Standing Water In Dishwasher

by Dave The Handyman on December 24, 2009

Lemme guess, you keep opening up your dishwasher, and you know that they last time you peeked inside there was no water left, but you keep seeing standing water in the dishwasher, don’t you? Well there are a few reasons why this happens, as I have dealt with this problem literally hundreds of times, and I do one thing to get rid of standing water in dishwasher once and for all, and let me tell you that it works about 95% of the time. Most of the time your problem is that the drain hose is not mounted properly, which if you know a thing or two about the gravity of water and how it flows, when you run water from your sink, your dishwasher is going to fill up with water unless you have the drain line mounted above where the water fills up. Look at this picture for example, this is a dishwasher that always seemed to have standing water in it, even when it was not in use.

dishwasher-drain-line-wrongNow in case you did not know your drain line is coming out of the garbage disposal here, right above the white piping which is the drain line for the sink. When the dishwasher goes through the drain cycle, it will drain the water into the garbage disposal using the motor, the way that this is set up, not all of the water is going to get drained properly and some will go back inside of the dishwasher. Also, if you are running the water in the sink, there is a good amount that is going to go down that drain line, as this is how gravity works. All we have to do to fix this is mount the dishwasher drain line, above the garbage disposal, where most of the water accumulates at from both the drain cycling and using the kitchen faucet to rinse dishes or whatever. This is how the dishwasher drain line should be mounted so that there will no longer be any standing water in dishwasher.

dishwasher-drain-line-rightNow this will prevent dirty water from going back into the dishwasher. What I used to mount the line was a piece of metal stripping and two screws into the wall. You do not necessarily have to use the exact same thing as I did, but it was the only thing that I had on hand at the time. Many new dishwasher drain hoses come with a plastic loop around the hose that has a hole in it, guess what that is used for, mounting the dishwasher line! As I said, whenever I get a service request about standing water in dishwasher, this solves the problem 95% of the time.

Now there is one more thing wrong with this dishwasher drain line that could potentially cause a problem in the future, can anyone see what it is?

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Margarita Vanegas March 24, 2010 at 1:49 am

I am trying this right now. We don’t really use our dishwasher and I noticed a foul smelling odor and saw the water in the dishwasher. I found a plastic garbage tie and attached it to one of those plastic hooks and mounted it as high as I could slip the tie to so it looks like your pic. I am running an empty dishwasher hoping it works-

anthony May 30, 2010 at 12:58 am

Did it work for you,because i am having same problem..afraid of water running out on my wood floors.

Nick June 10, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Kinked inlet hose close at disposal side!??

TA July 10, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Spray washer hose, (weighted), is in the wrong place. It appears that it will catch on the shutoff valve on the hot water supply when you attempt to use it. You may have a limited length of hose that will reduce the range in the use of the sprayer.

Chuck September 19, 2010 at 4:42 am

Our dishwasher drain pump doesn’t run long enough to drain the unit. I have to dial it to the drain cycle two or three additional times to get most of the water out. Is there a way of adjusting the time the pump runs?


Camille November 4, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Hubby and I are going to try this tonight. I’ll be heading to Home Depot for some screws and something to mount the pipe with. We just moved into our new house. Ah, the adventures in home ownership!

Larry July 20, 2011 at 1:36 am

@Chuck: Check if there’s an obstruction in the drainline. If it won’t drain completely it will also rinse your dishes with dirty water!

Lorri August 12, 2011 at 6:15 pm

wow this helped alot …I fixed that part which was standing water in bottom of dishwasher, but small leak between the front 2 panels toward bottom of dishwasher..(need new seal?)

Henry Harris December 19, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Good, easy to understand explanation. Thanks!

Ron December 26, 2011 at 2:11 am

My dishwasher is not connected to the garbage disposial, it goes right into the sink drain, but the drain hose is located at the very top
and the water has to drain down to the sink drain. How do i fix that.

JWK Inspections January 16, 2012 at 1:59 am

Actualy your second photo that says, “This is Right”, is not technically right. High loop should be attached to the bottom of the counter not just from it.
Technicality here, yes but that’s the rule. :-D

Glen Kathe January 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm

I have a Maytag dishwasher that was installed 10-7-03 and it will not drain causing water to run onto my wood floor. Is it possible that my drain motor is not working, and if so is there a fuse for this that I can check ?

EnquiringMinds July 24, 2012 at 5:04 am

That was very nice of Margarita to write a reply to say she was in the middle of running her test wash and then disappear for good… instead of just waiting another 30 minutes to tell everyone for years to come how it all worked out. Common sense is so old fashioned.

James Brown November 19, 2015 at 10:37 pm


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