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GE Dishwasher Not Draining

Dishwashers have become an everyday necessity in most homes, particularly if you are feeding lots of people. When the dishwasher cannot drain, this not only leaves you with dirty dishes, but you also have to deal with a decent amount of dirty water as well. If you have had this experience with your GE dishwasher, this article provides a number of solutions you can try.

A GE dishwasher not draining may have a blocked drain filter or sump area. Over time, food debris and particles can accumulate and block the filter, preventing water from draining out. Cleaning the filter and sump area by removing the bottom rack and accessing the filter assembly should resolve the issue.

Repairman fixing dishwasher

Another possible reason for a GE dishwasher not draining is a kinked or obstructed drain hose. This can occur if the dishwasher has been moved or installed improperly. Straighten out any kinks and remove any clogs found in the hose to allow water to flow freely to the drain.

I will explain each of these issues in more detail throughout this article, including what you can do to fix them. I have also included how you can manually remove excess, undrained water from your dishwasher.

GE Dishwasher Not Draining

There are quite a few reasons why your GE dishwasher drain may not be working. If you are finding that it is not draining at all or is not draining completely, below are a number of possible reasons. I will explain these in more detail further down.

· Blocked drain pipe

· Blocked dishwasher filter

· Damaged or blocked pump assembly

· Too much detergent being used

Sometimes the water will drain from the dishwasher, but then there is still water accumulating in the dishwasher after the cycle is complete. This usually means that the water is being pumped out and then flowing back into the dishwasher. Below are the main causes for this.

· No high loop or air gap along the drain pipe

· The air gap is clogged

You also might like the article GE Dishwasher not starting or If you have a different brand dishwasher please check out our dishwasher not draining article for other brands.

GE Dishwasher Not Draining Completely

Dishwasher drain clog

It is normal to have a small amount of water remaining in the dishwasher after a cycle. This is designed to prevent the sump assembly from drying out and cracking. Normally, this water will be drained immediately prior to the next cycle.

This water is left over from the rinse cycle of the dishwasher. For this reason, it should appear clean and there should only be approximately one cup of residual water.

If there is more than this amount or the water appears to be dirty, you dishwasher may not be draining completely. Below is a more detailed explanation of the reasons why this may be happening.

Clogged Drain Pipe

The drain pipe could have a blockage at any point along its length, including in the plumbing for your sink. Normally the dishwasher drain pump will force the water out of the dishwasher, through the drain pipe, and into the sink’s drainage system. If there is a blockage, this water will not run through the pipe and will remain in the dishwasher.

First, you should determine if the blockage is in the dishwasher’s drain pipe or in the sink’s drainage system. This can be determined by emptying water into the sink. If the water does not drain away, you may need a plumber to find the blockage in your pipes.

If the water drains freely, the blockage will be in the dishwasher drain pipe. Blockages are completely repairable and relatively easy to remove. You can find these steps below.

Keep in mind that kinks in the drain pipe can also cause a blockage. You should also check that the drain pipe is straight enough to allow water to flow freely before assuming there is a blockage.

Step 1: Turn off the dishwasher at the power.

Step 2: Turn off the water supply.

Step 3: Unscrew the dishwasher from the bench to pull it out.

Step 4: Unscrew the clamp on the drain hose at both ends.

Step 5: Clear any debris from the drain connection point either end.

Step 6: Clear the pipe by flushing it with water or a drain cleaner.

Step 7: Reattach the drain pipe at both ends with the clamps.

Step 8: Secure the dishwasher under the bench with screws.

Step 9: Turn on the water and power.

Blocked Dishwasher Filter

All water in your dishwasher will pass through a filtration system before entering the pump. This protects the pump from becoming blocked with food debris. However, your dishwasher’s filter can also become blocked with food debris in the bottom of the dishwasher.

This is why your instruction manual will recommend regularly cleaning your dishwasher filter. Depending on how much the dishwasher is used and whether the dishes are rinsed beforehand, you should clean the filter anywhere between weekly and yearly.

A blocked filter is also very easy to fix, and the dishwasher should drain normally once this has been cleared. Follow the steps below to clean your dishwasher filter.

Step 1: Remove the bottom rack of your dishwasher.

Step 2: Turn the filter, located at the bottom of the dishwasher, anticlockwise to remove it.

Step 3: Separate the filter components.

Step 4: Remove any large debris using a paper towel.

Step 5: Wash each filter basket with warm soapy water and a soft brush to remove smaller food debris from the filters.

Step 6: Once clean, reassemble the filter baskets and lock them back into the bottom of the dishwasher.

Damaged or Blocked Pump

Although the filter will remove most debris from the water before entering the pump, fine debris can still build up in the pump housing and cause a blockage. Lime scale can also build up over time. In order to clean the pump, you will need to follow the steps below.

Step 1: Turn off the power and water to your dishwasher.

Step 2: Unscrew the dishwasher from its brackets to pull out from under the bench.

Step 3: Follow the drain pipe to locate the pump underneath the dishwasher

Step 4: Unscrew the clamp to remove the drain pipe from the pump.

Step 5: Remove the second clamp securing the pump to the dishwasher.

Step 6: Remove the pump and rinse with water and a sponge, removing any food debris in the process.

Step 7: Reassemble the pump and drain pipe with their clamps.

Step 8: Return and secure the dishwasher under the bench.

Step 9: Turn on the power and water supply.

Unfortunately, if the pump is damaged, you will need to order a new one. This is because a repaired pump has a very short life expectancy and therefore it is not worth the money.

Too much Detergent Being Used

Sometimes using too much detergent can also reduce the effectiveness of the drain pump, leaving dirty residue or residual water in the dishwasher’s tub. Make sure you are following the GE detergent recommendations for your particular dishwasher model.

The hardness of the water may also affect how much detergent is required. If you have hard water, you will need more detergent. Your water supplier should be able to tell you if the local water supply is hard or soft.


A GE dishwasher not filling with water may be due to a faulty water inlet valve. This valve opens to allow water to enter the dishwasher and can become stuck or fail altogether. To fix this issue, check the valve for blockages and ensure it’s receiving power. If it’s clear and still not working, replacing the valve should solve the problem.

GE Dishwasher Not Draining After Cycle Ends

Repairman troubleshooting broken dishwasher

Because your dishwasher sits on the ground, dirty water needs to be pumped up, against gravity, into the main drain line under the sink. To prevent the water flowing back into the dishwasher with gravity, there needs to be an air gap or a high loop installed in the drain pipe. I will explain this below.

No High Loop or Air Gap

A ‘high loop’ refers to the loop in the drain pipe that is located at the highest point under the sink. This loop needs to be higher than the connection point to the sink drain is that water does not drain back into the dishwasher with gravity.

Similarly, an air gap is a component used along the dishwasher drain line that introduces fresh air into the drain system. This prevents negative pressure from sucking the water back into the dishwasher.

A dishwasher does not have to have both of these systems, and it is more common to have a high loop than an air gap. However, if you do not have either of these systems in place, you will have water fill the dishwasher after the cycle is complete.

An air gap needs to be installed when the dishwasher is installed and it hard to retro-fit. However, a high loop is an easy way to solve this problem. Simply secure part of the drain pipe (closest to the sink drain) to the roof of the bench cabinet to create a loop that extends higher than the connection point.

Air Gap is Blocked

A blocked air gap will have the same effect as not having an air gap or high loop. This creates a backflow of water into the dishwasher. For this reason, you should regularly clean out your air gap (if you have one) by removing the cap.

GE Dishwasher Not Draining and Burning Smell

Male fixing dishwasher door

If you notice a burning smell and your dishwasher is not draining, this indicates that the motor for the pump is burning out. Without the motor, the pump cannot remove water from the dishwasher tub. Unfortunately, this requires a replacement pump.

GE Dishwasher Won’t Drain Grinding Noise

You will hear a grinding sound from your dishwasher when there is no water running through the pump while it is in operation. This indicates that the water is stuck in the bottom of the dishwasher and is not flowing down into the pump.

This will be a result of a blockage, either in the filter basket or at the entrance to the pump. To fix this, you will need to clean out the filter or pump, detailed above.

There may also be a large piece of food, such as a corn kernel, stuck in the sump assembly. The grinding noise could be the sound of the debris swirling around as the water is circulated. Again, clearing the filter and pump should fix this issue.

How to Drain a Clogged GE Dishwasher

Clogged dishwasher residue

If your dishwasher is not draining, you may need to drain excess water manually. This will allow you to inspect the filter and sump better to determine the cause. To drain the dishwasher manually, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Place towels under the dishwasher to soak any water spills.

Step 2: Place one bowl either side of the dishwasher door to collect any large leaks as you open the dishwasher door.

Step 3: Unlatch the door, but do not open it fully.

Step 4: Slowly open the door fully to make sure no water spills onto the floor.

Step 5: Use a cup to empty most of the water down the sink.

Step 6: Soak up the last of the water with a towel.

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