GE Dishwasher Not Draining Repair Guide

Is your dishwasher not draining properly? If not, it certainly is not cleaning your dishes, not to mention the smell. Fortunately, this dishwasher repair guide will guide you in repairing your dishwasher. These are the same steps I take in repairing dishwashers professionally. So read each section carefully until your dishwasher is repaired.

Before you start working on your dishwasher, check where the drain connects to your sink. Often this clogs and you can clean it out with a screwdriver. Now, if you have just installed a garbage disposal, check to make sure you knocked the plug out the dishwasher drain adapter.

If the main pump isn’t running the dishwasher will not drain, if this is the case click here

The first four sections apply only to GE dishwashers. If you have a Whirlpool dishwasher or any other brand skip to the last section. Note that none of the first four parts I mentioned below are on all GE dishwashers, but at least one will be on most and some have all four.


On GE dishwashers that have a filter (screen) along the back wall of the tub have a piston valve. The piston valve commonly causes dishwashers not to pump out. Note that some GE dishwashers do not have a filter and this section does not apply to these dishwashers. But if your dishwasher does have a filter, remove it. Now remove the piston valve located in the center behind the filter. Now to check the piston valve, press up on the spring. Once done the piston should stop up the hole in the top of the valve. When a piston valve, is bad the piston dissolves to the point that it can no longer stop up the hole, in this case replace it. If not, reinstall it and move on to the next section.

Below is an example of a bad piston valve and a good piston valve.

Bad Piston Valve

Notice how the rubber in the center or worn to the point that it will no longer plug the hole. When this happens the dishwasher will not completely pump out.

Good Piston Valve

Piston valves can be purchased at


On GE dishwashers, a common problem that will cause it not to drain properly is the drain solenoid. To check this, first disconnect power from dishwasher then remove the bottom panel of dishwasher.

Once off, you should see the drain solenoid attached to the main pump then reach under the dishwasher and push down on the solenoid. If it will not move down it is bad and needs replacing. If it will push, down most of the time it is good but not always so follow these steps as well.

Reconnect power to dishwasher, now start the dishwasher in to a cycle. If you have a mechanical timer turn it slowly until the solenoid energizes. If you turn the timer all the way around and the solenoid never energizes replace the solenoid. If you have an electronic control, start the dishwasher and wait a few minutes then push start/reset then the drain solenoid should energizes, if not replace the solenoid. At times the timer will cause this part to go bad especially if its melted or frozen down. So you may have to replace the timer as well. Drain solenoids can be purchased at


If your GE dishwasher is not draining properly, the check valve may be your problem. The check valve will be on GE dishwashers with both a separate drain pump and a drain solenoid (note if you do not have both you will not have a check valve). The check valve will be located where the black hose connects to the drain pump. To access the check valve, you must first remove the water from the dishwasher. A Wet-Vac works well for this, a turkey baser works ok or a small cup will do the job. After the water is out, disconnect power to dishwasher. Now remove the dishwasher from under the cabinet.

Yes I know it’s a pain but you will never do this with it under the cabinet. Now remove the black hose (even though you removed the water you will still have water in the pump so be ready).Once off you should see the check valve. It’s the little red rubber flap. If it is torn off, the flap may have gone down the drain but you still should see the red ring left behind, in this case replace the valve. Sometimes the check valve will swell up and hang in the pump, if so replace it. If the valve looks ok, read the next section before you reinstall your dishwasher. This part can be purchased at


If your GE dishwasher is not draining properly, the drain pump may be your problem. As stated before, not all GE dishwashers will have a drain pump, just some newer ones. I haven’t seen many drain pumps bad but I have seen things get hung up in them, stopping them from working. To check this, follow the steps in the check valve section. Only when you remove the black hose look inside the pump. If something is in it, remove the obstruction and your dishwasher should be fixed. Drain pumps can be purchased at


Before checking the drain hose check to see if it is clogged at the sink as described at the top of this page.

If your dishwasher is not draining properly, the drain hose may be stopped up. This is not common but I run into it sometimes. To check, remove all the water from tub. A Wet-Vac works well for this, a turkey baser works ok or a small cup will do the job. After the water is gone remove the drain hose (even though you removed the water you will still have water in the pump so be ready) from the house plumbing and the dishwasher. Take it outside to your water hose. From there you should be able to clean it out. Reinstall it and your dishwasher is fixed.

Return From Dishwasher Not Draining Repair Guide is a free service but it cost to keep it up and running. Donate to let this website help you next time!

Appliance parts online, right part, best price and fast shipping.