What To Do When Your Whirlpool Dishwasher Is Not Draining

By Cory White
What To Do When Your Whirlpool Dishwasher Is Not Draining

Imagine opening your dishwasher and it’s stuck with water after a wash cycle. The sight isn’t pleasant and the smell isn’t either. The water is dirty and still smelly because it hasn’t yet been drained. Sometimes you can just tell that your dishwasher is not draining by being hit by a bad smell when you open the door of your dishwasher.

Common causes

The most common causes of a dishwasher that isn’t draining include a clogged drain hose, a clogged drain hose, and a clogged filter. 

Common solutions 

Most times you can fix this problem on your own without the help of a technician. You just have to unclog the drain hose or clean the filter and inspect the drain pump very well to make sure it’s working. 

Drain Impeller. 

If you have ensured that your drain hose and your filters are in perfect condition then you need to go deep into your dishwasher and access the drain pump. 

Locate your drain impeller using your whirlpool dishwasher’s user manual.

The drain pump uses a part called the drain impeller that spins to force or rush the dirty water out of the dishwasher and towards the garbage disposer. 

Start a drain cycle carefully because the dishwasher is now opened up. See if the drain impeller is spinning. 

If the impeller is not spinning that means your dishwasher can never drain the water out. 

See that no food particles or debris have nothing is blocking the impeller from spinning. Also, check and make sure that the impeller is not broken. If the impeller is not spinning or it’s broken you might have to replace it. However, before you replace it the problem could be the drain pump.

Drain pump problems.

The drain pump propels water out via the drain hose with the help of a motor that spins the drain impeller. On whirlpool dishwashers, the drain pump is easy to remove. Just turn it anti-clockwise and use a little bit of force to remove it.

First, make sure that there is nothing in the drain pump or around there that is blocking the drain pump from working well. 

Test the motor to check if it’s working.

To do this you need to put the two probes of your multimeter onto the motor. Then look for continuity in the motor. If the motor’s continuity test comes back negative, it’s time to replace it.

Get a new drain pump and put it where the old drain pump was. Simply turn it clockwise. Use a little bit of force and slightly put it there until you hear that it has firmly gone in. 

Now run a drain cycle and see if your pump is working. 

Drain Solenoid Kit

If the drain pump and impeller are alright, that means the dishwasher is capable of pumping out the dirty water. But the dishwasher might fail to open up and let the dirty water out. 

The drain solenoid kit is supposed to make sure that it opens the drain valve so that water can be drained after washing your dishes. 

If the kit is faulty, the drain valve will not be opened when the dishwasher reaches the point of draining the water out. 

Check the solenoid and find out that it is not broken. Replace the faulty kit with one that works if the current kit is broken. 

If you can’t see anything wrong with the solenoid, place the two probes of your multimeter at both ends of the solenoid and test it for continuity. 

If it tests positive, then it’s still working well. 

If it tests negative, it needs to be replaced with a new one that works. 

Drain Valve

If your solenoid kit is working fine then you have to check the drain valve. The drain valve is the component that opens to let dirty water go out of the dishwasher doing the drain cycle. It is controlled by the solenoid kit. 

Use your owner’s manual to check and locate the drain valve. Look out for any physical defects on the drain valve. 

If the drain valve is broken you have to replace it with a new one. You cannot repair it. If the drain valve looks to be in good shape, you can test the drain valve for continuity using a multimeter. 

Place the two pointy ends of your multimeter on both ends of the drain valve to test for continuity. If the drain valve tests positive for continuity then it is fine. If it tests negative for continuity then it is faulty and you have to replace it. You cannot repair a drain valve. 

Pump and Motor Assembly.

In whirlpool dishwashers, the pump and motor assembly contain the most important parts that drain water after a wash cycle. 

As the name goes, it houses the pump and the motor. 

Sometimes you just have to change the entire pump and motor assembly instead of changing individual parts of it. 

If the motor has failed to run during a drain cycle or it makes an unusual sound then you might have to replace the entire pump and motor assembly. 

Clogged or Improperly Installed Garbage Disposer. 

If you have been using your dishwasher for a while, your garbage disposer is likely clogged. This happens because of food particles that get stuck in the garbage disposer and it prevents the water from draining. 

Look inside the sink above the garbage disposer and ensure that there are no food particles or debris that have clogged there. If there are foods particles, remove them and clean the garbage disposal. 

dishwasher maintenance service - repairman checking food residue filters

Also, remove the drain hose part that connects to the garbage disposal and remove any food particles or foreign objects that have clogged up around the inlet of the garbage disposal.

If you have just installed your garbage disposal, you have to make sure that you removed the plug that comes with your new garbage disposal, this plug is installed onto your new garbage disposal to ensure that it remains closed. Many people who install new garbage disposal forget to remove this plug and. If this plug is still in the garbage disposal the dishwasher will fail to drain because the water has nowhere to go.

Check Ball

The check ball is a round ball that is around your check valve. When your dishwasher is in a drain cycle the dirty water goes out of the dishwasher. The dirty water could potentially flow back into the dishwasher and get re-circulated into the dishwasher. Here is where the check ball comes in, the check ball stops and prevents the dirty water from flowing back into the dishwasher. 

Check balls get stuck. If you check ball is getting stuck, it’s not going to be able to perform its function of preventing dirty water from flowing back into the dishwasher. To fix this problem Try to free the check ball and make sure it can do its job. If the check ball continues to be acting this way, you have to remove it and put in a new one. 

Check valve

During a drain cycle, the check valve is also responsible for making sure that the dirty water is not flowing back into the dishwasher.

Check the check valve and ensure that there is no foreign object preventing it from doing its work. 

Clean the check valve and make sure it looks to be in a good condition. 

The check valve can also get stuck.

If the check valve has a physical defect, replace it with a new one. 

The check valve can’t be repaired. 

Drain Hose

The drain hose is the pipe that connects the dishwasher to the garbage disposal. It is a pathway for the dirty water to go from the dishwasher to the garbage disposal. The drain hose will get clogged with food particles and other foreign objects for example teabags but you forgot in your coffee cup.

Unclamp the drain hose from both ends.

Check the drain hose for any clogged materials. 

Clean the drain hose thoroughly well with hot water and soap. If the drain hose is still clogged you can soak it overnight in a mixture of vinegar baking soda and water. 

Water pump belt

Use your dishwasher’s user manual to locate the water pump belt. Look at the water pump belt and check if it is broken. If it’s broken you have to replace it with a new one. You cannot repair a water pump belt. Sometimes the water pump belt can slip off and here, you do not need to replace it with a new one if it has simply just slipped off. The water pump belt is OK and you should just put it back into its correct position and it will function properly again.

The belt can also suffer from the normal wear and tear of machine parts. If it’s worn out, please replace it with a good one. 

Seeking professional help.

If you follow all our steps as described above, your dishwasher should start draining at the end of this troubleshooting guide. But you could get unlucky and it’s still not draining. Call a qualified technician to assist you in checking for the cause of the problem and fixing it. 

Some replacements like replacing a motor and pump assembly require going deep into the dishwasher and removing many different parts. 

If you don’t consider yourself an extreme DIYer you might have to consult a qualified technician to come and do the complicated tasks for you. 


When it comes to whirlpool dishwashers, the problem is most probably going to be a clogged filter, a clogged drain hose, and many others.

We recommend that you clean your filters every week to avoid issues of clogging. 

Regular maintenance will save you a lot of money that you would have used to pay your plumber. 

Also, make sure you clear your dishes of the leftovers before putting them in the machine. This ensures that your dishwasher doesn’t clog up regularly hence it won’t usually have draining issues.

Make sure you follow this guide with your whirlpool dishwasher’s user manual. Most models are similar. But just to be sure you’re doing the right thing, follow the owner’s manual. It will save you from a lot of misleading troubleshooting steps online.

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