Why Does Water Stand in a Dishwasher?

Jul 19, 2023, 17:27pm

Sometimes your dishwasher can no longer drain properly, stagnant water remains at the bottom of the dishwasher tub, sometimes mixed with salt. In most cases, this drainage problem can be because of an object stuck in your machine or too much limescale buildup.

If you notice that there is still water at the bottom of your dishwasher, you will therefore have to determine where exactly the fault is coming from by checking several elements. This drain problem in your dishwasher can be solved by testing these parts:

  • the drain siphon, the pipe,
  • the filter
  • the non-return valve
  • the dishwasher drain pump.

This will provide an answer to your problem of draining stagnant water from the machine and will allow you to unclog a dishwasher full of water at the end of the wash cycle.

Finding standing water in your dishwasher after a cycle can be frustrating and concerning. A properly functioning dishwasher should drain all the water at the end of each wash cycle. If water remains in the dishwasher, it may indicate an underlying issue that needs attention. In this article, we will explore some common reasons why water may stand in a dishwasher and provide guidance on how to address them.

Why Does Water Stand in a Dishwasher?

1. Clogged Drainage System

A clogged drainage system is one of the most common reasons for standing water in a dishwasher. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Inspect the Drain Basket: Remove the dishwasher’s bottom rack and locate the drain basket or filter. Check for any debris, food particles, or other objects that may be blocking the drainage system. Clean the drain basket thoroughly.
  2. Clear the Drain Hose: The drain hose is responsible for carrying water from the dishwasher to the sink or garbage disposal. Ensure that the drain hose is not kinked, twisted, or clogged. Use a long brush or wire to clear any blockages.
  3. Check the Garbage Disposal: If your dishwasher is connected to a garbage disposal, make sure it is clear and functioning properly. Run the disposal to clear any blockages that may be affecting drainage.

2. Malfunctioning Dishwasher Pump

A malfunctioning dishwasher pump can prevent proper water drainage. Consider the following steps:

  1. Test the Dishwasher Pump: Start a new wash cycle and listen for the sound of the dishwasher pump. If you don’t hear any noise or the pump sounds weak, it may indicate a malfunction. In such cases, it’s best to consult a professional technician to diagnose and repair the pump.
  2. Clean the Dishwasher Pump: If the pump is accessible, remove any debris or blockages that may be obstructing its operation. Refer to the dishwasher’s manual for specific instructions on accessing and cleaning the pump.

3. Defective Drain Solenoid or Motor

A defective drain solenoid or motor can prevent the dishwasher from draining properly. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Test the Drain Solenoid: Consult the dishwasher’s manual to locate the drain solenoid. Test the solenoid using a multimeter to check if it is receiving the correct electrical signal. If it’s not functioning correctly, it may need to be replaced.
  2. Check the Drain Motor: The drain motor is responsible for pumping the water out of the dishwasher. Inspect the motor for any signs of damage or wear. If the motor is defective, it may need to be replaced.

4. Blocked Air Gap or Check Valve

An air gap or check valve prevents water from flowing back into the dishwasher. If these components become blocked, it can cause water to stand in the dishwasher. Consider the following steps:

  1. Check the Air Gap: The air gap is usually located on the countertop or sink and prevents backflow of water. Remove the air gap cover and clean out any debris or buildup.
  2. Inspect the Check Valve: The check valve prevents water from flowing back into the dishwasher. Inspect the valve for any blockages or damage. Clean or replace the check valve if necessary.


  • Check the water supply from the tap: see if it is strong enough or blocked.
  • Check the back of the appliance to make sure the water supply and drain hoses are tight. Indeed, over time, pipes can dry out and crack, especially a drain pipe that is exposed to heat and detergents. Start the program, then cancel it, finally select the drain or spin program only. Check the tightness of the pipes, if necessary, you can help yourself with a flashlight.
  • Also check if the hose is kinked, in which case your machine will not fill with water.
  • Don’t forget to check the siphon. Run the program, cancel it and run a drain only cycle. Perform this operation while watching the siphon: if you see a lot of water flowing out, then it is clogged and is to blame for the breakdown.

Why Does Water Stand in a Dishwasher?


The filter is located at the bottom of the tank, it allows the water to circulate properly. If the latter is clogged, water will not be drawn in by the circulation pump and the wash arms will not rotate due to low water pressure.

There is no need to use any particular product: you can use a toothbrush and blot it under water to clean it. If it is too dirty or clogged, you can leave a mixture of baking soda and boiling water in the filter hole at the bottom of the tank.

There may also be salt residues at the bottom of the tank: clean them with a damp sponge before replacing the filter.

In conclusion, standing water in a dishwasher can be caused by a clogged drainage system, malfunctioning dishwasher pump, defective drain solenoid or motor, or blocked air gap or check valve. By following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article, you can identify and resolve many of these issues. However, if the problem persists or you are uncertain about performing any repairs yourself, it is best to consult a professional technician for further assistance. They will have the expertise to diagnose the underlying cause of the standing water and provide the appropriate repair solution, ensuring your dishwasher drains properly after every cycle.