What To Do About a Clogged Dishwasher

Doing the dishes may be a chore, but washing dishes with a clogged dishwasher is ineffective. Your machine is there to make life easier and wash dishes more efficiently. Like anything else in your home, they are prone to some wear and tear. One common problem your dishwasher can encounter is a clog. Food scraps can clog the drain and lead to a pool of dirty water at the bottom of your machine. When this happens, the dishwasher will start to smell and can create a mess.
It is better to take steps to avoid this altogether. Here are some steps that you can take to avoid a dishwasher disaster.

Properly Rinse Dishes

One of the easiest things you can do to prevent a clogged dishwasher is rinse your dishes. Wash all pieces of food into your garbage disposal or scrape them into your garbage can before it goes into the dishwasher. It may seem redundant to wipe the dish before it enters the dishwasher, but it is the best thing for your plumbing in the long run. This way your dishes are more thoroughly cleaned, and your plumbing is in less danger of backing up.

Run Your Dishwasher with Vinegar

Mineral buildup can also be a problem if you do not have a home water filtration system. It would be beneficial to look into a filtration system, but if that is not an option at the moment there are other temporary fixes. Running vinegar through your machine does wonders to break up minerals that are causing the clog. Run a cycle with a dishwasher safe container filled with about one cup of vinegar on the top rack. It is a good idea to do this occasionally, even if your drain is not backed up. It sanitizes and eliminates any smells that may occur with or without a clogged dishwasher.

Clean Filter Basket

The filter basket is designed to protect your drain from clogging if you haven’t properly scrapped food from dishes. Check and clean the basket regularly to save yourself from a clogged dishwasher. When you have a backup, this is most likely where your problem lies. Usually, it can be solved by taking it out and cleaning it, but it is not always the case.

Check Garbage disposal

Believe it or not, your garbage disposal can cause a few problems with your dishwasher. As they are often connected under your kitchen sink if your garbage disposal is backed up it can present itself as a clogged dishwasher. The best way to avoid this is to keep your garbage disposal clear. Filling the sink with hot water and running the disposal is a great way to help with any debris that may be stuck. The drain hose in your dishwasher is connected to the kitchen sink or garbage disposal and if there is a backup in your disposal it may not allow water to freely drain through the hose.

If it is too late and you already have a clogged dishwasher and cleaning the filter basket did not help, it may be time to call in a professional. They can help diagnose why your dishwasher may not be draining. Call Valley Fire Protection & Plumbing if you cannot find what is causing your dishwasher woes.

By: Tom Hartel
I acquired my expertise by directing day-to-day operations of the business for over 20 years. Continuous hard work helped me become a nationally recognized speaker and expert on fire protection, fire sprinklers, special hazards, and plumbing systems. In this blog, I share my knowledge that will hopefully help you make better decisions for your projects.


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