How to Drain that is Clogged Dishwasher: A Step-by-Step Guide

Having a clogged dishwasher can be frustrating and inconvenient. When your dishwasher fails to drain properly, it can result in standing water, unpleasant odors, and even potential damage to your appliance. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to drain that is clogged dishwasher. By following these step-by-step instructions, you’ll be able to tackle the issue and restore your dishwasher’s functionality.

Understanding the Causes of a Clogged Dishwasher

Before we dive into the steps to drain a clogged dishwasher, it’s essential to understand the common causes of such clogs. Food debris, mineral deposits, grease, and even small objects can accumulate over time and block the dishwasher’s drain system. Identifying the cause will help you determine the most effective method to clear the clog.

Safety Precautions Before Starting

Before you begin working on your dishwasher, it’s important to ensure your safety. Start by disconnecting the dishwasher from its power source and turning off the water supply. Wearing protective gloves and eye goggles is also advisable to avoid any potential harm.

Tools and Materials You’ll Need

To successfully drain a clogged dishwasher, gather the following tools and materials:

dishwasher troubleshooting
  1. Screwdriver
  2. Soft-bristle brush
  3. Old towels or absorbent cloths
  4. Plumbing snake (if required)
  5. Vinegar
  6. Baking soda
  7. Warm water

Step 1: Check the Dishwasher Filter

The first step in resolving a clogged dishwasher is to inspect and clean the dishwasher filter. Locate the filter, which is usually at the bottom of the dishwasher, and remove any accumulated debris. Rinse the filter under warm water to remove stubborn residue.

Step 2: Clear the Drain Basket

Next, remove the drain basket or strainer located at the bottom of the dishwasher. Clear away any food particles or debris that may be obstructing the drainage.

Step 3: Unclog the Drain Hose

If the dishwasher still isn’t draining correctly, the next step is to tackle the drain hose. Disconnect the hose from the sink’s drain or garbage disposal unit and inspect it for any clogs. Use a soft brush or a plumbing snake to dislodge the debris and restore proper flow.

Step 4: Clean the Garbage Disposal (If Applicable)

In case your dishwasher is connected to a garbage disposal unit, it’s crucial to clean it thoroughly. Food particles and grease can accumulate, leading to clogs and hindering proper drainage. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to clean the garbage disposal and remove any blockages.

Step 5: Use a Plumbing Snake (If Necessary)

For stubborn clogs that haven’t been resolved with the previous steps, a plumbing snake can come in handy. Insert the snake into the drain hose and gently maneuver it to dislodge the blockage. Be cautious not to damage any components while doing so.

Step 6: Test the Dishwasher Drain

After performing the necessary cleaning and unclogging procedures, it’s time to test the dishwasher drain. Reconnect the drain hose, turn on the water supply, and run a short cycle to ensure that the dishwasher drains properly. If the issue persists, consider seeking professional assistance.

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Maintenance Tips to Prevent Future Clogs

To avoid future clogs in your dishwasher, follow these maintenance tips:

  1. Scrape food particles off dishes before placing them in the dishwasher.
  2. Regularly clean the dishwasher filter and drain basket.
  3. Run a monthly cycle with vinegar to remove mineral deposits.
  4. Avoid pouring grease or oil down the sink or dishwasher.

How to clean dishwasher drain hose without removing it?

The easiest way to clean a dishwasher drain hose without removing it is by using a wet/dry vacuum. This type of vacuum can be used to suck up any debris that may be stuck in the pipe. Alternatively, you could try using a long, flexible brush to reach down into the pipe and remove any blockages.

If neither of these methods works, you may need to remove the hose and clean it out manually. To do this, first disconnect the hose from the dishwasher and then use a cloth or sponge to wipe away any food particles or other debris that has accumulated inside. Once you’ve finished cleaning it out, reattach the hose and test it out again.

Finally, if none of these methods work, you may need to replace the drain hose entirely. Make sure to purchase one that is compatible with your dishwasher model so that it fits correctly and works properly.

How to unclog a dishwasher drain hose?

Unclogging a dishwasher drain hose can be relatively easy. First, you should disconnect the hose from the dishwasher and inspect it for any blockages or debris. If there is anything blocking the flow of water, use a pair of pliers to remove it. Once the debris has been cleared, use a wet/dry vacuum to suck out any remaining dirt or grime. Finally, reconnect the hose and run a cycle with hot water and detergent to ensure that all of the residue has been removed. If these steps do not work, you may need to replace the hose entirely.

How to unclog a dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda?

Unclogging a dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda is a simple process that can be completed in just a few steps.

First, mix together equal parts of white vinegar and baking soda in a bowl. Then, pour the mixture into the dishwasher’s detergent dispenser. Run the dishwasher on its hottest setting to allow the mixture to circulate throughout the appliance. After the cycle has finished, check to see if the clog has been cleared. If not, repeat the process until it is cleared.

Once you have successfully unclogged your dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda, it’s important to run an empty cycle with hot water and dish soap before running any loads of dishes. This will help remove any remaining residue from the vinegar and baking soda mixture and ensure your dishes come out clean and spotless!


Dealing with a clogged dishwasher can be frustrating, but by following the steps outlined in this guide, you can effectively drain and unclog your dishwasher. Remember to take the necessary safety precautions and use the recommended tools and materials. By keeping up with regular maintenance, you can prevent future clogs and ensure your dishwasher runs smoothly.


Q: Can I use chemical drain cleaners to unclog my dishwasher?

A: It’s generally not recommended to use chemical drain cleaners in dishwashers as they can damage the appliance. Stick to the methods outlined in this guide for safe and effective unclogging.

Q: What if the clog is beyond my ability to fix?

A: If you’ve followed all the steps and the clog persists, it’s best to contact a professional dishwasher repair service. They have the expertise to tackle complex clogs and ensure your dishwasher is in good working order.

Q: Is it normal for dishwashers to have a mild odor?

A: While some odor can be normal, persistent foul smells may indicate a clog or other issues. Follow the cleaning steps mentioned in this guide to eliminate odor-causing factors.

Q: Can I use bleach to clean my dishwasher?

A: Bleach can be harsh on the dishwasher’s components and may cause damage. It’s best to avoid using bleach and opt for vinegar or baking soda instead.

Q: How often should I clean my dishwasher filter?

A: It’s recommended to clean the dishwasher filter at least once a month to prevent debris buildup and maintain optimal performance.

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