Portable Dishwasher Won’t Drain: What To Do?

A few days ago, suddenly our dishwasher overflowed. The whole messy and frustrating situation made us wonder why the portable dishwasher won’t drain. Well, we found some obvious reasons that we have been ignoring for so long. 

Our dishwasher failed to drain because the drain hose got clogged. However, later we found out that other reasons like a faulty pump or motor also interrupt the drainage system. In some cases, a damaged drain impeller may also bring up the issue of drainage. 

We have found life-saving solutions to this issue. Let’s figure out what you can do in such a situation! 

Portable Dishwasher Won’t Drain: Reasons And Solutions 

From our experience, we faced the issue several times, and due to the research, we know what may cause your portable dishwasher to fail to drain properly. Here are a few reasons that may be the culprit: 

1. Clogged Drain Hose

Your dishwasher’s drain hose drains all the dirty water through it. Thus it prevents the dishwasher from overflowing and keeps it clean. Over time, if you don’t clean the hose, it will collect food particles as well as dirt, and debris. 

Sometimes, insects may also accumulate there. Cockroaches and other insects often find the drain hose to be a perfect place for their breeding. As a result, the debris, insects, and food particles, altogether block the hose and prevent it from draining the water. 


You have to clean the drain hose thoroughly if it’s not draining the dirty water. Besides, if you notice that the clog cannot be manually cleaned up, it’s better to replace the hose. Take necessary measures to prevent insects if you notice any insect accumulation in there. 

2. Clogged Drain Pump 

Clogged Drain Pump 

The drain pump works to pump the water out of your dishwasher. When it gets clogged by foreign objects, it won’t pump the water. As a result, you will notice an overflow and malfunction in the drainage. 


First, locate the drain pump after disconnecting your dishwasher from the power source. Then, unclog the drain if there are any foreign objects or food particles. You need to check the impeller inside the drain pump to make it move properly without any obstructions. 

After cleaning it up, use water to give it a last clean. Then assemble the parts again and attach them to the dishwasher. 

3. Multifunctional Drain Pump

Even if the drain pump is not clogged, it can be defective. Sometimes, foreign objects or movement of the dishes inside may damage the drain pump. Moreover, insect accumulation or cockroaches may also damage some parts of the pump.


If you notice any damage in the drain pump, there is nothing much you can do without replacing it. 

4. Blocked Dishwasher Filters

Blocked Dishwasher Filters

Sometimes, the dishwasher filter may get clogged due to foreign objects or food particles. As a result, it will prevent proper drainage. Although these filters are meant to prevent the drain system from clogging, they get clogged themselves which disrupts the water flow to the drain. 


First, find out where the filter is, and carefully inspect it. If you notice anything stuck in there, rinse it under clean water. However, if your micro-filter is clogged, you need to use a brush to subtly brush the dirt off. 

5. Improper Installation Of The Drain Hose

If you have recently installed the dishwasher and noticed the drainage issue after the first cycle, it may be due to the faulty installation. When the installation is not correct, the drainage system fails to work properly, resulting in an overflow. 


You need to inspect the hose installation. There should be a loop to prevent backflow whereas every connection should be secured at the right place. If you fail to connect the hose properly, take help from a professional. 

6. Damaged Drain Impeller 

The drain impeller helps to push water out of the dishwasher and helps the draining system. With usage, the impeller may get damaged due to the speedy water flow. If anything like that happens, it loses its efficiency and results in a drainage failure. 


If you suspect that the drain impeller is causing the drainage problem in your portable dishwasher, you need to replace it. You can replace it on your own by matching the model number or you can take help from the service center. 

7. Malfunctioning Control Board

This is a real problem if your drainage issue is caused by the malfunctioning control board. The last escape is to check this when your drainage system is not working. As the control board handles every function, any electrical issues or malfunctioning will mess up your dishwasher’s drainage system. 


As the problem is severe, you need to consult a professional technician to diagnose the issue with the control board. Then they will take necessary measures like repairs or replacement depending on the problem. 

Signs Of A Clogged Dishwasher Drain:

Here are a few signs that will determine whether your dishwasher is clogged or not:

  • If the dishwasher is clogged, the water will remain stuck in the bottom of the tub after your cycle. 
  • Also, the drainage system will work slowly and it will take more time to clear up the water. 
  • You will notice a restriction in the water flow. 
  • You may notice water backup in the sink if the drainage and sink are in the same line as the dishwasher.
  • Due to the restriction, the hose may accumulate food particles and they may get spoiled over time. As a result, you will smell a foul odor.
  • During the cycle, a clogged drainage system will make gurgling sounds due to the inability to pass the water. 
  • You may notice dirt and debris flowing in the stuck water when the drain is clogged due to residue. 

Is It Possible To Manually Drain My Dishwasher?

Is It Possible To Manually Drain My Dishwasher

Yes, you can manually clean your dishwasher on your own if it’s clogged. But it only works in minor cases, like when your dishwasher is clogged due to food particles or debris. Here are the steps to follow: 

Step-1: Safety Measures 

First, unplug the dishwasher from any power source so you don’t get electrified while working. 

Step-2: Clear Out The Water 

If your drainage system is not working, you might need to remove the excess water that has been stuck in there. Use a cup or mug to collect the water carefully and remove them carefully. 

Step-3: Inspect The Filter 

Find out the drain filter located at the bottom of the dishwasher. Then, remove the filter and look out for blockages, or debris. Now you have to place the filter under running water to clean the insides. You can use a brush to scrub the inner parts of the filter. 

Step-4: Inspect The Hose 

The clog might be in the hose as well. You have to check whether it is connected properly or not. Look out for stuck food particles, insects, or any obstructions that may be restraining the water flow. 

Step-5: Clean The Dishwasher 

Now that you have checked everything, you have to run an empty cycle to clean the dishwasher. Notice whether it works or not.

When To Seek Professional Help?

If the drainage system fails to work after the manual operations, you need to seek professional assistance. Also, if you notice any signs of damage during the inspection, you might need repair or replacement by professionals. 

Final Words 

When your portable dishwasher won’t drain, this might seem like a frustrating situation for the first time. But if you ensure proper maintenance in time, you won’t face this incident. To avoid this, you need to clean the drainage system of your dishwasher regularly and ensure thorough cleaning once every week.

About Travis K. Foster

Hi, this is Travis K. Foster speaking, a passionate and expert cook. This blog is to introduce you to the best kitchen gadgets. Here I inform you how I find out the best tools for my kitchen. And I review all products after good research to help you to get the best options with more kitchen tips. Stay on, Have fun! Learn more...

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