How Does A Dishwasher Get Clogged? How To Unclog A Dishwasher

Clogged dishwashers are common occurrence in most households. While the problem can be quite frustrating with all the standing and smelly water, the solution is simpler than you’d imagine. And without the need to call a professional either!

Read on to know all about dishwasher clogging and easy DIY tips to try at home to fix the problem

Reason For Dishwasher Getting Clogged Up

If your dishwasher has completed the wash cycle but you still find water standing in the tub, you could try cancelling the cycle, switching off the power button and turning it on again, to check if the water drains itself out when the cycle resumes. If not, then it most likely indicates towards a dishwasher clogged up, possibly owing to all the food waste left on your dishes.

Besides leftovers, there are a few other reasons why your dishwasher could have a clog:

  1. Filter basket is not clean: The filter basket of the dishwasher is fitted in the drain to collect all kinds of scrap, peels and food waste so that they don’t get to enter the drainage pipe and clog it. Sometimes the small holes in the filter basket may get blocked because of the tiny food particles getting stuck within them. This may result in dishwasher overflow. The size of the filter may depend on the size of the dishwasher.
  2. Drain hose is blocked: A hose pipe connects your dishwasher with the kitchen sink drain or garbage disposal filter. In case your filter is clean or you’ve emptied the filter basket of all the scrap and still the water doesn’t drain out, it’s time to check your drain hose which might’ve been clogged up with all the waste passing through and blocking it.
  3. Clogged drain: Sometimes the drain down the sewer line may have got blocked which may be clogging up your dishwasher. In fact, if more than one drain is blocked, or water rushes back into the sink when the drain cycle of the dishwasher runs, the problem may be more severe than a simple clog and would need professional assistance.
  4. Sewer line is broken: This is perhaps a more serious issue; not a very common cause for dishwasher clogged up but could result in one and often needs plumbing help. A broken sewer line may result in blocking all the drains of your house, including the one connecting to the dishwasher.

How To Unclog A Dishwasher

Reasons may be many but the remedy is indeed quite simple when you think of how to unclog dishwasher. Follow the simple tips detailed below to remove all blocks from the dishwasher and make it in perfectly running condition yet again.

  1. Clean the garbage disposal – The water flows through the dishwasher and drains out through the garbage disposal. It is therefore very important to keep it clean and clear as much as possible to avoid any blockage and inconvenience to your daily dish-washing routine. If the garbage disposal fills up, it would result in water backing up and standing inside the dishwasher. You should fully run your disposal and loosen up any clogs.
  2. Clean the air gap – A lot of kitchens have an air gap installed on the kitchen counter, just next to the faucet, in order to prevent water from the sink to back up into the dishwasher. For this mechanism to function smoothly and effectively, it’s important to keep this gap free of any waste build-up. A clogged air gap may also lead to water flooding on your kitchen counter so you’ll know it’s time to fix the issue.
  3. Use a homemade solution to unclog – If the water backs up into your dishwasher and is left standing, a simple solution is to prepare a mix of vinegar, baking soda, and hot boiling water at home to break up the clog. Pour the vinegar-baking soda solution down the filter basket situated at the bottom of the dishwasher. Allow it to rest there for about 10 minutes and then pour hot water through the basket. The clog would clear up. Simple and instant!
  4. Clean the drain hose – If even after cleaning the filter basket, water is still backing up, it’s time to do a quick check on the drain hose which might be clogged and causing a problem. You can detach the hose physically at the point where it connects with the pump. There is a wire clamp at this connecting point – loosen it up with pliers and pull the hose to free it of the pump. Remove it from under the dishwasher and use a direct water stream such as that from a garden hose to flush out the clogs from the drain pipe.
  5. Clean the dishwasher drain – Sometimes the problem may lie at the bottom of the pipe near the drain. You may have to check your dishwasher manual to find out the exact location of the drain. Now remove the drain catch and filters. You can use a bent wire hanger to snake through the drain holes and extract any clogs. A tbsp. of baking soda and 2 tbsps of vinegar can also work magic. Just pour down the solution through the drain holes and allow the acidic reaction to occur, clearing up any clogs.
  6. Clean up the spray arm – Your dishwasher’s spray arms has nozzles that might easily get blocked because of all the food waste and hard water sediments. This can be indicated due to lesser efficiency in cleaning power of the dishwasher (compared to earlier), or you may notice something blocking the holes physically. Check the dishwasher manual on how to remove the arms, soak them in vinegar solution for at least 20 minutes, and clean the holes with a pipe cleaner or paperclip.

If this is a recurring problem, it might be time to replace your dishwasher. Hard food disposer dishwashers are quite durable in our opinion for standard built-in installations. Other cost-effective options include compact countertop dishwashers.

Summing Up

Your dishwasher is a daily-use item without which your everyday routine can come to an unwelcoming halt. Take proper care of it and perform regular cleanings for its smooth maintenance and running. Seek professional assistance if the problem persists for long.

you can find answers to some of the most asked questions about dishwasher by clicking the link.

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