Frigidaire Dishwasher Not Draining: 7 Easy Ways to Fix It

It’s a real problem when your Frigidaire Dishwasher won’t drain properly. Not only does it leave nasty, dirty water in your dryer, but it can also cause leaks and kitchen floods.

Despite Frigidaire making some of the best dishwashers around that are generally very reliable, even these are still prone to developing drainage problems sometimes.

If you’re encountering this issue, you’re undoubtedly keen to get it fixed as soon as possible. So in this article, we’ll help guide you through what causes your Frigidaire dishwasher to stop draining and give you all the best methods to fix the problem.

In a hurry?
A clogged drain hose is the most common reason why a Frigidaire dishwasher is not draining properly. Check for food particles, glass, labels, or wire ties that may be blocking the hose. Also, ensure that there are no kinks in the hose that may be causing the issue.

Why is your Frigidaire Dishwasher Not Draining?

We need to understand how drainage works in a modern dishwasher to fix this problem.

Clean water is sprayed up through the nozzles, which then cleans the dishes; this now dirty water passes through a drain filter and flows out through the drain hose. If your dishwasher is American-made, then there’s a good chance that it uses a garbage disposal instead of a drain filter.

If there are any problems along this drain sequence, it will cause a blockage. Let’s take a look at what these problems are so you can get a better idea of what’s happening with your dishwasher.

1. The Drain Hose is Clogged

The most common reason why a Frigidaire dishwasher will stop draining is due to the drain line becoming clogged up.

If there is anything that is restricting the dirty water from passing down the drain hose, then it’s going to back up into the dishwasher and cause it to leak and overflow.

A common cause of this is a kink in the drain line, if you’ve recently moved the dishwasher it’s very easy to accidentally push it in a way that kinks the drain hose. This then restricts the water’s ability to drain away.

However, it may also be due to debris clogging up the drain hose and preventing water from flowing away. Despite having a filter things can still make it through. So we need to get the drain hose unblocked before the dishwasher will be able to drain correctly.

2. The Drain Filter is Clogged Up

Inevitably as a dishwasher cleans the dishes it is going to pick up bits of food particulate, now it’s not good for these to pass through the drain pump system so Frigidaire dishwashers use a filter that will catch all the food bits to prevent them from causing problems.

So as you’d expect, this filter needs to be cleaned out intermittently, ideally once a month. Otherwise, it can get so blocked up that it will restrict the water’s drain, resulting in an unsightly pool of dirty water left in the dishwasher.

Fortunately, as Frigidaire knows their customers will have to do this themselves, they’ve made the process pretty easy.

3. The Garbage Disposal is Clogged Up

Not all dishwashers use a filtration system to address the dirty food particulate, many modern American appliances make use of a garbage disposal that will grind down the food chunks so they can be drained away without clogging anything up.

You can think of it as a less powerful version of the one you’ll find under your sink.

Despite their design which is to specifically prevent clogging up inside your dishwasher, if they get particularly dirty they can sometimes still clog up and need to be cleaned out before your dishwasher can drain again.

Providing the disposal is still functional when turned on we can quite easily unclog it with some assistance from the garbage disposal itself.

4. The Drain Pump is Failing

Generally speaking, drain pumps are quite reliable machines, but they can develop problems in certain circumstances.

They work by rotating a wash impeller that carries the water away from the dishwasher.

Like most other objects in the dishwasher, if it becomes clogged up with food debris, it will restrict how well it can carry the water away. You can often hear this as an audible humming sound as the pump struggles to pull the water out.

By cleaning out the wash impeller we can often restore functionality to the drain pump.

However, the motor itself may sometimes fail and require fixing or replacing.

5. The Air Gap Needs Cleaning

An air gap is what we call the small cylindrical component that gets mounted next to the sink to prevent backflow. This prevents dirty water from getting sucked back into the dishwasher, making your nice, clean dishes dirty again.

However, these air gaps need cleaning every so often as, like anything else, they can accumulate dirt over time, and if they become particularly clogged they may either prevent water from draining away or even worse it might force dirty water back into the dishwasher.

By unscrewing and cleaning the air gap thoroughly, we can ensure that dirty water can’t circulate back into the dishwasher.

6. The Timer has Failed

The timer acts as a small brain for the wash cycle by telling the dishwasher when it’s taken on enough water.

Sometimes timers that are old or are failing may get stuck in the filling stage, which causes the dishwasher to fill with too much water and end up overflowing.

By replacing the timer, we can ensure that the dishwasher won’t take on more water than it needs to finish a cleaning cycle.

7. The Check Valve is Stuck

Underneath your dishwasher sits a small valve that the dirty water passes through right before it hits the drain hose.

This is a one-way valve that will allow dirty water to drain up, but not flow back into the dishwasher. Not to be confused with an air gap, this valve sits inside the washer itself.

If this valve fails and is permanently closed the dirty water won’t be able to drain away, if it fails in the open position it will still allow water to drain away, but it may cause some of the dirty water to backflow into the dishwasher.

Either way, we need to fix or replace this component so the dishwasher can drain properly.

How to Fix a Frigidaire Dishwasher Not Draining

Most of the drainage issues in a dishwasher are caused by some kind of clogging up or blockage which prevents the water from draining away.

Fortunately, with a bit of elbow grease, we can clean things out and get your dishwasher back to working order!

1. Unclog the Drain Hose

As this is one of the most common places to get blocked we should first ensure this is completely cleared out.

Start by disconnecting the hose and ideally taking it outside (so you don’t spill dirty water over your kitchen) and use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to clean the drain out. 

Pour this solution into the hose and let it sit for 15 minutes. Once it’s finished, run your garden hose through it to flush all the debris out.

After this, you can then reinstall the hose onto your dishwasher. We recommend running an empty wash cycle just to ensure the water is draining, and it will also help flush any residual vinegar + baking soda solution out.

2. Unclog the Drain Filter

If your dishwasher uses a drain filter system instead of a garbage disposer, you will need to manually clean it out. Ideally, this should be done once a month, this might sound like a lot but don’t worry, it’s pretty easy to do!

  1. Find the dishwasher filter, this is usually located at the bottom of the washer just under the spray arm.
  2. Remove it from the dishwasher by turning it counterclockwise and then it should pull right out.
  3. Fill your sink with a simple solution of hot water and dishwashing liquid, no fancy cleaners are needed here.
  4. Soak the filter in the hot water for a few minutes to let all the dirt loosen up, then scrub it clean using something like an old toothbrush.
  5. Rinse it under clean water before reinstalling it.

3. Unclog the Garbage Disposal

The good thing about unclogging the garbage disposal is that we can use its own mechanism to help it clean itself.

Mix up a cup of baking soda and vinegar and pour the mixture down the drain; this will make its way to the disposal.

Let it sit for 15 minutes to break down anything that’s stuck in there.

Then prepare a bowl of hot water and run the garbage disposal, pouring the hot water down the dishwasher drain to flush everything away.

4. Clean the Drain Pump

If the drain pump is clogged up it can be removed from the dishwasher and cleaned by hand.

However, more often than not, it’s the motor that’s failing. Unfortunately, this is quite challenging to user service so in this scenario we recommend contacting Frigidaire customer support who will assist you with this process.

5. Clean the Air Gap

If the air gap gets clogged up the dirty water might back up into the dishwasher.

Pop the cap off the air gap and use something like a long bottle brush to scrub any debris or blockage that’s built up inside of it.

If the blockage is completely solid you can stick something like a cardboard tube from a kitchen towel roll and blow on it very hard.

You should contact a plumber for assistance if this doesn’t work.

6. Replace the Timer

If the timer has failed, it will just need to be replaced. Once again, you should contact Frigidaire customer support for assistance here, and they will help you with this process.

7. Replace the Check Valve

While sometimes it’s possible to fix the check valve if it’s failed because these are relatively inexpensive components, we recommend just replacing it with a new one.

You can refer to your user manual to ascertain the location of the check valve for your particular model and then simply swap it out with a new one.


How do I force my Frigidaire dishwasher to drain?

If your Frigidaire dishwasher doesn’t drain, try running the garbage disposal to clear any blockages. You can also check the drain hose and filters for clogs. If the issue persists, contact a professional technician for assistance.

Why is my Frigidaire dishwasher holding water in the bottom?

A clogged drain hose or filter can cause your Frigidaire dishwasher to hold water in the bottom. Check for blockages and clean the filters to fix the issue.

Why is my Frigidaire dishwasher humming and not draining?

A humming noise from your Frigidaire dishwasher may indicate a clogged drain hose or faulty pump. Check for blockages and clean the filters to fix the issue.

Why is my Frigidaire dishwasher not draining or washing?

A clogged drain hose or filter can prevent your Frigidaire dishwasher from draining or washing properly. Check for blockages and clean the filters to fix the issue.

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