Troubleshooting a Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Draining

Authorized Service
March 6, 2024
Dishwasher Repair

If your Whirlpool dishwasher isn’t draining, your first instinct might be to contact an appliance technician. There are, however, many things a DIYer can do at home before taking this step—you may be able to get your dishwasher working again without even spending a cent! 

This guide walks you through some simple causes and solutions for a Whirlpool dishwasher that isn’t draining. Read on to find out what to do. 

This guide applies to all major models of Whirlpool dishwashers, including:






















Blocked filter

Dishwasher filters capture food particles and other pieces of debris to prevent them from entering the dishwasher’s internal mechanisms. If you don’t clean the filter regularly, it can get completely blocked, which contributes to drainage issues. If this is your issue, you may see visible debris building up around the filter, notice an odor coming from the filter, or extra water pooling in your dishwasher. 

To fix this:

  • Locate the filter—you’ll need to pull out the bottom dish rack to get access. 
  • Remove the filter—in most models, they can be removed with a simple twisting motion. 
  • Thoroughly clean the filter under running water in your kitchen sink. Use a soft scrubbing brush to remove any stubborn residue. If there is a buildup of grime that is proving hard to remove, soak the filter in warm, soapy water for half an hour then try again. 
  • Thoroughly rinse the filter, then return it to its original position. 
  • Run a cycle in your Whirlpool dishwasher to ensure the drainage issue is fixed. 

Blocked drain hose

The drain hose removes dirty water from your dishwasher and channels it into your household drainage system. If the hose is blocked by debris, or if the hose is kinked, water won’t be able to drain properly, which can lead to pooling. Another sign of a drainage hose issue is a loud noise when your dishwasher is on the drainage part of the cycle. This indicates the machine is struggling to drain. 

To fix this issue:

  • Disconnect your dishwasher from the power and pull it away from the wall, so you can access the drain hose. 
  • Check the drain hose for obvious kinks or bends. If you see any kinks, straighten them out—this may be enough to fix the drainage issue. 
  • If you can’t see any kinks, check for clogs or blockages. Disconnect the drain hose from both ends, making sure you have towels on hand to catch any water that spills out. 
  • Straighten out the hose and flush it with water to unclog any debris. 
  • Once the water is flowing freely, replace the drain hose and run a test cycle to make sure it’s draining properly once again. 

Clogged garbage disposal

In some dishwasher setups, the garbage disposal unit and dishwasher share a drain. If this is the case with your Whirlpool dishwasher, the clogged garbage disposal can prevent your dishwasher from draining. Signs of this include an unpleasant smell coming from the garbage disposal, and you’ll hear a loud noise when your dishwasher is trying to drain. 

To fix this:

  • Turn off your garbage disposal.
  • Use a flashlight to look into the disposal to check for debris. 
  • Use a tool such as pliers to remove any debris from the blades. Never, ever put your hand into a garbage disposal, as this can cause serious injury. 
  • Once you’ve cleared any obvious blockages, run cold water down the dispenser and turn the garbage disposal on, until water is flowing freely down the disposal. 
  • Try running a test cycle with your dishwasher to make sure the drainage issue is fixed. 

Air gap issues

An essential component of some dishwasher setups is the air gap, which prevents dirty water from back flowing into the dishwasher. If there is an issue with the air gap, water from the garbage disposal can flow into the dishwasher, leading to pooling water and an unpleasant smell. Another sign of an air gap issue is a bubbling or gurgling sound during drainage. 

To resolve this issue:

  • Turn off the dishwasher.
  • Find the air gap. It will be a small, plastic cylinder, usually placed on the top of your sink or kitchen counter. 
  • Remove the air gap cover and check for any blockages or debris.
  • Check the hoses that connect to the air gap, ensuring they are unblocked and free of debris. 
  • Once everything has been cleaned and cleared, put it all back together and run a test cycle to check if the draining issue is fixed. 

Blocked drain pump impeller

A drain pump is responsible for pumping dirty water out of your Whirlpool dishwasher interior. If it’s faulty or blocked, water won’t be properly expelled, which leads to pooling. If you’ve eliminated all other issues, and you notice an unusual noise during the drain cycle, the drain pump could be the culprit. 

To check the drain pump:

  • Disconnect the dishwasher from the power supply. 
  • Access the drain pump. Refer to your Whirlpool manual for specific instructions that apply to your model. In many cases, this will be located at the bottom front of the dishwasher, behind the kickplate. 
  • Once you’ve located the drain pump, check the impeller for debris. It’s common for things like broken crockery or cherry pits to get stuck in the impeller, which can affect drainage. 
  • If there are no obvious blockages, use a multimeter to check for continuity. If there is no continuity, this indicates a problem with the pump, and you’ll need to replace it. 
  • Purchase a replacement pump, ensuring it’s compatible with your model of Whirlpool dishwasher. Follow the instructions in your manual to put the new pump in place.
  • Restore the power to your dishwasher, then run a test cycle to ensure that your Whirlpool dishwasher is now draining properly.

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