Our dishwasher, which is only about 5 years old, has been finishing its cycle with quite a bit of water in the bottom that doesn't drain. The water stays that way for several days or more. Is there a Drain-o like product that's safe for use in dishwashers? Or should I take it apart and clean out some filter or something myself? How would I go about doing this?

I should mention that we're pretty bad about carefully rinsing our dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, so I'm pretty sure the problem is with the filter or whatever takes the solid matter out of the drained water. We've been using Cascade Complete, which claims to allow you to skip the rinsing phase, but apparently it doesn't work quite as well as advertised.

4 Answers 4


At the botton of the dishwasher, there's probably a basket-like cover over the drain. You should be able to pop that off, and under there you'll find a nice collection of disgusting bits.

I used a turkey baster to blast a lot of it loose, then scooped the resulting soup into a bucket, but next time I'll just use a wet-dry shop vac.

  • Keeping this drain clear is important for the dishwasher to work well. If it's clogged, the pump can't pull much water & can't build up pressure to clean the dishes.
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Dec 18, 2010 at 16:44
  • Thanks. I just did this, and still no luck. I think the wet-dry shop vac is a very good idea. When I tried to do this by hand, I ended up pushing more of it down the drain past the filter than I was able to get out. Don't have a shop vac yet, but I've been meaning to get one for a while. I'll let you know how that works out. Dec 18, 2010 at 20:52
  • As a last resort, try reaching a finger or two down there - I found one of those plastic bread-bag closers jammed in mine.
    – chris
    Dec 18, 2010 at 21:56

Most dishwashers drain through a connection to the garbage disposal. If the tube that connects the dishwasher to the garbage disposal is clogged, that can cause a problem. It's best to make sure that garbage disposal and kitchen sink drain are clear before and while running the dishwasher.

Also, the dishwasher I had that had this problem would drain out at the beginning of a cycle. After unloading, I would turn it on and listen until I could hear it draining out.


If you've cleaned the drain area (as Chris mentioned), and it is still clogged somewhere, could try an empty cycle with white vinegar, and baking soda, which may soften any clogging gunk. It works for unblocking sinks!


What brand is this? There are a lot of dishwashers(kitchen aid, kenmore and tons of other brands that are made by the same parent company) that are known to have a problem with the impeller blade. It is supposed to chop up stuff before draining but over time it dulls and causes dishwasher to clog up. That also causes standing water as well as poor performance.

If you have such dishwasher then it's a pretty simple fix to replace the chopper and remove food debri.

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