Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Draining? (here’s why & what to do)

Whirlpool have been making electrical appliances for many years and they have a good reputation within the industry. However, even highly reputable appliances can get problems.

If your Whirlpool dishwasher is not draining, keep reading. In this article we take a close look at the reasons why your Whirlpool dishwasher is not draining and offer solutions to these issues. Many of which need no technical skill at all.

How To Clear Water From The Tub Of The Dishwasher

If your Whirlpool dishwasher is failing to drain properly, the chances are there will be a lot of water sitting in the bottom of the tub. This will need to be removed before you can start to fix the problem.

There are a couple of ways you can remove excess water from the tub of your dishwasher which are;

  1. Scooping The Water Out Using A Jug
    If there is only a small amount of water in the bottom of the tub, the best way to remove it is using a jug or cup. Simply scoop the water out of the tub and pour it into a bowl. You then repeat this action until all of the standing water has gone.
  2. Using A Wet/Dry Vacuum
    If there is a lot of standing water, using a wet/dry vacuum is the most efficient way to remove it. Just make sure the wet filter is in place, and vacuum all of the standing water from the tub.

Why Is The Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Draining?

There are a number of reasons why your Whirlpool dishwasher might not drain. Which include;

Probable CauseSolution
Interrupted CycleRestart the cycle
Using Too Much Or The Wrong Type Of DetergentAlways ensure that you use the correct type and quantity of detergent
Filter CloggedClean the filter
Damaged Or Blocked ImpellerInspect the impeller and clean, remove the blockage or replace
Twisted Or Blocked Drain HoseStraighten the drain hose and remove any blockages
Blocked Waste Disposal UnitRemove any blockages from the waste disposal unit
Blocked Air GapInspect the air gap and remove any blockages
Blocked Sink Waste PipeRemove any blockages
Faulty Drain PumpInspect and replace the drain pump if necessary
Faulty SolenoidInspect and replace the solenoid if necessary
Check Valve Stuck Inspect and replace the check valve if necessary

Let’s take a closer look at each of these issues;

Interrupted Cycle

person pressing a button on dishwasher control panel

It is possible that the cycle can get interrupted during operation. This can be caused by accidentally catching one of the buttons or a power failure or outage.

If the cycle does get interrupted all you need to do is restart the cycle to fix this issue.

Using Too Much Or The Wrong Type Of Detergent

dishwasher pods

This is the most likely cause of a dishwasher failing to drain. Either too much detergent or the wrong type has been used. Dishwasher detergent is specially formulated to not create too many soap suds.

If you were to use an incorrect type of detergent like washing up liquid for example, you would find a large amount of soap suds that are too much for the dishwasher to drain away properly.

You can often clear excess soap suds simply by running another rinse and drain cycle. For really excessive amounts try placing a bowl full of milk on the top rack and running a wash cycle.

The soap suds will bind with the fat content in the milk and get washed away. Once the soap suds have been successfully cleared away, ensure that you only use the right type of detergent in the right quantity.

Filter Clogged

Dishwasher filters are designed to trap food and other particles and prevent them from resettling on the dishes or causing problems for other components in the dishwasher.

The filter in your dishwasher can become clogged over time which will prevent wastewater from leaving the dishwasher as it should. You will need to consult your handbook for the exact location of your dishwasher’s filter.

Which is typically found in the middle of the bottom of the tub. It can usually be removed by twisting anti-clockwise and lifting (again, consult your handbook). Once removed, you should wash all parts of the filter in warm soapy water to remove anything stuck to it.

Any really stubborn stains can be removed using a toothbrush and for extremely stubborn stains, soak the filter in a 50:50 warm water/white vinegar solution.

You should then make cleaning the filter a monthly task and add it to your regular dishwasher cleaning schedule.

Damaged Or Blocked Impeller

Whilst the filter has been removed, you can check that the impeller is working properly. It is possible that food particles, broken crockery or limescale could block the impeller preventing it from turning.

If it turns freely and therefore has no blockage, check the blades for any sign of damage. If you suspect the impeller is damaged, contact a technician to investigate and replace the impeller if necessary.

Twisted Or Blocked Drain Hose


All of the water that leaves the dishwasher goes through the drain hose. If the drain hose is twisted or kinked it will slow down the rate at which the water can drain away.

You should visibly check the drain hose for any twists or kinks and straighten the hose if you find any. Whether the drain hose was twisted or not, it’s still possible that there’s a blockage somewhere.

You may need to remove the drain hose and run it under a fast flowing tap to dislodge any blockage. Or run a plumber’s snake through the pipe.

If this sounds like a job beyond your level of comfort, try using a dishwasher cleaner and running a hot wash cycle. Alternatively you could pour 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of bicarbonate of soda into the bottom of the tub and allow it to work its way into the drain hose for around 30 to 40 minutes.

If this clears the blockage, run a short wash cycle to remove any remaining sludge.

Blocked Waste Disposal Unit

If your dishwasher is connected to a waste disposal unit it could be a blocked waste disposal that’s causing the problem. Try running the unit for around 30 seconds and see if this clears it.

If not consult the waste disposal’s user manual because many can be turned manually using an allen key. Simply place the correct size allen key into the socket and turn backwards and forwards a few times until you feel less resistance.

Blocked Air Gap

If your dishwasher is connected to an air gap, this can also be the cause of the problem. You should check for blockages in the air gap by removing the cap and the cover.

If there is anything blocking the air gap you can remove it using a pair of tweezers. Then use a bottle brush to remove as much debris as you can reach.

Blocked Sink Waste Pipe

kitchen sink

If your dishwasher is connected to the sink waste pipe this could also be the cause of the blockage. 

If the sink backs up when used, try freeing any blockage using a plunger, plumber’s snake or commercial drain cleaner or sink unblocker.

Faulty Drain Pump

The drain pump moves all of the waste water out of the dishwasher. If the drain pump develops a fault it will not be able to force the water from the appliance.

This could be caused by a buildup of food or other particles (often as a result of a clogged filter), or some of the component parts could simply have become damaged or worn out.

We recommend contacting a technician to investigate and repair/replace the drain pump as it is difficult to access.

Faulty Solenoid

The drain solenoid or drain valve controls the flow of water leaving the dishwasher. If it develops a fault, it could lead to excess water in the bottom of the tub.

This is another difficult to access part which is why we recommend contacting a technician if you suspect the drain solenoid is faulty.

Check Valve Stuck 

The check valve is a one way valve, it allows water to leave the dishwasher, but prevents it from returning. The check valve can become stuck due to food or other debris or even limescale.

This can cause it to become stuck in the open position which will allow waste water to re-enter the appliance. Or the closed position which will prevent any waste water from leaving the dishwasher at all.

Ways To Prevent The Dishwasher From Getting Drainage Issues


Once you have successfully solved the problem with your dishwasher not draining, it’s a good idea to prevent it from becoming a problem again. There are a number of things you can do to prevent this from happening which include;

  • Always scrape the dishes before loading them into the dishwasher
  • Ensure the dishes are stacked on the racks correctly
  • Ensure that you use the correct type and quantity of detergent
  • Run a hot service wash every month
  • Regularly inspect hoses and remove any twists or kinks
  • Remove and clean the filter every month

SEE ALSO: Whirlpool Dishwasher Diagnostic Mode Explained

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my Whirlpool dishwasher not draining?

If your Whirlpool dishwasher is not draining it could be caused by; An interrupted cycle, using too much or the wrong type of detergent, a clogged filter, clogged drain hose, blocked waste disposal unit, air gap or sink waste pipe, a defective drain pump, defective solenoid or a stuck check valve.

Why is there water at the bottom of my Whirlpool dishwasher?

If there is water at the bottom of the tub in your Whirlpool dishwasher it is usually caused by a blocked drain hose or a clogged filter.

How do I get rid of standing water in my dishwasher?

You can get rid of standing water in your dishwasher by scooping it out using a jug, using a wet/dry vacuum or soaking it up using towels.

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