How To Unclog A Dishwasher?

Why Your Dishwasher Might Be Clogged?

The reason your dishwasher might be clogged in the first place is typically due to the large amount of food and grease built up within the drain hose, and sometimes the sink pipes which is under your sink.

If you take a look under your sink and locate a clear plastic hose (sometimes it might not be clear) do you see food particles built up around the edges of the hose. When you smell the sink does it have a bad odor. These are the small signs that will bring you closer to discovering the issue and identifying how to fix it. 

Now if you are also looking to replace your drain hose, click here.

Some Replacement Parts You Might Need

  • Replacement Drain Hose
  • Drill (Depending on your dishwashers location)
  • Screw Driver & Nut Driver
  • Screw-On Pipe Strap
  • Large Bucket & Towel
  • Standard Pliers

Steps To Unclogging Your Dishwasher

Step #1: Turn Off The Power & Water Supply

Now before starting anything you will want to ensure your dishwasher is turned off first, and then proceed to work on it. Locate your circuit breaker which is typically in the basement of your home. 

Switch the power off, and be sure to test your dishwasher to see if its turned off. Next will be to turn off your water supply which is also located in your basement or can be found under the sink.

Step #2: Identifying The Source Of The Problem

Once everything is turned off, our next job is to identify the source of the problem. There are a number of reasons why your dishwasher may be clogged and I have listed a few below.

  • Drain hose is clogged with food, in which case you can replace it or use a strong hose to flush the water out.
  • If your drain hose is broken and is leaking under the sink or under the dishwashers bottom front-panel, you will need to replace it right away. You can view how to replace a dishwasher drain hose here.
  • Your sink is clogged with food particles which means the water levels rise and eventually clog your drain hose. You will know if this is the issue if your sink is beginning to have a bad odor.

Step #3a: Cleaning Your Drain Hose 

Locate the drain hose under your sink, you will notice the hose which is directed towards your dishwasher. You will want to use pliers or a wrench to remove the drain hose from the sink. 

The second step we will need to take is to remove the dishwashers bottom front-panel. Underneath the bottom of your dishwasher is a panel which you should easily be able to remove, but sometimes you will need a screw driver.

Locate the end of the drain hose, and remove it from its end. When this is complete take the drain hose and run it under high pressure water such as under your sinks tap water to clear out food particles. Be careful when using sharp objects to try and push any food or grease out of the tube.

Step #3b: Fixing The Food Particles In Your Sink Pipes 

You can skip this step if you understand that the drain hose is causing the clogging. If you find bad odor coming from the sink, this turns from an appliance issue into a plumbing issue.

Technique #1: Add backing soda mixture to unclog the sink. My mixing baking soda and vinegar we can generate enough energy to break down the food particles found within your sink.

The first step is to pour backing soda down the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar. To prevent it from foaming upwards blog the sinks drain with a rubber stopped. After 30 minutes let hot water run through for 2-3 minutes.

Technique #2: Use a plunger to create pressure which will help unclog the food stuck in the sink pipes. You should perform this as if you were unclogging a toilet, just make sure not to use the same one!

Technique #3: Use boiling water and pour it down the sink to burn the food particles stuck within the pipes. I would keep this as a last resort as depending on your pipes (ex: PVC pipes) you may damage the inner material.

Step #4: Check And Ensure Everything Works

Once everything is cleaned, run the dishwasher 2-3 times and ensure everything is working properly. If not, you may need to replace your drain hose, or call a plumber to help unclog your sink.

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