Is standing water at the bottom of dishwasher normal? Is this to keep up seal pressure? I want to make sure this is not unsafe.


Standing water in the bottom of the dish washer after a cleaning cycle is complete is NOT normal. After the wash/rinse cycle and the pump out your dishwasher not have water in it.

Standing water could be due to number of problems. I'll list out some of the things to check on.

1) There is a possibility that the filter screen in the bottom of your washer is mostly plugged up and not allowing the water to drain down into the pump. Clean it and try another wash.

2) Many dishwashers are installed with an air gap assembly at the kitchen counter level. These are designed to keep the sink drain from siphoning or draining back down into the dishwasher. Sometimes things from the dishwasher can get up into the air-gap and plug it and thus impeded the drainage of the dishwasher.

3) Your washer could be old and tired from washing countless loads of dishes. The pump unit in the bottom that drains the water out can sometimes fail and need replacement.

4) With some older style dishwashers that have the rotary timer knob it is possible that some electrical contacts in the timer mechanism get burned and make certain parts of the wash cycle not work correctly. This could be causing the drain pump to not be running when it is supposed to. Replacement of the timer would be the fix for this.

Note that dirty food bearing water left standing the bottom of the dishwasher could be a spawning ground for all kinds of nasty and unhealthy things. Can also leave something to be desired about the quality of the wash job it will do on your next load of dishes. So for the health of you and your family it is a good thing you are looking into this problem.

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  • Most likely, IMO, is the float that tells the dishwasher if there is water present. Maybe a fork or something fell down and is jamming it. – Steve Wellens Feb 9 at 5:34

Check your manual!

It should say. My dishwasher specifically states that there should always be a small amount of water remaining in the dishwasher, and if there isn't (say during first run after installation) you should add several cups of water.

enter image description here Source:GE Dishwasher manual (PDF)

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  • 3
    Yes, found this in my GE manual as well, and this is the most idiotic thing, because the shroud over the drain is a perfectly protected moist area with lots of nooks for huge colonies of mold to form. – AaronLS May 3 '15 at 21:53

In addition to what Michael mentioned, also check:

  1. The drain hose - look for any kinks, sharp bends, etc.
  2. Is the dishwasher level?
  3. If your dishwasher is connected to a garbage disposal, that the garbage disposal is not clogged
  4. Does your dishwasher finish the entire cycle correctly?

You can check #3 and the rest of the drain by running water in your sink - ensure that it drains correctly and quickly. If it is slow then there might be a clog further down the line which could result in the dishwasher not fully emptying.

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I have a GE GSD3210Z02AA dishwasher. Observed water at the bottom up to around the screen. After cleaning out the filter screen, cleaned the food chopper as well. It had some stuff winded around it, which was difficult to clean with a paper clip and stuff. Anyway, re-attached everything back and ran a wash cycle. At the end of the cycle found water sitting at the bottom of the tub, around the screen again. Now, after a careful review of the Owner's manual, I find that "It is normal" and "a small amount of clean water around the outlet on the tub bottom at the back of the tub keeps the water seal lubricated" (excerpts from the manual).

So, there you have it. It is normal to have a little water at the bottom of the tub to keep the water seal lubricated. Please check your Owner's Manual before you decide to do anything with the dishwasher.

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