KitchenAid Dishwasher Not Draining – 9 Ways to Fix It Now

Is your KitchenAid dishwasher not draining properly? Don’t panic! This is a common issue among users of all dishwashers. Instead of opening the dishwasher’s door to see spotless dishes, you will find them greasy and unclean, accompanied by a puddle of stale water.

Such inconvenience may leave you scratching your head about how to take control of this chaotic situation. The good news is that a Kitchen Aid dishwasher draining failure is not as complicated as it seems. It requires a thorough inspection and the application of basic maintenance steps.

In this troubleshooting guide, we’ll explain the possible causes of this issue and provide proper solutions. Keep reading this guide, so you will be able to say farewell to this frustrating problem.

Why is my KitchenAid Dishwasher Not Draining

Before rushing to call a contractor, take some time to recognize the causes behind this problem. A KitchenAid dishwasher that won’t drain usually shows signs like:

  • Unusual noises and unpleasant odors
  • Standing water in the dishwasher
  • Leaking and overflowing
  • Overall malfunctioning

The most common cause of a KitchenAid dishwasher not draining is one or more of the components becoming clogged up with old particulate and grease extracted from the food during the cleaning process.

A blocked filter or a malfunctioning drain hose are usually the first things that come to mind, however there could be other reasons triggering the issue. So, take a look at the following causes to identify the culprit in your case.

1. The Filter is Blocked


KitchenAid dishwashers come with a filter that is located at the bottom of the dishwasher assembly below the spray arms.

It is commonly known as the drain filter or simply the dishwasher filter. This mesh filter catches food chunks and any other debris, preventing them from reaching the drain pump or hose.

If this filter becomes clogged, it won’t function properly. This means any debris will find its way to other components of a KitchenAid dishwasher. More importantly, wastewater won’t be able to pass the clogged filter, which means a dishwasher won’t drain.

2. A Malfunctioning Drain Hose

A drain hose is responsible for taking wastewater to the drainpipe. It is a flexible plastic or rubber tube that might kink or become bent with the reckless moving of the dishwasher.

Also, it might not be correctly installed in the first place, causing the problem of a KitchenAid dishwasher not draining at the end of the cycle.

3. A Drain Pump Problem

The drain pump helps to pump out the excess water from the dishwasher. But sometimes, this pump can fail, meaning it can no longer pump the water away.

But more commonly, it’s due to a buildup of food particulate, which clogs the pump up, so we need to unblock the pump to restore it to working order.

4. A Clog in the Motor Assembly

Similarly, to the drain pump, the motor assembly pumps the water around the dishwasher and out through the cleaning nozzles before it drains away.

This can also become clogged with old bits of food and grease, causing water to stay in the machine.

However, sometimes the impeller (the nozzles that spin at the bottom of the dishwasher) may also be damaged and stop spinning, meaning the water doesn’t get distributed properly.

5. The Water Pump Belt has come off

The water pump belt, as the name might suggest, is the drive belt that attaches to the drain pump and assists in removing water from the machine.

Sometimes this belt can come loose or detach completely; a common cause of this is the dishwasher not being level.

In some rarer cases, the pump belt might have snapped and need to be replaced.

6. The Drain Valve Has Failed

The drain valve is a small solenoid that opens and closes during the drain cycle to prevent the dirty water from backing up.

Like many other components, this too can become clogged as dirty water filled with food particulate passes through it.

However, the solenoid may also have failed, meaning it can no longer open and close properly and will need to be replaced.

7. The Drain Impeller isn’t working

The impeller is the small plastic assembly at the bottom of the dishwasher lined with small holes through which the clean pressurized water shoots.

Despite only having clean water pass through, this can also develop a clog. The most common reason this happens is hard water causing a mineral deposit buildup.

8. The Wrong Type of Detergent is used

When the wrong type or amount of detergent is used during a wash cycle, it can end up causing an excessive production of suds which builds up in the machine and cannot drain away.

You will need to consult your manual and ensure you use the correct brand and volume of detergent so your dishwasher can cope with the amount of suds produced.

9. The Garbage Disposal isn’t working

Certain brands of dishwashers can be hooked directly up to the garbage disposal, which automatically filters out the food particulate to help avoid it clogging up other components in the machine.

However, the hose which carries the food waste to the garbage can also become blocked by a mixture of food and mold buildup to the point it can no longer function. Steps should be taken to unclog the garbage disposal hose.

10. The Check Ball isn’t working

The check ball is a small plastic sphere that fits into a groove after the water has drained to prevent any water from backing up into the dishwasher.

Sometimes it can get knocked out of its housing by something like the dishwasher accidentally getting hit or tipped over, meaning it can’t create that water-tight seal anymore.

You will need to open the machine, locate the ball, and re-seat it back in its groove.

How to Drain a KitchenAid Dishwasher

You’ve probably noticed that the biggest contributor to this problem is some parts getting clogged up with built-up food waste.

However, sometimes it can be a component failure preventing the water from draining away.

Let’s go through all the necessary steps to fix this problem and restore functionality to your dishwasher.

Before we begin, remove any standing water from the bottom of the dishwasher by using a vacuum or soaking up the water with towels.

1. Clean the Filter

clean dirty dishwasher filter

The filter is something that should be maintained by cleaning it out manually every few months, or it will start to cause problems.

Fortunately, cleaning it is effortless.  Start by locating the filter under the bottom rack of the dishwasher. Remove it and wash it thoroughly. Finally, secure it back in position tightly.

2. Straighten out the Hose

Visual inspection of the drain hose will easily reveal the presence of kinks. These kinks can be manually straightened out when you take the hose out. When you reinstall the hose, don’t forget its loop. A loop needs to be created at a height of 18 inches.

3. Clean Out or Replace the Drain Pump

If the drain pump has failed, it will need to be replaced, or if it’s just clogged up, we still need to remove it to clean it properly.

  1. Start by removing the lower access panel, revealing the drain pump.
  2. Disconnect the wires and remove the drainpipe attached to them.
  3. Lift the dishwasher pump out of the machine and inspect it for functionality.
  4. If it’s clogged up, you can try cleaning it and re-installing it to see if that fixes the problem.
  5. If it’s deemed non-working, you can place the new pump and re-attach the wires/hose.

We also recommend running an empty wash cycle to test if it’s draining properly once the new dishwasher pump is installed.

4. Clean out the Motor Assembly

Even if it’s just clogged up with food debris, generally speaking, when the motor assembly fails, replacing it with a new one is the most straightforward approach.

It’s not too big of a job and can be done in about an hour. It would be best if you referred to the user manual for your specific dishwasher model for instructions on how to do this.

5. Re-attach or Replace the Water Pump Belt

For further inspection, you will need to remove the dishwasher tub from its mounting bracket to reveal the dishwasher belt.

Now you should be able to see if the water pump belt has come off for some reason and place it back on.

However, if it’s snapped or looks very old already, we recommend ordering a new one and replacing it.

Make sure your dishwasher is level with the ground because if it’s not even, the vibrations will slowly cause it to work its way off the assembly.

6. Clean out the Drain Valve

Most of the time, a drain valve issue is due to it being clogged up with food particulate.

The easiest way to address this without harming the valve is to remove the component from the dishwasher and place it in a water and vinegar solution for about an hour.

This helps to break down the stuck food and grease inside the valve. Once that’s done, rinse it under warm running water and re-install it into the dishwasher.

7. Clean the Drain Impeller

Sometimes people can unblock the drain impeller by taking something like a paperclip and poking it into the nozzles to free up whatever’s stuck there. After that, you can run an empty wash cycle, dispelling that buildup from the machine.

However, if this doesn’t work, you can remove the impeller and let it soak in hot soapy water to help break down the stuck-on deposits.

8. Ensure you use the Correct Detergent

When picking a suitable detergent for your dishwasher, it’s important not to substitute a reputable brand for something like dishwasher soap.

Although this can be tempting, as high-quality dishwasher detergent can be pretty expensive, ultimately, it will do more harm than good.

Only buy detergent specifically for automatic dishwashers, and ensure you only use the amount recommended on the instructions on the box/packet.

9.  Re-seat the Check Ball

If the check ball has gotten knocked out of place for some reason, it won’t be able to prevent water from backing up into the machine.

Here it would help if you located the check ball in the drain line entrance, and you can use something like a toothpick or a thin piece of wire to guide it back into place.

If you notice it’s damaged or cracked, you should replace it with a new one.

How to Prevent a KitchenAid Dishwasher from Not Draining

Dealing with a dishwasher that won’t drain can be a headache. How about preventing this issue in the first place? Yes, it is possible when you apply basic regular maintenance. This includes:

1. Regularly clean the drain hose

Every 3 to 5 months, you should remove the drain hose for cleaning. It is recommended to soak it in a drain hose cleaning product or a vinegar solution. Never keep it at a low level. Remember to keep it looped over the back of the appliance.

2. Invest in a dishwasher detergent with enzymes

While being a bit more expensive than regular detergents, a dishwasher detergent with enzymes can significantly reduce the frequency of clogging. These enzymes are effective in breaking down food particles stuck in a dishwasher.

3. Replace the filter

If you don’t clean the filter regularly or use the dishwasher heavily, it’s better to replace the filter every 6 months. In some cases, a heavily clogged filter might not be cleaned. Therefore, regular replacement is a better solution to avoid further loss.

Final Thoughts

By implementing our detailed troubleshooting guide and preventative tips, you can easily overcome the inconvenience of a KitchenAid dishwasher not draining. Always remember that a dishwasher is not a complicated home appliance. You can significantly reduce its problems by applying basic maintenance steps.

So, keeping the filter, hose, valve, and pump free of clogs is mandatory to avoid draining failure and various other serious problems. Also, identifying any usual noises helps in the early diagnosis of draining issues resulting from garbage disposal.

If you are in the market for a new dishwasher and want a thorough comparison between two leading brands such as Bosch and KitchenAid, click here.

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