How to Unclog a Dishwasher

Having a dishwasher at home is a great convenience. It saves you time and effort in washing dishes, especially when you have a big family. However, just like any other appliance, dishwashers can experience problems, such as clogging. If you’re experiencing issues with your dishwasher, you’re not alone. In this article, we’ll be discussing how to unclog a dishwasher and keep it working efficiently.

What Causes Dishwasher Clogs?

Dishwasher clogs are typically caused by food particles, soap scum, and other debris that accumulate in the drain, filters, and spray arms. The accumulation of these materials can cause blockages in the dishwasher’s drainage system, preventing it from properly draining water.

Signs of a Clogged Dishwasher

If your dishwasher is clogged, you might notice the following signs:

  • Water not draining completely from the dishwasher
  • Standing water in the bottom of the dishwasher
  • Dirty dishes after a wash cycle
  • Unpleasant odors from the dishwasher

Steps to Unclog a Dishwasher

Here are the steps you can follow to unclog your dishwasher:

Step 1: Turn off the Power

The first thing you need to do is turn off the power to your dishwasher. You can do this by unplugging it or turning off the circuit breaker that powers it.

Step 2: Remove Debris from the Drain

Next, remove any debris from the dishwasher’s drain. You can do this by removing the bottom rack of the dishwasher and locating the drain at the bottom. Use a paper towel or a small brush to remove any visible debris from the drain.

Step 3: Check the Filters

After cleaning the drain, check the dishwasher’s filters. The filters are usually located at the bottom of the dishwasher and can be removed by turning them counterclockwise. Clean the filters with warm, soapy water and a soft brush. Rinse them with water and dry them before putting them back in place.

Step 4: Clean the Spray Arms

The spray arms distribute water to clean the dishes. Over time, they can get clogged with food particles and other debris. To clean the spray arms, remove them from the dishwasher and rinse them with water. Use a toothpick or a small brush to remove any debris from the spray arm holes.

Step 5: Run Hot Water

After cleaning the drain, filters, and spray arms, run hot water in the sink until it’s hot. Then, turn on the dishwasher and let it run for a few minutes. This will help clear any remaining debris from the dishwasher.

Preventing Dishwasher Clogs

Prevention is key to avoiding dishwasher clogs. Here are a few tips to keep your dishwasher running smoothly:

  • Scrape excess food from dishes before putting them in the dishwasher
  • Run hot water in the sink before starting the dishwasher to ensure hot water is used
  • Regularly clean the dishwasher’s filters, spray arms, and drain
  • Avoid using too much detergent, as this can cause buildup and clogs


Unclogging a dishwasher is a relatively easy task that you can do yourself. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can keep your dishwasher running smoothly and avoid any issues that might arise due to clogs. Remember to regularly clean the dishwasher and follow the prevention tips to keep it working efficiently.

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