A dishwasher that fails to drain correctly can be a frustrating experience. There are many possible reasons behind the problem, and often, it isn’t even the dishwasher’s fault. Sometimes, there are plumbing issues that need to be fixed before you address your dishwasher’s drainage problems. In this article, you’ll find some useful tips on how to troubleshoot a Samsung dishwasher not draining.

What You’ll Need

You’ll need some basic tools and materials to troubleshoot the drainage issue in your Samsung dishwasher. Plumbing-related causes might require wrenches and screwdrivers, while appliance-related causes may necessitate a bucket, sponge, and screwdriver. You may also need some materials like an air-gap fitting or replacement drain hose.

Diagnosing Plumbing-Related Causes

If you suspect that the cause of the drainage problem in your Samsung dishwasher is due to plumbing-related causes, here are some things to check:

Check the Garbage Disposal

The dishwasher drain hose usually connects to the garbage disposal. If there’s food build-up inside the disposal or if it’s clogged, there’s less space for the dishwasher water to flow. Run the disposer with plenty of water running to clear it out. This may fix the drainage problem with the dishwasher.

Clean the Air Gap

The air gap fitting is a small cylinder (usually chrome) on the back of your kitchen sink. It prevents air vacuums from forming and consequently, prevents drain water from siphoning back into the dishwasher. If water comes out of the air gap when you run the dishwasher, the blockage is between the air gap and the garbage disposer.

To clear it, remove the air gap cap and clean the inside of the air gap. Next, disconnect the hose that runs from the nipple on the bottom of the air gap to the garbage disposal or the sink drain, and ensure it’s not clogged.

Check the High-Loop

If your dishwasher doesn’t have an air gap, its drain hose may be looped up and attached to the bottom of the countertop near the sink. Although this is not code-compliant in most places, it serves the same purpose as the air gap, which is to prevent drain water from siphoning back into the dishwasher. If this hose has come loose, so it’s no longer looped up higher than the level of the dishwasher, it may prevent water from properly draining out of the appliance. Returning the hose to its proper high-loop position will fix the problem. Alternatively, you can install a proper air gap.

When to Call a Pro

If you’ve tried all of the above fixes and the problem persists, several dishwasher parts could be at fault, including the check valve, Piston and nut assembly (on drain pump), drain pump and drain motor, pump solenoid, belt (on belt-driven pumps), timer, door switch, and electronic control. Checking most of these parts requires a multimeter and some knowledge of electrical circuitry, so it’s best to leave it to a pro unless you have the expertise to diagnose the problem.

Diagnosing Appliance-Related Causes

If there are no obvious plumbing-related causes, drainage problems may originate from several components on the dishwasher itself. Here’s what to check:

Check the Drain Screen

Check the drain screen at the bottom of the dishwasher tub and make sure nothing is clogging it. Clear plastic lids, glass, labels, and bits of plastic can cover the drain and can be hard to see unless you look closely.

Clean the Filter

Dishwashers use various filter designs. Some have a simple screen, while others have removable filters below the screen that requires removing the bottom spray arm for a thorough cleaning. Check the appliance manual for instructions on how yours should be cleaned.

Check the Dishwasher Drain Hose

This is usually a corrugated plastic tube that runs from the bottom of the dishwasher to the air gap, garbage disposal, or sink drain, depending on the setup.

Turn off the power to the dishwasher by pulling out its plug or switching off the breaker to the dishwasher circuit. Remove the toe-kick panel, then loosen the hose clamp securing the drain hose to the dishwasher pump (have a sponge handy for any water that spills out).

Clean the end of the hose, then blow into it. Suppose the hose is plugged, and you can’t blow through it. In that case, remove the clamp on the other end of the hose and clean the hose out in a sink. If you can’t unclog the hose, or if it’s old and cracked, replace it.

Replace the Dishwasher

If your Samsung dishwasher is more than nine or ten years old and none of the obvious fixes remedies the drainage problem, it may be time to replace it. This isn’t a hard task, and many homeowners do this work themselves. Some appliance stores will install the dishwasher free of charge as part of the purchase price, and they may even handle the disposal of the old appliance.


Troubleshooting a Samsung dishwasher not draining doesn’t have to be a daunting task, as there are many possible reasons why this problem occurs. Following the tips outlined above can help you diagnose and fix the issue, so you can enjoy your clean dishes once again. Remember, when in doubt, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.