Maytag Dishwasher Not Draining? (Possible Causes & Fixes)

Dennis Howard
by Dennis Howard

You open the door on your Maytag dishwasher only to discover still dirty dishes and water standing in the bottom of the dishwasher. Frustrated, you begin looking, trying to discover the problem. Discovering the cause of a Maytag dishwasher not draining can be frustrating. We hope that this article can help you find the solution and some remedies.

The most common cause of standing water in a Maytag washer is a clogged machine filter or a blocked drain line. In some rare cases, a mechanical failure or electrical problem can cause your Maytag dishwasher not to drain.

Fortunately, homeowners can resolve the most common clogs that cause a Maytag washer to fail to drain. Our list of the most common problems and the best steps to address them should help you get your Maytag dishwasher back to scrubbing dirty dishes in no time.

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Let Your Maytag Dishwasher Tell You the Problem

In this age of smart machines, it is no surprise that your Maytag dishwasher may be able to tell you the problem. Like many other smart appliances, if your Maytag dishwasher senses a problem, an error code will flash on the control panel.

On most Maytag dishwashers, the code indicates by flashing the Clean button in a unique pattern. If the clean light is flashing, there is an error code with your dishwasher. The error code has two parts. First, the machine will flash the function code. After a two-second pause, the problem code will flash.

For example, the Clean button flashes four times, pauses for two seconds, and then flashes three times. This code represents error code 4-3 or a fault in the communications between the electronic control board and the circulating pump.

The Error Codes You May See When Your Maytag Dishwasher Doesn’t Drain

These error codes are the most seen when your Maytag dishwasher is not draining properly. Some of these error codes represent problems that require a Maytag repair technician. Remember to work carefully and use proper precautions. Some of the testing is done with the Maytag dishwasher connected to power. When the power is connected, there is always a chance of an electrical shock.

Error Code 2-1

An error code 2-1 indicated a problem with the user interface controls. In most instances, this is a stuck button on the interface control panel. This error code will prevent the Maytag dishwasher from starting or continuing to operate. Follow the steps below to diagnose a stuck button problem.

Step 1 – Unplug the Power to the Dishwasher. Always work safely. Disconnect the power to the dishwasher before disassembling any part.

Step 2 – Disassemble the Door and Unplug the User Interface. Remove the trim from the dishwasher door and expose the user interface. Disconnect the wiring harness from the user interface board.

Step 3 – Reassemble the Door. Reassemble the door but leave the wiring harness disconnected from the user interface board.

Step 4 – Restore Power to the Dishwasher. Leave the door to the dishwasher open and plug the power cord into the outlet. Wait at least 7 seconds for the control board to fully come awake and then close the door. If the control board doesn’t sense any stuck buttons, the drain pump will start.

If the drain pump doesn’t start, the control board is still sensing a stuck button. The control board is defective. The fix is to install a new control board.

Error Code 2-2

If the dishwasher senses a loss of communication between the user interface board and the control board, an error code 2-2 will flash. The steps to diagnose this problem are like error code 2-1. However, there is no onboard test for function.

The usual fix is to replace the user interface board. If the problem and error code persist, replacement of the control board is the next step.

Error Code 3-1

Your Maytag dishwasher has an optical sensor that keeps tabs on the amount of debris in the water. If the sensor detects too much debris, the dishwasher shuts down. To alleviate this problem, remove the water in the bottom of the dishwasher and clean the filters.

If the problem persists, the optical water indicator sensor may have failed. If cleaning the dishwasher and the filters doesn’t eliminate the problem, contact a Maytag repair technician to check the sensors further.

Error Code 3-3

This code indicates that the check valve has failed and is allowing wastewater to backflow into the dishwasher. You can test the check valve operation following these steps.

Step 1 – Disconnect the Drain Hose. Disconnect the drain line from the dishwasher at the airgap. If your drain line has no air gap, disconnect the hose where it connects to the garbage disposal.

Step 2 – Add Water. Carefully pour water into the drain line. If the check valve is defective, water will begin to flow back into the Maytag dishwasher.

You should replace the defective check valve before using the Maytag dishwasher. Operating the dishwasher with a defective check valve can damage the pump and other components.

Step 3 – Reconnect the Drain Line. If no water drains back into the Maytag dishwasher, the check valve is operating properly. Replace the drain line to the air gap or the garbage disposal.

A Maytag service technician can run a full-service diagnostic on the Maytag dishwasher to determine the error code’s cause.

Error Code 4-3

A loss of communication between the control board and the circulation pump causes an error code 4-3. This situation also shuts down the dishwasher until you resolve the error code. Checking this problem requires opening the dishwasher to access the recirculation pump and wiring harness.

We suggest that you make an appointment with a Maytag repair technician if this error code is present.

Error Code 8-1

If your Maytag dishwasher sense that the wastewater is draining slowly, the machine will stop, and an error code 8-1 will flash. To resolve this error code, follow these steps.

Step 1 – Unplug the Dishwasher from the Power Outlet. Work safely by removing the power from the Maytag dishwasher.

Step 2 – Turn off the Water Supply. Turn off the water supply to the Maytag dishwasher at the valve.

Step 3 – Check the Drain Line for Obstructions. Check the entire length of the drain line for kinks or tight bends. Debris will often collect at these points and cause a full or partial blockage. If you cannot straighten the kinks or bends sufficiently, replace the drain line.

Clogs or blockages may also occur where the drain line connects to the garbage disposal or the waste pipe. Loosen the drain line and check the inside of the connection for debris. Reconnect the drain line.

Step 4 – Set the Control Panel to Drain and Test. Close the door to the Maytag dishwasher and set the controls to drain. The drain pump should start and remove any standing water in the machine. If you cannot hear the pump running or the water doesn’t move, the drain pump is defective.

Maytag recommends that only a trained appliance technician repair or replace a drain pump.

The Most Common Reasons a Maytag Dishwasher Won’t Drain

There are several reasons that a Maytag dishwasher won’t drain, and in most of these cases, the dishwasher will not give an error code. If your Maytag dishwasher won’t drain and no error code is present, check for these problems.

Clogged Filters

Clogged filters are probably the most common cause for a Maytag dishwasher not to drain. To clean the filters of your Maytag dishwasher, follow these step by step instructions.

Step 1 – Be Safe. Before you start to work inside the washtub of your Maytag dishwasher, you should have kitchen gloves that will protect your hands and wrists. Wear your eye protection as well to avoid splashing contaminated water into your eyes.

The filters may contain broken glass or other sharp debris. Don’t take chances. Wear your protective gear.

Step 2 – Remove any Dishes and the Racks. Empty the dishwasher. Remove any dirty or clean dishes. Lift out the dish racks to allow yourself easy access to the bottom of the washtub.

Step 3 – Get Rid of Any Debris or Water. Wipe down the upper portions of the washtub with a sponge or soft cloth. If there is standing water in the bottom, use a ladle or cup to remove the water. You may find large pieces of debris or food waste at the bottom of the washtub as well. Remove and dispose of this matter.

Step 4 – Remove the Upper Filter Assembly. The filter assembly on your Maytag dishwasher is easy to remove. The filter assembly has two parts. The upper part protects your Maytag dishwasher from damage by keeping large debris and object out of the system.

Remove the upper filter by turning a quarter turn counter-clockwise and lifting the filter from the lower filter assembly.

Step 5 – Remove the Lower Filter Assembly. Grasp the lower filter assembly in the hole where the upper filter assembly sits. Gently lift the lower filter while tilting upward slightly. The lower filter assembly should disengage and slide out of the mount.

Step 6 – Clean the filters. Rinse the two filter units under running water to wash away as much of the debris and food residue as possible. Soaking the filters in warm water for a few minutes may help loosen and stubborn debris or food.

If you notice calcium or other mineral buildups on the filters, using a soft brush may remove the buildup. An old toothbrush is an excellent way to clean the filter elements. Under no circumstances should a wire brush or scrub pad be used.

Maytag does not recommend using any chemical to remove the mineral deposits. This advice includes avoiding the use of vinegar.

Step 7 – Reinstall the Filters. Replace the lower filter unit by sliding the back edge under the retaining tabs and gently lowering the filter element into place.

Drop the upper filter element into the lower filter element’s hole and gently turn the filter clockwise one-quarter turn until the filter locks into place.

Step 8 – Test Your Maytag Dishwasher. Put the racks back into the dishwasher, close the door, and set the controls for a short wash cycle. Check the washtub for proper draining when the cycle is complete.

Blockages and Clogs Other Places

Your Maytag dishwasher drains into your regular waste pipe system. The dishwasher may connect to the garbage disposal. A clog in the waste pipes or the garbage disposal can cause wastewater to stand in your dishwasher at the end of the wash cycle.

Open the tap on the sink with your disposal and turn on the disposal. Let the water and the disposal run for a few minutes.

If water backs up into the sink, you have a clog further down the waste pipe. Contact a plumber or drain specialist to eliminate this clog.

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Clean Dishes Equal a Happy House

A properly working dishwasher is a huge labor-saving device. It eliminates much of the drudgery of kitchen chores at mealtime. When your Maytag dishwasher doesn’t work properly, things can become frustrating. We hope that the information in this article helps you keep your Maytag dishwasher running in top form.

Dennis Howard
Dennis Howard

Dennis is a retired firefighter with an extensive background in construction, home improvement, and remodeling. He worked in the trades part-time while serving as an active firefighter. On his retirement, he started a remodeling and home repair business, which he ran for several years.

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