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Why Isn’t My Dishwasher Draining All The Way?

Many people can’t live without their dishwashers. They run them every day so they don’t have to spend time at the end of a long day elbow deep in sudsy water. Just like with any appliance, something can go awry with your dishwasher.

If your dishwasher drain in Toronto isn’t draining all the way, it can result in time-consuming and costly repairs. You can be without your dishwasher for days. However, a dishwasher not draining properly is a common problem plumber runs into and something you can attempt to remedy before calling in a professional.

In this guide, we’ll go over the various reasons why your dishwasher isn’t draining and ways you can fix the problem.

Your Garbage Disposal Is Clogged

garbage disposal mounts underneath your sink. It’s designed to gather solid food waste into its grinding chamber. When the disposal is turned on, the spinning disc turns quickly, forcing the food against the outer wall.

The food is then pulverized into small pieces. Those bits get flushed with water through small holes in the chamber wall.

Your dishwasher has a drain hose, and it empties into the drain of your garbage disposal. If the garbage disposal contains food that hasn’t been ground up, it can result in the dishwasher not draining properly. Run your garbage disposal to see if that helps your dishwasher drain again.

A good habit to implement is leaving your water on and letting the garbage disposal run 10 to 15 seconds after all the food has rinsed out. This will help clear out any remaining food particles in the P-trap.

Garbage disposals are good for clearing out food waste, but there are some things you shouldn’t put down your garbage disposal. This includes:

  • Potato peels
  • Fibrous or tough food scraps
  • Oil
  • Grease
  • Pits
  • Hard objects

If your dishwasher won’t drain even after you run your garbage disposal, there can be another issue.

Check Your Sink’s Air Gap

A sink or dishwasher air gap is an important part of your kitchen’s plumbing. It’s a small cylinder that’s close to your kitchen sink’s faucet, and it has a few holes in it. Dirty water sometimes drains back into your dishwasher, and the air gap prevents that.

As your dishwasher pumps out dirty water, it goes through a drain line and then into the dishwasher air gap. It protects you and anyone in your home from the contaminated water inside of your dishwasher. You don’t want the dirty water mixing with the clean water.

Sometime’s air gaps aren’t on the counter or even in your house at all. There may be a high loop underneath your sink that connects through a garbage disposal. It serves the same purpose as an air gap.

While the air gap is supposed to flush out dirty water, it can sometimes get clogged with food particles and other debris. This can result in your dishwasher not draining properly.

To check if this is the cause of your problems, remove it by twisting the sink air gap counterclockwise. Check it for any debris and remove it if necessary. You can clean it with a stiff brush. After you do that, run your dishwasher and see if that’s fixed the issue.

Clean up Detergent

Dishwasher detergent has to clean a lot. It has to remove baked or dried foods from dishes while leaving your glasses film and spot-free. Finding a quality detergent that does all of those things can be difficult.

You also have to use high-quality detergents in your dishwasher. Low-quality ones can result in clogs in your dishwasher drain.

They need to cut through all of the leftover food particles without producing any suds. Using regular dishwashing liquid can create so many suds that your dishwasher doesn’t drain properly.

Thinking about substituting laundry detergent when you’re out of dishwasher detergent? That can cause the same issue.

If your dishwasher is clogged due to detergent, follow these steps to clean it out:

  • Put towels on the ground around the base of your dishwasher
  • Remove the bottom dish tray
  • Scoop out the dirty water with a plastic cup and dump it into a bucket
  • Sop up the remaining water with towels
  • Run your dishwasher again with the correct detergent

All detergents aren’t created equal. If you’re in a bind and need to run your dishwasher, don’t use anything else. You’ll end up causing more issues and have to clean up a big mess.

Clean Out the Drain Basket

On the bottom of the inside of your dishwasher is a drain basket. The cover of it looks like a basket that’s upside down. It’s usually held in its place with a few screws or it snaps off.

If the bottom of your dishwasher doesn’t look like that, look at your owner’s manual. You’ll want to make sure you access the drain basket the right way without damaging anything.

To clean it out, you’ll start off by removing the cover. You can check for any food or debris buildup in the basket underneath. You can use a spoon or your hand to remove it.

Put the cover back on and run your dishwasher once it’s cleaned out. If you notice there’s a lot of food in the basket, pre-rinse your dishes more before you put them in your dishwasher. Some modern dishwashers are better equipped to pulverize food into smaller pieces, but not all of them.

There May Be Issues With Your Drain Hose

The drain hose is the ribbed, lightweight hose that connects the drain pump to the air gap or garbage disposal. If there are issues with it, it can result in your dishwasher struggling to properly drain.

Check It for Kinks

If the drain hose is kinked, it won’t properly drain. Something heavy or large could’ve been shoved under the sink, getting in the way of the hose. Look under your sink to see if that’s the problem.

If you do find that it is kinked, attempt to straighten it out yourself. A common problem is that once a drain hose is kinked, it’ll kink again in the same spot. You may consider replacing the hose if that continues to happen.

Replace Your Drain Hose

Replacing your dishwasher hose isn’t a difficult thing to fix yourself, but you can call residential plumbing services in Toronto if you’re not comfortable. To do it yourself, you can expect to do the following steps:

  • Unplug your dishwasher
  • Slide it out
  • Disconnect the old drain hose from the pump and garbage disposal/air gap
  • Attach the new drain hose the same way
  • Review the owner’s manual to make sure you bought the right one

A qualified plumbing service can replace your drain hose for you at an affordable rate and in no time at all. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Check for Clogs

The dishwasher’s drain hose can become clogged with debris or food sludge. To thoroughly check it for a clog, you’ll have to remove the lower front panel of your dishwasher. Then, you’ll need to find the place where the hose attaches to the dishwasher’s drain pump.

The next step is to unplug the dishwasher. Put towels underneath the dishwasher before removing the lower front panel. You might have to take out a few screws, but most front panels snap off.

Disconnect the drain hose from the pump. You can review the proper way to do that in your owner’s manual.

Blow through the hose to check for clogs. If no air passes through, you likely have a clog. If the clog is close to the end of the drain hose, you can try to take it out with a thin object like a pencil.

If it’s not at that end, you’ll then have to remove the other side of the hose to check that end. The clog may be stuck deeper into the hose. At that point, you’d likely have to replace the entire hose.

Don’t try to clean it out with a plumber’s snake. Dishwasher hoses can be punctured.

Call a Licensed Plumber

Your dishwasher failing to drain properly can be a result of one of the above issues and fixed yourself. If you’ve tried some of the above options and it still isn’t draining, it’s time to call a plumber. It could be a result of a faulty timer, motherboard, or pump.

Contact Anta Plumbing and Drain in Toronto

While there may be some plumbing problems you can remedy on your own, don’t hesitate to contact a residential plumbing service. Figuring out why your dishwasher drain in Toronto isn’t draining can be a difficult task, especially if you’re not well versed in your kitchen’s plumbing.

Anta Plumbing and Drain is here to help. We can assist you with your plumbing emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact us today.

Written by Tanya Klien

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