How to Drain a Dishwasher? Manually Unclog It Like an Expert
It happened to me that a while back. I opened the door of my dishwasher to wash some plates and cutlery items.
But, I was shocked to see the dreadful condition inside. I saw a pool of soapy and dingy water covering the bottom surface of the dishwasher.
It was nothing more than a CHAOS and obviously, I got panicked. Flooding with awkward thoughts, I decided to get help from a professional.
Not only did Mr. Charlie helped me unclog my dishwasher, but I also had a long conversation with him where he discussed multiple methods to drain a dishwasher easily.
Today I’m going to share all those DIY methods one by one on how to drain a dishwasher in 2021.
Sit tight, and give this article a thorough read if you want to unclog your dishwasher like an expert.
Note: I’ve used these methods for quite some time and they seem to help me unclog my dishwasher. However, these methods might or might not work out for you. It’s still better to try them out before calling a professional.
All in all, let us move on to discuss the unclogging methods thoroughly.
How to Drain a Dishwasher from Foul and Dingy Water?
Method 1: Preparing the Dishwasher:
The first method or technique is to prepare the dishwasher for upcoming events.
Follow the instructions below on how to prepare a dishwasher for cleaning:
1. Removing Dishes and Cutlery Items:
Start with removing the dishes from the appliance. Moreover, store them carefully so that you can later load the dishwasher with ease.
Make sure that you remove everything from the dishwasher including plates, pans, spoons, forks, knives, and bowls, etc.
2. Unplug the Dishwasher and Turn Off Water Supply:
Secondly, turn off the dishwasher if it’s plugged into a wall socket. Similarly, turn off the circuit board in case of an automatic connection.
Besides, find the water supply line, which is supplying water to the dishwasher, and turn it off.
You’ll usually find the water supply under the sink or behind the dishwasher cabinet.
3. Remove Standing Water:
The final step of method 1 involves removing the dingy water.
First of all, cover your face with a mask or a clean cloth if water smells bad.
Secondly, wear disposable gloves or kitchen gloves to keep your hands safe from grimy water.
Take a towel or a small plastic cup and start removing the water from the dishwasher carefully.
Collect the grimy water in a shallow pan to keep the kitchen mess-free.
For low water level, soak towel in the water until it gets absorbed completely.
Flush the water later in a sink or a shallow pan as per your will and wish.
No Rocket Science is involved in the first method. Just unplug the dishwasher and turn off its water supply. Later, remove standing water with a towel or small plastic cup.
Method 2: Cleaning the Dishwasher Filter:
Here comes the interesting and technical part of unclogging a dishwasher.
After removing water from bottom surface, you have to locate the filter and take it out of the appliance.
Follow these simple steps on how to clean a dishwasher’s filter:
1. Locating and Removing the Cylindrical Filter:
Take out the spray arms and place them away from the appliance.
Locate a circular (cylindrical) filter on the bottom.
Next, you have to take it out. For this purpose, turn it anti-clockwise and lift it up straight.
Now, here me out: Most of the modern dishwashers from Whirlpool, Bosch, and KitchenAid have got the filters. Plus, they are exactly located beneath the spray arms.
However, if you are unable to find the filter, then simply read the user manual of your dishwasher thoroughly.
You’ll find it soon enough.
2. Removing the Coarse Filter:
Many modern dishwasher appliances are now equipped with a separate coarse filter.
Take it out from the bottom and place it with the cylindrical filter.
The catch here is that many models will have the coarse and main filter intact.
How would I know this? You might ask.
Well, I’ll yet again suggest reading the user manual of the dishwasher. You’ll find out soon enough whether the coarse filter is intact or separate.
3. Removing Debris from Sump:
A sump is a hole where we adjust the cylindrical filter. This hole directly leads to the drain hose.
Therefore, check it out thoroughly and remove any debris, grime, gunk, or food particles from it.
Better use a toothpick or an old toothbrush to reach every nook and corner of sump.
4. Cleaning Filters Thoroughly:
After checking out the sump, head towards the sink where you’ll clean both filters.
Scrub the cylindrical and coarse filter with a sponge or a dishwashing brush.
Moreover, don’t forget to apply the detergent.
Rinse both filters with warm water to remove loosened up grime and food particles.
Place them in direct sunlight for natural air drying.
5. Reinstalling the Filters:
Finally, reinstall the filters.
First off, adjust the coarse filter. Then, slide the main filter inside the sump and give it a clockwise turn.
Replace the spray arms afterward and give them a spin to make sure that everything’s adjusted properly.
6. Run the Dishwasher:
Removing debris from sump, main filter, and coarse filter is the first step towards draining a dishwasher.
When done, run dishwasher for a small cycle and check whether it’s working properly or not.
Check whether the water remains after the cycle or not.
It will surely get drained properly. Don’t worry if small amount of water retains. It’s completely normal when using a dishwasher.
So, up till now, if the problem’s resolved, then CONGRATS.
However, if the clogging level remains, then you need to check out the drain hose thoroughly.
Here are the tips you should implement while cleaning the drain hose:
Method 3: Checking the Drain Hose:
Follow these steps to check the drain hose of your dishwasher thoroughly:
1. Pulling Out the Appliance from Cabinet:
Carefully, pull out the dishwasher from cabinet. Mind you that these appliances are heavy, so you’ll need extra help.
Make sure that you prevent scratches on the floor as well. For this purpose, slide the dishwasher rather slowly.
Don’t rush into pulling it out as the appliance is quite expensive and could get damaged.
Finally, pull it as much as you can easily check the drain hose attached behind it.
2. Checking the Drain Hose for Bends:
Check out the drain hose of the dishwasher for any bends or kinks and remove them accordingly
A drain hose is connected on one side with the dishwasher and on the other side with the drainage pipe or sink.
Take your time while finding the bends, curves, or unnecessary twists and correct them with care and precaution.
Pro Tip: You could use a flashlight to analyze the kinks or bends in a drain hose as well.
3. Remove Clogging from Drain Hose:
Take it out from the dishwasher and check for food particles, small bones, gunk, and grime.
To avoid mess, keep a rag or a shallow pan underneath the drain hose.
Clear all kind of blockages or food leftover from the drain hose using a flexible enough brush.
The professional who cleaned my dishwasher told me to straighten a metal hanger and run it through the hose.
It helped a lot as I was able to remove dirt and blockage from the drain hose within a short time.
4. Run the Dishwasher:
Connect the drain hose the same you detached it. Run the dishwasher and see whether the clogging issue’s been resolved or not.
I’m pretty much sure that after checking the drain hose, the dishwasher will start working ideally.
However, in some cases, it still won’t unclog and this is where we check the drain valve.
Wanna know the last step of how to drain a dishwasher?
Method 4: Checking and Cleaning a Drain Valve:
1. Let the dishwasher Cool Down:
The appliance becomes hot after a series of rinsing cycles.
Therefore, let it cool down for a while before you locate the drain valve.
2. Locating the Drain Valve:
Drain valve in most of the dishwashers is located underneath the appliance behind the front kick panel.
You’ll easily find it if you know the location of your appliance’s motor.
Most of the time, when the dishwasher is clogged, it’s due to a malfunctioned drain valve.
Anyways, a drain valve consists of two parts, i.e. a Solenoid and a Grate Arm.
Here comes the tricky part as we’ll check both components one by one:
3. Checking the Grate Arm:
Gate arm, being an important component of the valve helps the water to drain out of the dishwasher effectively.
Check it out and make sure that it’s moving freely.
More precisely, a Grate Arm would consist of two springs. Analyze them and see whether any spring is damaged or not.
Replace the damaged spring accordingly.
4. Checking the Solenoid:
Although this step requires electrical knowledge, you could pull it off easily.
How would you know if the solenoid isn’t working properly?
Well, it’s easy.
Remove the solenoid from the drain valve carefully and check its resistance using a multi-tester.
If the multi-tester shows 40 ohms resistance, then it means that the solenoid’s working fine.
If it’s not the same, then change it immediately.
5. Spin the Motor for a While:
The motor of the dishwasher gets all cranky and stuck when you don’t use the appliance for a long time.
So, spin it manually for a while and make sure that it’s moving freely.
6. Run the Dishwasher Again:
Finally, reassemble the drain valve and run a test cycle to see whether the water drains or not.
It’ll probably work like before and you’ll not face any issue.
What? It’s still not working?
In this case, you’ll have no other way than to call a professional appliance repair guy.
Pro Tip: See whether the manufacturer’s offering after-service insurance or not. If yes, then simply call the brand and tell them about your problem.
After a while, the repair guy would arrive to repair the dishwasher.
Concluding the Whole Process:
Draining a dishwasher isn’t as difficult as it seems. However, I always recommend hiring a professional when all the four methods I’ve mentioned above yield no results.
Try them on your appliance and see whether you can drain it or not.
Do tell me about your experiments in the comment box and I’ll respond to them soon.