty

Sometimes, small hard objects such as broken glass or plastic can get into the drain pump, preventing the impellers from rotating. This results in the water not draining. Likewise, if the pump is faulty or the impellers break, this will have the same effect.

It’s advisable to call in a professional to inspect, service, or replace a faulty drain pump. However, if you feel confident checking the drain pump on your Whirlpool dishwasher yourself, follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the dishwasher or turn it off at the circuit breaker.
  2. Remove the bottom kick panel and the attached insulation by unfastening the screws holding it in place.
  3. Reach under the dishwasher, using a flashlight if necessary, and twist the pump counterclockwise to free it from its housing.
  4. Pull out the drain pump and disconnect the wiring from it.
  5. Inspect the pump for signs of damage, such as broken impellers or foreign objects obstructing it. Spin the impellers manually to check they move freely.
  6. Reach under the appliance into the drain pump housing to feel for any foreign objects or blockages inside it.
  7. Use a multimeter to test the drain pump for continuity.
  8. If the drain pump is damaged or doesn’t have continuity, it will need replacing.
  9. Order a new replacement part and install it by following the product instructions or examples in the owner’s manual.
  10. Reassemble the dishwasher, reconnect the power, and run a cycle to see if it’s now draining properly.

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