Frigidaire Dishwasher Not Draining Troubleshooting

Frigidaire Dishwasher Not Draining Troubleshooting

Latest posts by Rosie Greaves (see all)

Dishwasher drainage issues are annoying, to say the least. After all, no one wants to open the dishwasher to find a flooded mess. I know I don’t. So, if your Frigidaire dishwasher is not draining, do not worry; you’re not alone. It’s a common problem that many people experience with their dishwashers. 

The Frigidaire dishwasher is one of the most common dishwashers in the United States. It’s reliable, and you can get it for a great price. Sadly, they do break down, and one of their most common problems is not draining correctly. 

Most of the time, I’ve had to deal with dishwashers not draining, and I’ve had to unclog or replace some components. But there are other possible reasons why your Frigidaire dishwasher is failing to drain. With the right troubleshooting guide, you can fix this problem on your own. This article provides everything you need to know about your Frigidaire dishwasher drainage, including maintenance.

Bottom Line Up Front

A clog on the drain pump, drain filter, sink trap, or drain hose is most likely the cause of your Frigidaire dishwasher not draining properly or at all.

Dirt or food particles can easily block these components if you do not take good care of them. To fix a clog in the dishwasher, you will have to open it and have the components cleaned properly. Sometimes, you might have to replace them entirely.

What Is a Frigidaire Dishwasher?

Frigidaire is an American brand focused on making home appliances. Like most of their products, their dishwasher does not have special features; however, they are very reliable.  Frigidaire dishwashers use a unique triple filtration system to clean dishes. This system includes a pre-wash cycle, the primary wash cycle, and a final rinse cycle. 

The pre-wash cycle helps to remove food particles and grease from dishes, while the primary wash cycle cleans the plates with hot water and detergent. Finally, the final rinse cycle uses clean water to remove any residual detergent or food particles from the dishes. 

Frigidaire dishwashers are available in front-loading and top-loading models and can be either built-in or freestanding. 

How Does the Dishwasher Work? The Sequence of Operation

Installation hoses for dishwasher machine connection plumbing pipes in kitchen

Generally speaking, all dishwashers operate similarly. But depending on the model of your dishwasher, there may be a slight difference in the sequence of operation. 

Before troubleshooting, you must first understand how your dishwasher works. Learning about the components of your dishwasher and how they work will help you understand why it is failing to perform correctly. 

Also, if you master your dishwasher’s sequence of operation, you can find the source of the problem much quicker and easier. 

Here is how the Frigidaire dishwasher works:

  • After adding your necessary detergents and selecting and activating a cycle, the washer will start to heat water. 
  • Once the water is heated to a specific temperature, it will distribute through the dishes. 
  • Next, the washer will automatically open the detergent dispenser at the right time.
  • To clean the plates, water will be sprayed through spray arms.
  • When the cycle is done, the washer will drain the water completely. 
  • More water will be discharged for rinsing the dishes. 
  • Once the washer rinses the dishes, the water will be drained. 
  • At this point, the dishes are thoroughly washed. Depending on your Frigidaire dishwasher, it might heat the air to dry the dishes. 

Why Your Frigidaire Dishwasher Is Not Draining?

If your Frigidaire dishwasher is not draining correctly, it may be due to the following reasons:

Your Dishwasher’s Drain Filter May Be Clogged

Dishwasher's Drain Filter

When you are facing a draining problem with the dishwasher, the first thing you should check is the drain filter. The drain filter is located at the bottom of the dishwasher.

It is responsible for catching food and other debris that could clog the machine. Over time, the drain filter can become clogged with debris, which prevents water from flowing through. When this happens, your dishwasher will not be able to drain correctly. 

How to fix

  • First, disconnect the power to the dishwasher.
  • Remove the dishwasher’s drain filter and rinse it thoroughly under running water. Be sure to remove any food particles or debris clinging to the filter.
  • Soak the drain filter with white vinegar and water for about 15 minutes. It will help to break down any buildup that may be on the filter.
  • Rinse the drain filter under running water and then replace it in the dishwasher.
  • Run the dishwasher through a cycle with hot water to clean out any remaining debris.

Something Might Be Wrong with Your Dishwasher’s Drain Hose

If your dishwasher doesn’t seem to be draining correctly even after washing the filter, there could be a problem with the drain hose. 

The hose carries water from the dishwasher to the drain. If it is clogged or not installed properly, it can cause water to flow back into the dishwasher.

Kinks in the Drain Hose

Smart Choice 12' Dehumidifier Drain Hose

First things first, check that the drain hose doesn’t have any kinks in it. Kinks can cause water to back up and overflow to the front panel, leading to that awful flooding we want to avoid. Also, kinks can lead to punctures, which can again, can cause leaks. 

The good news is that kinks in your drain hose are obvious and just as quick to fix. If there’s a kink in your drain hose, we recommend replacing the hose. Unfortunately, the plastic might be too damaged to simply straighten.

Here’s an example drain hose worth considering: Smart Choice 12′ Dehumidifier Drain Hose. One of the perks of this hose is that it negates the need for emptying the dehumidifier bucket because it enables the direct drainage of condensation.

Twists and Turns in the Drain Hose

The drain hose also shouldn’t be twisted or turned. If this is the case, fortunately, the solution is very simple. Just manually straighten the drain hose and see if this fixes your draining woes.

The Drain Hose is Blocked

Alternatively, your drain hose may have gotten blocked with debris. For example, this can happen if a faulty chopper leads to too much food accumulating in your dishwasher. While this issue isn’t immediately obvious from the outside, it’s still relatively easy to check and fix.

Just remove the drain hose from the pump and clean it to temporarily fix your drainage issue. There are plenty of drain cleaners available online; just make sure you choose a cleaner that doesn’t damage the pipe itself. Ideally, you want a cleaner with lower pH levels that can be applied to all surfaces (see below for product recommendations).

Most importantly, however, you should be looking at repairing your food chopper if this problem persists. Otherwise, build-ups will occur regularly. It’s worth noting that different dishwasher models have different food choppers, so you’ll have to do some research to find the right part for your machine. 

How To Fix If Drain Cleaner Doesn’t Work

  • We need to clean the drain hose. 
  • To clean the drain hose:
  • First, disconnect the power to the dishwasher.
  • Next, remove the hose from the dishwasher and clear any obstructions that might be causing the blockage. A simple way to do this is to run a piece of wire through the hose.
  • Once the hose is clear, reattach it to the dishwasher.
  • Turn on the power. 
  • The dishwasher should now be draining properly.

Drain Valves

If the drain hose isn’t your issue – it’s time to turn our attention to the drain valves. These are located near your dishwasher’s motor and allow wastewater to flow out of your dishwasher. It also prevents backflow. The drain valve easily gets clogged with food debris, which restricts water from exiting your Frigidaire dishwasher. 

In light of that, we recommend removing the valve and giving it a good clean. In some cases, you might find the valve is faulty and needs replacing. But, unfortunately, you can’t repair a faulty valve. 

Here’s one such example: Frigidaire 154622001 Drain Valve Dishwasher

It’s vital to get this issue sorted as defective valves might allow dirty water to flow back into the dishwasher. So not only will you face flooding, but your dishes might also remain dirty – gross!

You can tell if a valve is defective by removing the drain hose and then filing water into your dishwasher and trying to drain it. You can then use a bucket to trap the drained water. By looking at where and how the water exits, you can tell if the valve is opening properly during the draining process and whether it closes properly after.

How to fix

  • First, locate the fill valve. It will be near the water supply line and have a round knob that you can turn.
  • Next, use a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the two screws holding the fill valve.
  • Once you remove the screws, you should be able to pull the fill valve out. Inspect it for any blockages or damage. If it looks damaged, you will need to replace it.
  • Most hardware shops sell replacement valves. Your dishwasher should now operate correctly once you replace the valve.

Your Dishwasher’s Sink Trap Might Be Broken

Dishwasher's Sink Trap

Dirty dishes might clog your dishwasher’s sink. A clogged sink can also prevent your dishwasher from draining properly. 

How to fix

  • Pouring boiled water down the drain might help dislodge any blockages in the sink.
  • If your sink is clogged, try using a plunger to free it up.

How to avoid

  • To avoid this problem, ensure that your sink trap is clear of debris and that nothing is blocking it. You should also check the drain line regularly to ensure it isn’t clogged. 

The Drain Pump and Motor

It’s uncommon for Frigidaire dishwashers to suffer a faulty pump, but as the issue can’t be completely excluded, here’s what to look out for. First, you need to know that the drain pump uses an impeller to drain water through the drain valve and out through the drain hose. 

There are several reasons why the pump might be defective:

The Pump is Clogged

Your pump might be clogged by debris, such as a piece of broken glass. You can tell if this is the case by the motor’s low humming sound when you start the cycle and can fix this problem by:

  1. Disconnecting the feeder hose and any other connection that might be damaged
  2. Unscrew the base plate of your dishwasher
  3. Disconnect the anti-flood switch
  4. The pump is usually held in place by a few screws. Unscrew them and twist the pump to pull it out. If you face unexpected resistance when pulling the pump, check if a connection or screw is still holding it in place.
  5. Check the impeller to see if debris has clogged it. You can easily scrape off the debris to clean it. Rotate the impeller to check if it’s free to rotate properly.

The Motor Isn’t Running Correctly

Another reason the pump might not be functioning correctly is a faulty motor. First, check if the motor is running in the right direction. If it’s not rotating, use a meter to check if its terminals are reached by the circuit. If there’s a current at the terminals, the issue might be the motor’s winding, or the motor might have seized. In this case, you’ll likely have to replace the motor.

Alternatively, suppose you can’t find a current at the terminals. In that case, there might be an electrical issue concerning the electric control, door switches, or timer. In that case, we recommend contacting an expert to fix these technical bits if you’re not well-versed in electric circuits yourself.

The Dishwasher Timer

You can find the dishwasher timer on the control panel of your dishwasher. However, you might be wondering how a timer could be responsible for your Frigidaire dishwasher not draining. 

Here’s why:

The timer indicates when the draining procedure should start, meaning it could be telling your dishwasher to drain too late, therefore leaving water in the front.

How to Fix

  • We need to check the timer.
  • First, turn off the dishwasher.
  • Then, open up the dishwasher and locate the timer. 
  • Once you’ve found the timer, check if the timing knob is set correctly. 
  • If not, turn it to the correct setting and then turn the power to the dishwasher. 
  • If the dishwasher still doesn’t drain properly, you may need to replace the timer.

dishwasher timer

A Faulty Garbage Disposer

Your garbage disposer is another reason your Frigidaire dishwasher might not be draining residual water properly. During installation, there could have been an issue, or the disposer could be clogged. Either way, it’s worth checking the drain tube of the garbage disposer. This contains a solid plug that can restrict drainage, so try removing the plug and see if the drainage issue persists. You may also want to check the garbage disposer for clogs of excess debris.

How to fix

  • First, try using a plunger to clear the clog. 
  • If that doesn’t work, you can try using a plumber’s snake to reach down into the drain and break up the clog. 
  • Finally, if all else fails, you can always call a professional plumber to come and take care of the problem.

Check Ball

If you can see your dishwasher draining water just fine but still find water returning into the base of your dishwasher. In that case, it’s most likely a backflow issue, which can be caused when the check ball is stuck in the check valve. This is a small plastic ball that helps prevent the backflow of water. If that ball is stuck, it restricts drainage through the check valve. 

The solution to this issue is straightforward: use a screwdriver to free the ball and spray lubricant on it to avoid getting stuck again. Simple, right?

Problem with Air Gap

The air gap is a small device that helps to ensure water from your dishwasher does not require backflow into your home’s plumbing system. 

Over time, however, the air gap can become blocked with dirt and debris, preventing it from working correctly. If this happens, your dishwasher will not be able to drain properly, and water can build up inside the machine.

 How to Fix

  • We need to clean the air gap.
  • To clean the air gap, remove it from your sink.
  • Remove any dirt or debris that may be blocking the air gap. You can use a small brush or a toothpick to help remove any stubborn debris.
  • Once the air gap is clear, you should be able to see a small hole in the center of it. 
  • This hole allows water to flow through the air gap and into your dishwasher’s drain.
  • Your dishwasher should be draining correctly now. 

A Clogged Drainage Basket

A Clogged Drainage Basket

A clogged drainage basket is one of the most common causes of drainage issues in dishwashers. A drainage basket in your dishwasher is similar to the one in your sink that stops debris from going down the plug. When clogged, such a basket keeps all the water in the sink, or in this case, your dishwasher.

To clean the drainage basket, manually drain all the residual water from the dishwasher to expose this filter. Then pick out the debris to clear it. The drainage basket is bolted with screws, so you’ll need to undo these to remove and clean the filter.

Be careful as you do this because, at times, the basket might be clogged with broken pieces of glass or crockery where things have broken in the washer. 

Clean the Air Gap

While not all Frigidaire dishwashers come with an air gap, those that do need cleaning every few months. Usually, air gaps are found near plug sockets or at points where water flows through pipes in and out of your appliance. These spaces relieve the pressure that can build up when hot water passes through pipes, lessening the risk of bursting.

Clean the areas around exterior connections where dirt might have accumulated. Then, unscrew the cap and apply a pipe cleaner to remove any dust and dirt from the area.

Avoid Liquid Detergents

Another reason your Frigidaire dishwasher isn’t draining could be because of the type of detergent you’re using. Avoid using liquid dish soap, which can cause suds to build up, making it harder for the dishwasher to drain.

The Best Drainage Clearers for Frigidaire Dishwashers

If you’re looking for effective drain cleaners to help unblock a clogged drain hose, here are a few recommendations.

Green Gobbler Liquid Clog Remover

Green Gobbler Dissolve Tub

Green Gobbler’s drainage cleaner is a great solution, suited for sinks, bathtubs, but most importantly, it works wonders on dishwasher drainage pipes. It’s applicable to all surfaces and boasts lower pH levels. The cleaner is also biodegradable and doesn’t produce any unpleasant smells. However, the only downside is that it needs some time to work properly.

Drano Max Gel Clog Remover


With a little patience, this clog remover works wonders. Although it’s slow-action, it’s thick and strong enough to penetrate standing water, and it’s safe on many materials. However, the product may take as much as five hours to work, but the wait is worth it because it can cure even severe clogs.

XIONLAB Safer Drain Opener

XIONLAB Safer Drain Opener

XIONLAB is quick and efficient. The product is non-chemical, non-toxic, non-flammable, and non-corrosive. It’s a dense, thick liquid cleaner that can be used on any type of pipe.

Wave Frigidaire Dishwasher Draining Issues Goodbye

We hope you found this troubleshooting guide helpful for fixing your Frigidaire dishwasher drainage issues. In most cases, repairs are easy to do yourself and just come down to debris getting stuck in the parts responsible for drainage.

Of course, it never hurts to regularly clean your drainage basket, valve, and drain hose and ensure your garbage disposer is clear of large debris. However, if it’s a more technical or electrical fault, we recommend calling in a pro! What was the issue with your Frigidaire Dishwasher? Let us know in the comments below!


Question: Where can I find replacement parts for Frigidaire dishwashers?

Answer: A few of the issues that can cause your Frigidaire dishwasher to not drain require replacement parts. For instance, you might have to purchase a new motor or drain hose, or in some cases, replace the check valve. Luckily, Frigidaire is a well-known brand, and replacement parts are readily available. You can browse Frigidaire dishwasher parts on eSpares, Amazon, or Frigidaire Parts.

Question: What should you do before repairing your Frigidaire dishwasher?

Answer: While some troubleshooting can be done without moving or disassembling any part of the dishwasher, most of the solutions mentioned above require you to take the dishwasher out of its current place. This may mean disconnecting hoses and cables.

So, before you start any repairs on your Frigidaire dishwasher, disconnect the power to the appliance. Then, locate the electrical panel in your home and turn off the appropriate breaker. You’ll also want to disconnect the inlet water supply and disconnect it from the inlet valve on the dishwasher.

There’s a good chance some water spillage will occur while you disconnect the machine and pull it out to access the drain hose and other parts. So, keep a bucket and rags ready to trap any water that drains out.

Question: Should you attempt to fix a Frigidaire dishwasher yourself?

Answer: A faulty dishwasher that doesn’t drain properly is a major annoyance. So, you’ll likely want it sorted as quickly as possible. However, in many cases, fixing a drainage issue yourself is relatively easy once you’ve identified the cause of the problem. 

Many drainage issues come down to nothing more than a clogged part in the system, and all you need to do is clear it out. However, suppose you’ll need to touch the electric circuits or alter the wiring. In that case, we recommend calling an expert to look at the appliance. Remember that handling repairs yourself may affect your warranty.

So if you’re unsure of what you’re doing and fear breaking something, it’s often safer to ask for professional assistance.

Question: What should I do if my Frigidaire dishwasher is leaving water in the bottom of the dishwasher?

Answer: If your Frigidaire dishwasher is leaving water in the bottom of the dishwasher, the first thing you should do is check the drain line for any clogs.
 If there are no clogs, check the drain pump for any blockages. Check the garbage disposal for any jams or clogs if there are no blockages.

Question: What are some common Frigidaire dishwasher problems?

Answer: Some of the most common Frigidaire dishwasher problems include water leaks, Door latch issues, draining problems, and wash quality issues. You can resolve these issues with a bit of troubleshooting.

Question: How do I fix a leaking Frigidaire dishwasher?

Answer: If your Frigidaire dishwasher leaks, you should check the door gasket for any cracks or damage. If the gasket is damaged, it will need replacement. Another potential cause of a leaky dishwasher is a clogged drain hose. If the hose is clogged, you will need to clear it out. Check the drain hose for any kinks or blockages.

Question: Why are my dishes not getting clean in my Frigidaire dishwasher?

Answer: If your dishes are not getting clean in your Frigidaire dishwasher, the first thing you should check is the wash cycle. Make sure you are using the correct cycle for your type of dishes. 
If you still have problems, ensure that nothing is blocking the spray arm. Another potential cause of dirty dishes is a detergent or food debris buildup on the dishwasher filters. So, a filthy filter requires a thorough cleaning.

Question: How do I clean my Frigidaire dishwasher?

Answer: To clean your Frigidaire dishwasher, you should start by running a vinegar rinse through it. It will help remove any buildup of detergent or food debris.
 It will help if you run a hot water cycle to flush out the vinegar. After the hot water cycle, you should run a standard process with dishwasher detergent.

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