How To Force Drain a Dishwasher: A Step-by-Step Guide

Having a dishwasher at home is undoubtedly convenient, but there are times when it may get stuck and refuse to drain properly. A clogged dishwasher can be frustrating, but don’t worry – there’s a solution. In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of force draining your dishwasher, ensuring that you can get back to clean and hassle-free dishwashing in no time.

Understanding the Drainage Issue

Before you proceed with force draining your dishwasher, it’s essential to understand why the drainage problem might have occurred. Common culprits include food debris, soap scum, and mineral buildup that can clog the drainage system over time.

Safety Precautions

Before you start working on your dishwasher, ensure your safety. Turn off the power supply and disconnect the dishwasher from the electrical outlet to avoid any accidents.

Materials You’ll Need

Gather the following materials:

  • Screwdriver
  • Shop vacuum
  • Plunger
  • Bucket
  • Towels

Step-by-Step Guide to Force Drain Your Dishwasher

Turning Off the Power

The first step is to turn off the power supply to the dishwasher. This ensures your safety and prevents any electrical mishaps.

Clearing Visible Debris

Check the bottom of your dishwasher for any visible debris or food particles. Remove them carefully by hand.

Removing the Dish Rack

Take out the dish rack to access the drain area more effectively.

Accessing the Drain

Locate the drain, usually at the bottom of the dishwasher. It might be covered, so carefully remove the cover to access the drain.

Checking the Drain Valve

Inspect the drain valve for any clogs or blockages. Use a screwdriver to remove any debris that might be causing the blockage.

Using a Shop Vac

Use a shop vacuum to suck out any excess water from the dishwasher. This will make it easier to work on the drain.

Using a Plunger

Place a plunger over the drain area and give it a few gentle plunges. This might help dislodge any stubborn clogs.

Manual Siphoning

If you don’t have a shop vacuum, you can manually siphon out the water using a bucket and a hose. Make sure the other end of the hose is lower than the dishwasher.

Inspecting the Drain Hose

Check the drain hose for any kinks or blockages. Straighten the hose and ensure it’s properly connected.

Restarting Your Dishwasher

After successfully clearing the clog, reassemble the dishwasher components and turn the power back on. Run a short cycle to ensure that the water drains properly.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Future Clogs

To prevent future drainage issues, scrape off excess food from dishes before loading them, use a high-quality dishwasher detergent, and regularly clean the drain filter.


A clogged dishwasher drain doesn’t have to be a nightmare. By following these steps and safety precautions, you can effectively force drain your dishwasher and get it back to its efficient self. Remember, regular maintenance and preventive measures can go a long way in keeping your dishwasher running smoothly.


  1. Q: Can I use chemical drain cleaners for my dishwasher?
    • A: It’s not recommended as they might damage the dishwasher components. Stick to manual cleaning methods.
  2. Q: Why is my dishwasher not draining even after force draining it?
    • A: There might be a more severe issue at play. It’s best to contact a professional technician to diagnose the problem.
  3. Q: How often should I clean the drain filter?
    • A: Cleaning the drain filter every 2-3 months is a good practice to ensure smooth drainage.
  4. Q: Can I skip turning off the power and just unplug the dishwasher?
    • A: It’s safer to turn off the power before working on any appliance to avoid electrical accidents.
  5. Q: My dishwasher is still under warranty. Should I attempt force draining myself?
    • A: It’s advisable to check the warranty terms first. If the warranty covers repairs, it’s best to let the professionals handle it.