You stack all of the dirty dishes into the dishwasher as neat as can be, close the door, push the proper buttons, and walk away. You head back later in the evening to retrieve your favorite mug only to find that the dishwasher has a pool of stinky water floating in the bottom of the tub. We’ll show you how to unclog a dishwasher efficiently and naturally.
Not only that, we’ll give you some tips for preventing this from happening in the future. The dishwasher has been a favorite when it comes to kitchen inventions. Less time cleaning means more time enjoying our lives doing something we love.
This appliance can quickly become a burden when you see food particles resting in standing water at the bottom of your dishwasher after the wash cycle has supposedly finished. This problem could be the result of a few issues, but generally, it is caused by food debris that has clogged the dishwasher drain.
There are a few knee-jerk and logical reactions you may have in this situation. They may include but are not limited by a referral to your home warranty, calling a plumber, rereading your dishwasher owner’s manual, calling in your dishwasher back up brigade (this is when your kids come in handy), or putting on your rubber gloves and investigating and fixing the problem yourself.
Seeing as it is a relatively obvious issue of a drain clog, we recommend donning the rubber gloves and showing that washer how it’s done. Fair warning, you may still have to bring in the dishwasher brigade until you have finished the job.
How to Unclog a Dishwasher
A dishwasher clog can occur at any area along the drain path including the pump, sump, sink drain, and drain hose. It could also be the consequence of a faulty drain valve or impeller.
Before spending your hard-earned money paying for dishwasher repair, there are several things you can try at home. We have created a list of dishwashing unclogging recipes and techniques as well as some tips for clog prevention.
While chemical cleaners often do remove a dishwasher drain blockage, the ingredients are usually toxic and create harmful fumes and can damage your pipes. Why not use a natural drain opener instead that takes advantage of household cleaning supplies you probably already have at home?
1. Unclogging Dishwasher Drains
There a few things to check for when unclogging dishwasher drains. The first thing you’ll want to investigate is the garbage disposal. In many cases, the water from the dishwasher will drain through the garbage disposal unit.
If this is the case, then you want to make sure that the disposal is cleared. If you are having trouble not only with the dishwasher but the disposal as well, you may have a problem with drain gnats, too. The solutions for clearing clogs in the disposal and dishwasher will also help you learn how to get rid of sewer gnats and eliminate any unpleasant odors.
Clearing the Garbage Disposal
Start by shutting off the power switch for the garbage disposal. Use a flashlight to investigate the inside of the disposal in the kitchen sink drain to check for any large objects that may have gotten caught. If the issue is due to an object, use pliers to remove the item.
If the disposal is clogged with food debris, you can clean out the trap to clear the disposal. The p-trap is located beneath the kitchen sink. Place a bucket under the trap to catch food and gunk that may spill out as you clear it.
Loosen the slip nut on the pipe and gently wiggle the pipe free. With the open end of the hose over the bucket, pull debris out of the trap by hand or use a screwdriver to loosen up gunk that you can reach.
Once you have removed as much of the clogged material as possible, turn on the kitchen faucet. Allow water to rinse the sink drain down through the lower pipe and into the bucket to free any leftover clog.
2. How to Unclog the Dishwasher Air Gap
The air gap is a vital part of the dishwasher. If it becomes clogged, it will prevent the washer from draining correctly, resulting in the dishwasher draining into the sink instead of the dishwasher’s drain.
DIY Dishwasher Air Gap Cleaning
Start by removing the air gap positioned inside the sink cabinet. To do this, you will need to hold the air gap device while unscrewing the bolts. Remove any hose clamps and the drain hose, and extract them from the garbage disposal and dishwasher.
You can flush out the dishwasher drain hose using the kitchen sprayer and then set aside to drain. Begin by flushing water through the holes in the air gap. Use a soapy sponge or a toothbrush to clean debris and build up from inside and around the air gap.
Give the air gap a final rinse with clean water. Before reassembling, replace the old air gap washers with new ones. Doing this is an inexpensive way to ensure a good connection.
With the new washers in place, replace the hoses and clamps into their original position, making sure to tighten the hose clamps. Once everything is back in its rightful spot and tightened down, run the dishwasher through a cycle to make sure that there are no kinks or blockages in the drain line.
3. Cleaning a Dishwasher Drain
When the dishwasher’s drain becomes clogged with food debris, your dishes will not get a proper cleaning. This can lead to cross-contamination, bacteria, and soapy residue left on your dishes.
This homemade dishwasher cleaning solution is not only ideal for cleaning a dishwasher drain but the entire dishwasher, as well. There is nothing better than a double-duty remedy.
The first step in cleaning a dishwasher drain is to empty the dishwasher, remove the cleaning racks and dishwasher filter. Use the toothbrush and some soapy water to clean the drain located at the bottom of the dishwasher. Take this opportunity to clean any dirt build up on the spray arm and the inside of the dishwasher door.
Rinse the dishwasher tub with hot water and replace the drain filter. In order, pour the salt, baking soda, and vinegar into the dishwasher drain. When the vinegar and baking soda mixture cease bubbling, pour the bleach into the detergent dispenser, replace the dish racks, and run the dishwasher on a regular cycle.
4. Easy Dishwasher Drain Unclogging
This method is the easiest and most time-efficient way for how to unclog a dishwasher. These are some of the same ingredients used for making homemade dishwasher tabs, and there is no cleaning involved. You’ll be using the power of vinegar and baking soda to create a chemical reaction that will loosen up that food build up in the dishwasher drain.
Remove the dishwasher racks to allow easy access to the bottom of the dishwasher. Remove the dishwasher grate or filter and pour the baking soda and then the vinegar directly into the drain. The two ingredients will instantly combine and begin to bubble.
Allow it to bubble and do its job for several minutes. Pour hot water down the drain to flush away the loosened grime. Put the drain filter back over the drain and insert the dishwasher racks.
Rather than using caustic bleach that many people use for cleaning and disinfecting, sanitize with vinegar and baking soda instead. Your dishwasher drain will be clean and clear and ready for its next load.
5. How to Unclog a Dishwasher Drain Hose
There are times when the dishwasher clog has made its way into the drain hose. While this task is not quite as easy to perform as unclogging the drain, it is not impossible. Check your dishwasher owner’s manual first, but the following method is fairly standard for most units.
Dishwasher Drain Hose Unclogging
Pull the washing machine out away from the wall. You may have to remove the bottom access panel by removing a few screws first. Disconnect the power cord and the water supply.
Place a drip pan or sizeable flat dish beneath the hose connection and the garbage sink drain tailpiece to catch water spillage. Disconnect the hoses from the dishwasher and sink by loosening the hose clamps. Check the hoses for kinks and cracks.
If you find any damage, now is the time to replace them. Flex the hose around to loosen any clogging and then use a garden hose to flush water through the tube, forcing the clogged food and gunk debris free. If there is still clogging, you can use a coat hanger to gently probe the inside of the hose while pushing the clog loose.
Once the clog has been removed, reattach the hoses and clamps, reconnect the water and power supply, and push the dishwasher back into its place. Run the washer on a test cycle to make sure that the problem is resolved.
It is quite common to come across bumps in the road while performing home improvement tasks. Calling in an expensive plumber to take care of a dishwasher that is not draining may not be necessary.
You can take care of these simple roadblocks yourself with a few ingredients and the right tools. Knowing that you can tackle these issues and resolve them on your own can bring you great relief and some well-deserved pride.
We’re glad we could show you how to unclog a dishwasher, and hope that you’ll share our dishwasher unclogging tips with your friends and family on Facebook and Pinterest.