How to Unclog a Dishwasher Drain

how to unlcog a dishwasher drain

A dishwasher is a must-have kitchen item these days. Not only does it make dishwashing a whole lot easier, but it saves you from the process of scrubbing the dishes yourself. Apart from this, it saves you a lot of time. Imagine that you just had guests over and they stayed late at night. In the morning you have an office. If you start washing the dishes, you won’t be able to wake up on time. On the other hand, you will have a mess on your hand when you get back from the office.

Thus, a dishwasher is more than handy. On top of it all, it doesn’t cost much. A quality dishwasher is around $400. A more luxurious dish washer can set you back by $700. While dishwashers don’t cost much, they do require maintenance. Otherwise, they can run into problems. The most common problem with dishwashers is a clogged drain. When that happens, the dishwasher will not drain itself, causing loads of problems.

Signs of a Clogged Dish Washer Drain

There are several signs that indicate a clogged dishwasher drain.

Gurgling Sound

If you hear too many abnormal noises coming from the dishwasher, it indicates that the drain is clogged, and the water is trying to break through. Excessive vibrations indicate the same.

Water in the Sink

When the dishwasher pushes the water back into the sink, it means that the drain is clogged and the water cannot escape.

Unclean Plates

Imagine that you left your dishwasher on overnight hoping to use clean dishes in the morning. When you open the dishwasher in the morning to use the dishes, you notice that the dishes are still unclean. If that’s the case, we recommend that you check the drain pipe. 9 times out of 10, unclean dishes are because of a clogged drain.

Slow Draining

Another sign of a clogged dishwasher drain is if the water is draining slower than usual. Trust me, it is impossible not to notice it.

Standing Water in the Dishwasher

If the water is not draining at all, it is time for you to keep reading this article because we will soon talk about how to unclog a dishwasher with standing water. Other than that, we will also talk about how to fix a clogged dishwasher drain when the problem is not of standing water but something else.

How to Unclog a Dishwasher

A dishwasher can become clogged for multiple reasons. Despite the variety of reasons, following the below steps can help you unclog a dishwasher irrespective of the reason.

1. Inspection

Before jumping in to fix the clogged dishwasher, diagnose the problem. At times, the problem might not be a clogged drain or anything like that. Therefore, undertake a thorough inspection to find the problem. If you are sure that the problem is a clogged drain, move to the next step which is getting the tools.

2. Gather the Right Tools

You will be needing items like:

  • Gloves
  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Screwdriver
  • Drain Snake

3. Unplug the Dishwasher

Before you start to apply the below solutions, we request that you unplug the dishwasher. Remove the plug from the socket for added safety. Once it is safely turned off, you can start implementing the solutions.

Follow these steps carefully to unclog your dishwasher drain quickly and for the best results.

If you are searching for how to unclog a dishwasher with standing water, we recommend that you check underneath the dishwasher for any signs of blockage. Usually, leftover food pieces or oil from the dishes block drainage. Just clean it up but make sure that you are wearing gloves. This is also the answer to how to clean a dishwasher. Most people do not realize that dishwashers require maintenance just like any other machine. Therefore, a little inspection underneath the dishwasher can extend its durability and make sure that it does a good job of cleaning the dishes.

Another common query is how to unclog a dishwasher drain hose. Well, it is quite easy. All you have to do is inspect the drain hose connecting with the sink and garbage disposal. You can use a screwdriver or any other similar item and poke it through the hose. If you don’t feel comfortable with it, blow high-pressure air into it. This will unclog the dishwasher drain hose. Also, make sure that the hose seal is tight.

If you have a slow draining issue, check the filter. When the filter is full/dirty, it will prevent the water from draining. Check your owner’s manual for more information on the filter. Once you find it, we recommend that you clean or change it altogether. 9 times out of 10, this is the correct answer to how to drain a clogged dishwasher.

Another solution how to unclog a dishwasher drain line is by using baking soda and vinegar. All you need to do is mix one cup of each and pour it onto the standing water underneath the dishwasher. After 20 minutes, if you see that the water is starting to drain, use hot water for rinsing purposes. Then, turn on the dishwasher’s rinse cycle. This will most likely clear the debris clogging the drain. We do not recommend using chemicals and other drain cleaners. While they can get the job done, they end up doing more harm than good. How? These chemicals are bad for your drain pipes. So, use them only when you have no other choice left.

Load the Dishwasher Correctly

At times, people are not loading the dishwasher as laid down in the instruction manual. Due to it, the dishwasher experience problems like drain clogging. Therefore, before using the dishwasher, make sure that you are loading it properly. Improper loading can cause other problems which can prove quite costly to repair or might require a full replacement.

What to do if the Dishwasher is Making a Humming & Clicking Sound?

When the dishwasher is running, lookout for sounds like humming or clicking. If you can hear such noises, we are afraid to say that it is time to call for professional help. Why? Well, the reason for these noises is a faulty drain pump and motor. You will need to replace them to get rid of the noises and make sure that the drain remains unclogged. Unfortunately, it is not something that you can do yourself. Even if you find a YouTube video telling you how to do it, we recommend that you don’t try it. You might end up voiding your warranty or worsen the problem. Hence, call for professional help right away when you hear these sounds.


How often should I clean my dishwasher drain?

A clean dishwasher drain is recommended once every six months. This will help prevent clogs and ensure that your dishwasher works at its best.

Do chemical drain cleaners work on dishwasher drains?

It is not recommended to use chemical drain cleaners in your dishwasher as they can damage internal components. The best way to unclog a drain is using a wire hanger or hot water.

What if I can’t locate the dishwasher drain cover?

The location of the dishwasher drain cover can vary depending on your dishwasher’s make and model. When in doubt, consult your manufacturer’s instructions or a professional.

Is it necessary to turn off the dishwasher power before unclogging the drain?

Yes, it is important to turn off the dishwasher power supply before unclogging the drain to avoid any electrical hazards.

What if the clog persists even after attempting to clear it?

If the clog persists, it’s best to call a professional plumber or appliance repair service to prevent further damage to the dishwasher.

Wrap Up

After reading this article, we are sure that you now know how to fix a clogged dishwasher and how to clean a clogged dishwasher. The solutions we mentioned above will get the job done as they are tried and tested methods. If you have any questions regarding the above methods, feel free to ask them in the comments section below or send us an email. We will get right back to you. Lastly, do not ignore a clogged dishwasher. When you feel that the dishwasher is clogging up, use the methods listed above to start the unclogging process.

Humza Ahmad Barlas
Humza Ahmad Barlas is a dynamic freelance writer and a passionate expert in home improvement, contributing valuable content to for over a year. Specializing in home decoration, cleaning tips, and renovation strategies, his articles offer practical and appealing solutions for homeowners looking to enhance their living spaces. With a strong foundation in digital media, Humza excels in creating engaging narratives and insightful content. His expertise in content strategy and digital marketing shines through in every piece, making him a trusted and authoritative voice for readers seeking reliable home improvement advice.