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After every cycle of (most) dishwashers, there should be about 2 cups of water in the unit. If there’s overflow in your appliance, you’ll need to do some investigating. The good news is that puddles at the bottom of your dishwasher aren’t necessarily a reason to call a professional repairman. We’ll look at what you can do to get your dishwasher back up and running (without overspending).
Clogs, user error, maintenance issues, broken parts: these are the most common causes of standing water in dishwashers. This means that fixing can be as easy as rinsing off your dishes better or replacing a small (and inexpensive) part. So, if you have too much standing water accumulating in your dishwasher, take these steps:
Even self-cleaning filters will need to be checked every so often to ensure the hoses are intact and the drain basket is empty. If there’s any build-up, it won’t be able to keep the water clean during each wash cycle. Your owner’s manual will have the exact details based on the type of filter you have.
The garbage disposal can have a lot to do with how your dishwasher drains. Removing the knockout plug will allow the water to flow more freely, so there’s less standing water inside. You can do this with nothing more than a hammer, screwdriver, and pliers. Check the drainage hole to see if the plug is there. If it is, use the screwdriver and hammer to remove it.
Not every dishwasher has an air gap, but it’s normal for it to become clogged after a while. If you see a small cylinder that has a protective metal casing, you can use a pipe brush and regular soapy water to clean the inside. You may also need to use a drain snake to ensure the whole pipe is clean.
The drain hose helps keep dirty water out of the dishwasher. If there are any kinks or folds (or if it’s clogged with food), it can cause standing water. To fix it, you’ll need to turn off the power, locate the hose, and check to see that it’s not twisted or clogged. In some cases, you can use your hands to gently untwist it so the water flows freely.
This is unlikely to be the problem, but small bits of food can become lodged in the arm and impede the cleaning process. Cleaning the spray arm is recommended regardless of whether you have standing water, though, and can be done with a toothpick and a combination of water and vinegar.
If all of the above are clear, this is when it’s time to check the drain pump motor, which we don’t recommend you DIY. Sarah’s Appliance Repair is here to help if you need help with getting your dishwasher back up to speed.