Dishwasher Not Draining and Smells: Here’s How to Fix It

If you just searched “dishwasher not draining and smells”, rest assured you’re not alone. This common problem can be surprisingly easy to fix, provided you follow the right steps. In this guide, we’ll walk you through a detailed, step-by-step process to solve the issue.

Dishwasher Not Draining and Smells
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Problem 1: Clogged Filter

A common reason for a dishwasher not draining and smelling bad is a clogged filter. Accumulated debris and food particles can make your dishwasher inefficient and smelly. Don’t worry, though; here’s how to clean it in detail.

Step 1: Turn off the Dishwasher and Unplug It

First and foremost, for your safety, turn off the dishwasher. Make sure to unplug it from the electrical outlet to avoid any electrical hazards.

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Step 2: Open the Dishwasher and Locate the Filter

Open the dishwasher door and pull out the bottom rack to make space for your work. You’ll typically find the filter at the bottom center or corner of the dishwasher. Check your manual for specific information.

Step 3: Remove the Filter

Grasp the filter handle and twist it counter-clockwise. Some models might have clips or screws, so keep an eye out for those and use a screwdriver if necessary.

Step 4: Rinse the Filter

Hold the filter under a strong stream of warm water. You may use a soft brush to gently scrub away any remaining debris. Avoid using any abrasive cleaners or brushes, as these can damage the filter.

Step 5: Replace the Filter and Run a Test Cycle

Once the filter is clean, place it back into its original position and twist it clockwise to secure it. Plug the dishwasher back in and run a short test cycle to make sure the water drains correctly and that the smell has dissipated.

Problem 2: Stuck Drain Pump

A stuck drain pump can prevent the dishwasher from draining water, leading to a pool of water at the bottom and a bad smell. Here’s how to deal with it.

Step 1: Unplug the Dishwasher

As with any electrical appliance, safety comes first. Unplug your dishwasher from the electrical outlet before starting.

Step 2: Locate the Drain Pump

You will usually find the drain pump at the bottom of the dishwasher. This might require you to tilt the dishwasher or remove a panel. Refer to your dishwasher’s manual for specific instructions.

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Step 3: Check for Obstructions

Wear gloves for this step. Check inside the drain pump and surrounding areas for obstructions like food particles, glass shards, or other debris.

Step 4: Remove Obstructions

Use tweezers or needle-nose pliers to remove any visible obstructions carefully. Make sure to get all the corners and hidden spots.

Step 5: Run a Test Cycle

After you’ve cleared any obstructions, put everything back in place, plug the dishwasher in, and run a test cycle. If the dishwasher drains correctly and the smell has gone away, you’ve successfully solved the problem.

Problem 3: Faulty Drain Hose

When your dishwasher is not draining and smells, a faulty drain hose could be the cause. A blocked or damaged hose can prevent water from draining out of the dishwasher, leading to stagnant water and unpleasant odors.

Step 1: Unplug the Dishwasher and Turn Off the Water Supply

Firstly, ensure the dishwasher is unplugged from the electrical socket. Also, turn off the water supply valve usually located under the sink to prevent any water leakage during the process.

Step 2: Detach the Hose from the Dishwasher and Sink

The drain hose is generally attached to the rear of the dishwasher at one end and to the sink’s drain or garbage disposal at the other. Using pliers, loosen the hose clamps and gently pull the hose away from both ends.

Step 3: Inspect the Hose for Clogs

Once the hose is detached, inspect it for any clogs or obstructions. Sometimes, you can clear out a clog by blowing air through the hose or by using a plumber’s snake.

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Step 4: Replace if Needed

If you find that the hose is damaged, acquire a new hose from a trusted appliance store. Ensure it is compatible with your dishwasher model.

Step 5: Reattach the Hose and Run a Test Cycle

Reattach the hose to the dishwasher and the sink or garbage disposal. Tighten the hose clamps securely with pliers. After everything is reconnected, plug the dishwasher back in, turn on the water supply, and run a test cycle to ensure the issue is resolved.

Problem 4: Bad Odor

A bad odor coming from your dishwasher is not only unpleasant but may also indicate underlying issues. Here’s how to freshen up your appliance.

Step 1: Run a Cycle with Dishwasher Cleaner or White Vinegar

Start by running an empty dishwasher cycle with dishwasher cleaner or white vinegar. These agents can effectively neutralize odors and break down food particles and grease. Simply place a cup of white vinegar on the top rack and run a full cycle.

Step 2: Check for Trapped Food Particles

After the cleaning cycle, inspect the dishwasher for trapped food particles. These are often found in corners, around the drain, and under the bottom rack. Remove these particles carefully to prevent them from decaying and causing a stench.

Step 3: Regularly Clean the Seals and Door Edges

Over time, grime and food residue can accumulate on the rubber seals and door edges of your dishwasher. Wipe these areas with a damp cloth and mild detergent at least once a month to maintain a fresh-smelling dishwasher.

For more articles on dishwashers, click here: Dishwasher Problems and Solutions: Your Ultimate Guide to Hassle-free Dishwashing

Conclusion: Dishwasher Not Draining and Smells

Dealing with a dishwasher that’s not draining and smells can be a frustrating experience, but these issues are often solvable with a systematic approach.

Whether it’s a clogged filter, a stuck drain pump, a faulty drain hose, or a persistent bad odor, each problem has a set of manageable steps that can guide you towards resolution.

It’s crucial to adhere to these steps carefully and not to skip any, as each contributes to the efficient functioning and cleanliness of your dishwasher.

In cases where these troubleshooting steps don’t resolve the issue, it’s advisable to consult with a qualified appliance repair technician for a more in-depth diagnosis and solution.