How to Drain a Broken Dishwasher

Pools of stagnant dishwasher water require immediate draining to prevent foul odors and potential health risks. Broken pumps and clogged drain hoses often keep dishwashers from draining. If you can't fix your drainage problem, you'll have to manually drain the dishwasher's contents. Although you can scoop and soak up the entire pool with cups, rags and a sponge, an inexpensive hand-pump significantly reduces work time.

Drain water into buckets to prevent damage to floor surfaces, such as hardwood floors.

Step 1

Unplug the dishwasher's power cord, or switch the dishwasher's circuit breaker to the off position.  Turn the dishwasher's water supply valve handle to the off position.

Open the dishwasher's door, and set a bucket beside the dishwasher.  Remove dishes from the dishwasher's racks.

Slide the racks from the dishwasher unit and set the racks aside. 

Step 2

Place one end of the hand pump's hose at the deepest part of the dishwasher's pooled water.  Place the other side of the hose in the bucket.

Squeeze the pump's ball or pump its handle to transfer water from appliance to the bucket.  Pump until the water is too shallow for the pump to suck.

Step 3

Remove the pump from the dishwasher.  Run a sponge through the pool to sop up remaining water.

Wring the sponge into the bucket.  Use the sponge to sop water until only a damp surface remains.

Dry the dishwasher's interior surface with rags.  Dump the bucket's contents into a functioning drain, such as the kitchen sink drain.

Things You Will Need

  • Bucket
  • Hand pump
  • Sponge
  • Rags


  • Contact your dishwasher's manufacturer to determine the availability of replacement parts, such as drain pumps.
  • Check drain hoses and air gaps for clogs before draining water from the dishwasher unit.
  • Portable bilge pumps and sump pumps are also suitable for draining water from dishwashers.


  • If the dishwasher water is smelly and stagnant, wear gloves while draining the dishwasher.

About the Author

Based in Hawaii, Shane Grey began writing professionally in 2004. He draws on his construction experience to write instructional home and garden articles. In addition to freelance work, Grey has held a position as an in-house copywriter for an online retailer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater arts from Humboldt State University.

Photo Credits

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