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How to Repair a Dishwasher That Won't Drain

Updated February 21, 2017

Your dishwasher receives water from a water supply line at the back of the unit. The water fills the water pump, which shoots the water into the dishwasher unit as it goes through a wash cycle. The dishwasher's drain valve then releases the water at the appropriate points in the wash cycle. If any of these components is faulty, the unit may not drain properly. You will find water pooling at the bottom of the unit when you open it. Troubleshooting may solve the issue.

Unplug the dishwasher.

Remove the two screws holding the lower front panel in place. The panel is located on the lower part of the refrigerator, under the door. Pull the panel off.

Look for the drain hose, which is connected to the pump and goes to the sink drain. Touch the drain to see if it feels wet. Disconnect the hose from the pump by pinching the clamp with a pair of pliers. Inspect the hose for clogs and remove them.

Plunge the sink drain by covering the overflow hole with a rag and pumping the drain with a plunger 15 to 20 times to remove blockages.

Find the drain valve near the pump motor. Lift the gate arm, the arm that controls the flow of water, up and down. It should move freely. Pull the two connectors for the wires connected to the drain valve solenoid. This is a small metal connection. Label the wires to remind you how they were installed. Set your multimeter, a device used to detect electrical current, to the X1 setting. Touch the multimeter probes to the terminals where the wires were connected before. You should receive a reading of 40 ohms. If the reading is infinity or different than 40, the solenoid needs replacing.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Plunger
  • Towel
  • Multimeter
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