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Learn how to unclog a dishwasher with Home Knows. If your dishwasher doesn't work properly, is clogged, or stinks then read this guide.

How To Unclog or Fix Dishwasher That’s Not Draining


Here is the complete step-by-step guide on how to unclog a dishwasher.


A dishwasher is the most helpful appliance for your busy routine. If you have a busy schedule then the dishwasher helps to save your precious time.

This machine has lots of benefits, but after all, it is one type of machine. Sometimes it breaks down or creates issues like clogging, stinking, water leaking, etc. So what to do in this situation? Either you call the dishwasher technician or do it yourself.

That’s why we created this guide. If you follow these guides correctly, this process is completed in less than 30 minutes. Before knowing the process of how to unclog a dishwasher, we must know what are the reasons that make clogging!

Without further delay, let’s discuss if your dishwashing machine drain hose is clogged or another issue.

How To Know if Your Dishwasher is Clogged?

Like other things, a dishwasher drain line clog also has some visible symptoms. So let’s check out how you can identify those signs before getting into the cleaning process!

1 – Do you hear abnormal sounds?

If you hear any abnormal shaking, thumping, or gurgling sounds, it’s a major turn-off! Make sure you listen to it while you’re running your dishwashing machine. It sounds like the water is trying to unleash via a clog in your primary or secondary sewerage system.

2 – Did you notice slow draining?

It indicates a partial or significant clog in your kitchen sewerage system whenever you observe water pooling at the bottom of your sink or dishwashing machine. You must clear this clog ASAP so the future won’t come with more severe issues.

3 – Is your dishwasher stinking?

A foul odor is another crucial sign not to be ignored! When you observe that you’ve already cleaned your filter basket and something is still feeling stinky out of the dishwasher installation, there’s a clog to blame. And it also says that you’ve not done cleaning well!

So, go, and clean it properly. Particles and clogs will build up without regular cleaning too. So, ensure you have a disciplined routine of decluttering or kitchen organization once every 4-5 times a month.

4 – Check if any type of food choke up your drain line

It means your dishwashing machine isn’t draining correctly if there’s standing water even after the wash cycle. This is because some leftover food particles are clogging the system.

So, you need to inspect the concern and clean the drain basket thoroughly. There’s a significant clog within the drain line if cleaning the drain basket also didn’t solve your problem.

5 – Do you add dirty dishes?

Is your dishwasher installation fulfilling its primary purpose? Are your dishes coming out clean? If they are coming out dirty, and before you’re suffering from a clog in its drain hose, here’s a sign that you’re suffering from a clog.

6 – Installing a new garbage disposal

If the garbage disposal isn’t done right, it may cause a clog of the entire system. So, you need to get your installations done with technical expertise, not to get such kinds of return gifts.

The clog may generally happen when the knockout plugs aren’t removed during installation. So pull that plug now and eliminate your clogging issue if this is the case. Also, think of replacing your old garbage disposal with the new one,e as the older one has more clogging issues to keep you busy often!

How to Unclog a Dishwasher: The Best Way

1 – Run your garbage disposer

Turn on your kitchen sink tap, and flip its garbage disposal. The purpose here is to let the water pass thoroughly through this disposal. Since the dishwashing machine garbage disposal and kitchen sink share the identical drain line, this running water would help clear out the clogged path.

2 – Run a complete dishwashing cycle

If the problem persists, turn on the power, and rerun the complete dishwashing cycle. Also, check if you’ve used the suitable detergent and loaded the dishwasher correctly.

Open the door once the cycle stops, and check if any water is still standing at the bottom of the dishwashing machine. You need to call the expert technician if you see an abnormal amount of water standing.

3 – How to unclog a dishwasher with Baking Soda

You can use a DIY mixture of equal vinegar and baking soda. Mix them with water, and pour them into the dishwasher drain basket at the bottom. Let it sit there for 15 minutes, and wait for the cleaning magic to happen!

Pour hot water from the top after those 15 minutes of a miracle. It will probably flush out all the unclog and baking soda solution. And it’s one of the most effective ways to unclog a dishwashing machine!

4 – Check dishwasher filter

If your dishwasher is clogged then clean your dishwasher filter.

You also need to check the filter, which is located at the bottom of the dishwasher tub near the spray arm. You can change the filter if it’s too old and doesn’t work correctly, even after regular cleaning.

Many homemakers don’t even realize that the filter needs to be changed after a specific period. The filters of high-quality dishwashing machine can last up to 5 years but not more. And they are generally located at the bottom of the dishwashing machine if you’re facing any difficulty finding them!

5 – Try Dishwasher Cleaner

Try dishwasher cleaner for unclogging your dishwasher.

If you’re thinking of how to unclog a dishwasher, just stop right there! Although we know it’s an effective chemical ingredient to solve issues for unclogging pipes, it’s never ideal for things like dishwashing machines. It will instead harm its garbage disposal and prevent it from functioning correctly.

Instead, you can use products like Glisten Dishwasher Cleaner, a dedicated product designed to remove rust, grease, limescale, and buildup from the affected parts.

6 – Check all the plumbing connection points

You must check the connected drain hose when your dishwasher stops draining. First, check if it’s securely connected to the garbage disposal or kitchen sink! It should also clear of unwanted garbage or food remnants clogs. If any components show damage signs or wear, it’s an indication to replace them immediately.

Common Causes Of Dishwasher Drain Line Clogs

Despite replacing your old garbage disposal with the new one, plenty of other causes could clog your dishwasher drain hose, and you may identify them generally. So, let’s learn about those causes below!

1 – Blockage in a sewer line

There could be a high chance of significant issues around the sewer line. The main sewer line can be clogged for various reasons despite just getting stuck with household stuff.

It’s a more complicated issue, especially when you won’t find any clogs in the filter or drain hose. It simply means that the main line is badly affected, and you won’t have to think twice about taking action. Cleaning the main sewer line may need professional help, so don’t hesitate to ask out expert technicians!

2 – Malfunctioned in the pump

If you observe that the water is still standing at the bottom of the dishwasher even after all the wash cycles, there could be a high chance of pump malfunction. These kinds of water pump failures are caused by the broken motor while leaving the water behind that is supposed to drain into the hose!

3 – Detergent powder

Some specific dishwashers require a particular type of detergent powder, while others don’t. Always use a suitable detergent powder for your dishwasher.

4 – Clogged air gaps

Air gap in the sink is a major issue of a clogged dishwasher. To take care of this air gap, you must thoroughly check for the cylindrical covering surrounding its area and look for any debris or dirt particles stuck there!

5 – Old plumbing

Another common cause of clogged drain lines in dishwashers is worn-out plumbing. And this could be a full possibility if you’re using the same plumbing line years and years over.

Dishwashers can’t tolerate old plumbings, and thus they often stop working. Also, you need to frequently check for your kitchen plumbing overhaul over time while also considering the costs depending upon the pipelines.

How to Unclog a Dishwasher Drain Hose?

Before you know how to unclog the dishwasher with standing water, you may know the reasons. However, if water is in the dishwasher filter area, there could be issues, mainly in the air gap and garbage disposer.

So, it would be an intelligent choice if you first look at solving these specific areas!

Final Words

We hope this guide clarifies your answer on how to unclog a dishwasher. Most of the time this issue is fixed manually. Otherwise, you need to contact a dishwashing machine technician or plumbing expert to fix it.

Also, cleaning your dishwashing machine periodically will help to prevent all unwanted issues!


Q. How do you unclog garbage disposal?

Primarily, you should use a DIY mixture of equal parts vinegar and baking soda to clean the grime or any residual dirt within the garbage disposal. You can try using a plunger, too, to dissolve and push the clogs.

Other than these, there’s an option to restart your garbage disposal, remove the p-strap, and use the plunger snake to drill through the clog.

For more information read this guide – How To Unclog Garbage Disposal

Q. How to unclog a dishwasher drain line with household products?

The same items that you can use to unclog a dishwasher drain line are a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. We’ve already mentioned the steps to open a dishwashing machine with baking soda. It’s the best homemade dishwasher cleaner too!

Try to clean your dishwashing machine drain with equal parts vinegar and baking soda. You can make their mixture with water and put it in the drain for 5-7 minutes.

After approx. 7-8 minutes, you need to pour hot boiling water so that every dirt or grime leaves the drain and wash off with hot water.

You can clean the drain just with hot water too! And while doing all of this, ensure it’s not super-boi or led, as that can damage the drain.

Q. How to unclog a dishwasher without vinegar?

There’s another option to clean your dishwasher drain without vinegar or baking soda. However, the solution of baking soda and vinegar is the most effective, but still, you can put a sachet of lemonade mix into the soap cup. And you need to run a complete cycle of hot water after that to wash off the clogs!

Q. What should you not mix with vinegar?

You should never have three combinations with vinegar: hydrogen peroxide, bleach, and baking soda. Yet, here’s a twist: you can use the solution but with certain precautions in mind.

First, note that the acidic vinegar and baking soda mixture can leave behind an explosive if kept in a closed container. So, don’t keep it in a container, and keep the mixture out of reach of pets and children.

Q. Where is the food trap in a dishwasher?

To access food trap or filter in the dishwashing machine, go to the bottom of dishwashing machine and remove the lower disk rack.



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