If you're wondering why the bottom of your dishwasher always seems to be covered with water, it could be because the drain pump isn't working or the drain check valve is stuck closed, but more often, the problem is simpler. Small food items could be lodged in the drain filter or in the drain hose itself, and debris in the drain or garbage disposal could be blocking the dishwasher outflow. Remedy the problem by removing the drain hose and cleaning it out.

Air Gap or High Loop

If you live in a state that requires an , you have a small chrome dome-shape fitting mounted on the side of your sink. The dishwasher hose connects to this fitting -- whose purpose is to admit air into the hose to prevent waste water from back-flowing from the drain -- and another hose connects the air gap to the sink tailpiece or the garbage disposal. When the drain hose is blocked, water often spews from this fitting.

If your state's plumbing code doesn't requires air gaps, the hose runs directly from the dishwasher to the drain, but it makes a high loop under the sink. The air gap and loop are favorite places for clog-causing grease and fibers to settle.

Cleaning the Drain Hoses

Have a small bucket handy whenever you disconnect a drain hose -- a fair amount of water will probably spill out. If your dishwasher has an air gap, clearing a clog may be as easy as disconnecting the inlet and outlet hoses from it and cleaning out the fitting with a bottle brush and some baking soda. Whether there is an air gap or high loop, you should also disconnect the hose from the garbage disposal or drain tailpiece -- it's usually secured with a clamp that you can loosen with a screwdriver. Finally, remove the kick guard from the dishwasher and unscrew the clamp connecting the hose to the drain outlet.

Take the hose outside and clean it out with wat a garden hose. Clean out the garbage disposal or drain tailpiece inlet with a screwdriver or bottle brush. If the garbage disposal is new, make sure the installer remembered to remove the drain plug from the inlet when the unit was installed.

One More Thing

Once the drain hoses are clear, the dishwasher should drain properly -- that is, of course, as long as the drain trap is clear. It's in the bottom of the dishwasher and looks like a grille or grate. Lift it out, rinse it off in the sink and remove any debris you find underneath it.