How to Fix Standing Water in Dishwasher

One of the most common problems that occur with a dishwasher is that it will have standing water in the base of the appliance after it completes a wash cycle. The bad news is that a repair will have to be made, but the good news is that most people can take care of this situation on their own and sometimes do it without any tools! First and foremost, before trying to fix a standing water situation, make sure to unplug the dishwasher.

Is the Dishwasher Plugged Up With Food Debris?

The most common reason for a dishwasher to have standing water in it is because food debris has clogged up the drainage system within the appliance itself. When you open up the dishwasher, first remove the standing water as best you can. Then remove the bottom sprayer arm because it will just generally pop out. If the screen has food debris on it, take a few moments to clean it up at this point in time.

Next you'll need to remove the screen. It's a simple pressure lock in the middle of the dishwasher where the sprayer arm attaches. Rotate this out and the entire assembly will come out. Look inside the screen to see if slime or debris has clogged up inside the feeder portion of the device. If it has, clean it out and you've likely solved the problem.

While the dishwasher is apart, however, you may wish to take a thin metal snake and run it through the drainage area. This will help to dislodge any other clogs caused by slime or food that have occurred. Then just put the dishwasher back together in reverse steps! Be sure to run an empty cycle to make sure the problem has resolved itself.

What If There Is Still Standing Water After an Empty Cycle?

If you've cleaned out the screen and the drainage areas of the appliance and you still have standing water, then you've likely got a clog somewhere deeper in the plumbing that connects the dishwasher to the primary drain in the kitchen. Go under your sink and locate the supply line that runs to your dishwasher. Depending on your setup, you may need to shut off the water supply at this point as well. Take a bucket with you and then disconnect the plumbing line that feeds into the main drain.

Allow the water to drain into the bucket or container if any exists within the plumbing. Look for clogs within that pipe – it will generally be at the connection point because the water is able to force its way through to some extent because there are no leaks occurring. If you don't see a clog, look in the main drainage pipe to see if something is lodged there. If not, you may have a clog somewhere in the middle of the plumbing. Run the snake through the pipe to dislodge it.

Once completed, simply reattach the plumbing and run an empty cycle through the dishwasher once more. Check for leaks, dispose of any drained water, and you'll have likely fixed your standing water problem. If you still have not been able to resolve the issue, however, then it is time to contact a local plumber.
Posted on Aug 31, 2014


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