6 Easy Steps on How To Unclog A Dishwasher

A dishwasher can become clogged for a variety of reasons, from large pieces of food to grease and soap build-up.

If your dishwasher isn’t draining properly, it can quickly become backed up and overflow. This can cause water damage to your floors and cabinets and can even lead to an electrical fire.

By following these simple steps, you can easily unclog your dishwasher and get it back up and running in no time.

DIY Steps on How to Unclog Your Dishwasher

Here are the basic steps that you need to follow in order to unclog your dishwasher:

Step #1: Empty the Dishwasher

The first step is to empty out the dishwasher. This will allow you to access the drain and see what is causing the clog. If there is standing water in the dishwasher, you can use a wet/dry vac to suck it out. Otherwise, simply remove all of the dishes and glasses.

Step #2: Disconnect the Dishwasher

Next, you will need to disconnect the dishwasher from the power source. This can be done by unplugging it from the wall or flipping the circuit breaker. This is important for safety reasons, as you don’t want to be electrocuted while working on the dishwasher.

Step #3: Check the Garbage Disposal

If your dishwasher drains into the garbage disposal, then it is likely that the clog is in the disposal. To check this, turn on the disposal and see if the water is draining properly.

Be extra careful when doing this, as the blades are incredibly sharp. If the water is not draining properly, then you will need to use a plunger or a plumber’s snake to clear the clog. Once the clog is clear, turn on the dishwasher and see if the water is draining.

Step#4: Clear the Sink’s Air Gap

If you don’t have a garbage disposal, try to check the sink air gap. This is a small hole in the sink that allows air to enter and prevents water from flowing back into the dishwasher.

If this hole is clogged, water will back up into the dishwasher. To clean the air gap, remove it by turning it counter-clockwise then clear any debris blocking it.

If the water is still not draining, then proceed to the next step.

Step #5: Clean the Dishwasher Drain Hose

The dishwasher outlet hose or drain hose is located under the sink, and it is the hose that connects the dishwasher to the drain.

To clean the drain hose, disconnect it from the dishwasher using a pair of pliers. You can place a small bucket below the hose to catch any dirty water that may come out. Once the hose is disconnected, use a plumber snake to remove any debris that may be blocking the hose.

You can also run water through the hose to help clear any remaining clogs. Once the hose is clear, reconnect it to the dishwasher and turn on the water to test it.

If the water is still not draining, then you will need to proceed to the next step.

Step #6: Check the Dishwasher Drain

If the clog is not in the garbage disposal or the dishwasher drain hose, then it is likely that the clog is in the dishwasher drain. The dishwasher drain is a basket-shaped mesh screen that is located at the bottom of the dishwasher.

To clean the dishwasher drain, remove it from the dishwasher and use a plumber snake to remove any debris that may be blocking it. You can also run hot water mixed with baking soda through the drain to help clear any remaining clogs.

Once the drain is clear, replace it in the dishwasher and turn on the water to test it. If the water is still not draining, then you may need to call a dishwasher repair technician to fix the problem for you.

How To Prevent Dishwasher Clogs

Now that you know how to unclog a dishwasher, it is essential to learn how to prevent future clogs. There are a few simple things that you can do to help keep your dishwasher running smoothly, and these are:

Use dishwasher detergent that contains enzymes.

Enzyme-based dishwasher detergents are designed to break down food and grease, which can help prevent clogs and keep the machine and other parts drains properly.

Avoid using too much dishwasher detergent.

Using too much detergent can cause a build-up of soap suds in the dishwasher, which can lead to clogs.

Clean the dishwasher regularly.

Be sure to clean the dishwasher regularly, as a build-up of grease and food can lead to clogs. You can use a toothbrush to scrub away any build-up that you see.

Pouring hot water into the sink before starting the dishwasher.

Running hot water in the sink for a few minutes before starting the dishwasher can help prevent clogs by loosening any grease or food that may be caught in the pipes. It can also control the filter basket from getting clogged and creating a bad smell.

Use a dishwasher strainer.

A dishwasher strainer can help catch food and debris before it has a chance to clog the dishwasher.


By following the steps above, you should be able to fix your clogged dishwasher and prevent future problems. If you find that the water is still not draining, then you may need to call an appliance repair technician for help.

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