Clogged Dishwasher: Top Prevention And Fixing Techniques

April 8, 2022
 | By 
Queen Plumbing Charlotte

Has it ever happened to you that you find your plates are still dirty after taking them out from a dishwasher? It is frustrating when a gallon of cloudy water gets stuck in your dishwater due to a clogged drain. The dishwasher drains getting clogged is a common phenomenon, and do not stress yourself out if your dishwasher is not draining properly.

Some of your daily habitual activities could be the reason for your dishwasher getting clogged. For example, leaving the plates inside the dishwasher with food is one of the main reasons behind a clogged dishwasher. The food clogs the filter basket and obstructs the water from running through the drain pipe.

You might start searching for a plunger to drain out the dirty water in such a situation. But a plunger will not always help you in such cases, and you need to follow more steps to unclog the dishwasher drain. Here in this article, we will discuss the actions that will help you quickly get rid of your clogged dishwasher.

Reasons Behind Dishwasher getting clogged

A plumber cleaning the filter basket of a dishwasher

In most cases, it is seen that our carelessness creates a clog in the dishwashers. Here are some of the reasons-

Not Removing Food From Plates

We must remember that dishwashers rinse the plates and remove the germs. The problem begins when you put the dishes into a dishwasher with a chunk of food. A dishwasher will be able to remove the food and clean the plate, but the food will get create a clog in the filter drain basket.

Minerals From Water Filter

There is a possibility of minerals building up inside the appliances related to water. These minerals create a block inside the pipes and slow down the water flow. Also, when the water cannot flow properly, the machine tends not to work properly.

Steps to Prevent Your Dishwasher From Clogging

  • Separate all the food from the plates before putting them inside the dishwasher.
  • Use baking soda or vinegar to clear the minerals block from the drain hose.
  • Clean the filter basket by removing the food stored in the basket.

The Methods Of Detecting a Clogged Dishwasher

Besides getting dirty dishes from the dishwasher, some other signs will help you realize that there is a problem with your dishwasher.

Abnormal Shaking

When the despise clogs your dishwasher drain, the water cannot go out of the machine through the drain hose. Due to this, your dishwasher will start shaking heavily with an abnormal gurgling sound.

Water Remains After Turning On The Cycle

The dishwasher is not draining correctly if water is left even after using the rinse cycle. Sometimes the leftover food gets stuck inside the drain hose and creates a clog. This clog stops the water from going out and makes a mess.

Water Drains Out Slowly

The drain pipes cannot pull the water if there is a clog. The food creates a clog, which stands as a barrier for the water to come out. As a result, you will see that the water from the dishwasher is draining out slowly.

Water Remains In The Kitchen Sink

The kitchen sink is connected to the dishwasher to drain from the sink's drainage system. After you operate your dishwasher and see that the water is backing up in the sink, there are clogs in the dishwasher drains.

These are some primary signs you will understand that the dishwasher is not draining correctly. Besides all these signs, the clearest sign is noticing uncleaned plates or dishes. You will get dirty dishes with cloudy water even after completing the wash cycle.

Ways To Fix Your Dishwasher

A worker cleaning the garbage disposal of a dishwasher

You can quickly clear the drain line of your dishwasher and unclog it without the help of a professional. We explained how to unclog the dishwasher to understand and apply the solutions by yourself.

Evacuate The Dishwasher

Before starting the cleaning process, you have to take all the dishes and other utensils from the machine. To get easy access to the dishwasher, first, you have to take out the bottom dishwasher rack. Set all the dishes aside that you removed from the dishwasher if they are not clean. It will help to keep the other dishes in the kitchen clean.

Have A Check On The Garbage Disposal

Not all dishwashers have a built-in garbage disposal, so follow this step if you have one. If there is garbage disposal with your machine, turn it on to clean the waste from the drain hose. Sometimes this method works and cleans out the pipe without any hassles.

Power up the rinse cycle to check whether turning on the garbage disposal has solved the problem. If switching it on washes away the detergent or cloudy water, you have successfully solved it.

Disconnect The Dishwasher

If the previous step does not solve the problem, you must step forward. For processing the further steps, at first, unplug the dishwasher from the electricity source. The following steps will make you go for deep cleaning, and to avoid electrical shock, you must disconnect the machine.

Extract The Standing Water

It is impossible to fix the machine without removing the water inside the dishwasher. So, to avoid messing up your cleaning process, you need to extract the water. You can take the help of a towel and wet vacuum to remove the water.

Not every people has a wet vacuum in their house. So, considering this situation, we have come up with an alternative idea. To take out the water, you can use a bowl instead of a wet vacuum. After taking the water from the dishwasher, extract the remaining water with a towel. It will give you a dry finishing touch and help you not slip while cleaning.

Unclog The Dishwasher Drain Line

The Hose connects the machine with the drain. To unclog the line, you must first disconnect the hose by pilers. While removing the clamp by the pilers, put a round bowl under the hose to collect the water that will spill.

After removing the hose, you will reach the line and use a de-clogger to remove the clog. But if you find the line is already clean, there might be a despise in the dishwasher drain.

Wash The Drain

Most drain clogs occur due to debris getting stuck in the drain. So after you clean out the water, you can start cleaning the debris from the dishwasher hose. To remove the clogs, make a solution by mixing equal vinegar and baking soda.

You have to put the solution of vinegar and baking soda in the bottom part of the dishwasher and keep it for 15minutes. Once the solution is set, please turn on the rinse cycle to its highest power setting.

Examine The Dishwasher Filter Basket

Check the appliance's filter basket when everything is okay with the drain pipe and still facing a water clog. Check whether there is any blockage in the bucket. If you find any blockage, then clean the filter basket.

Check The Air Gap In The Sink Drain

The dishwasher that does not have garbage disposal will have an air gap system in the sink. It is under the kitchen sink, shaped as a slotted cylinder. To find out if the problem lies in the air gap, turn it anticlockwise and displace it. After replacing it, take a stiff brush and remove all the debris. Then put it back in its previous location by turning it clockwise.


Why is there standing water in my dishwasher?

When your dishwasher fails to drain out the water, then you will see water inside the machine. You will face this situation if food gets stuck inside the drain hose or garbage disposal. A poor draining system is another reason behind standing water.

How do you unclog a dishwasher drain hose?

To unclog the drain hose, you will need baking soda, vinegar, and hot water. You have to put the baking soda and white vinegar to lighten the waste. After that, turn on the rinse cycle by pouring hot water.


While using a dishwasher, you will face problems related to clogging. But if you are well aware of some basic rules about using and fixing a dishwasher, it will help you a lot. Before using a dishwasher, you should know what activities assist a dishwasher in clogging. This article provided you with every kind of knowledge regarding dishwasher clogging.

To fix any plumbing problem, including a clogged dishwasher, the QUEEN CHARLOTTE PLUMBING has got your back. Call us at 704-707-3339 or visit us at 8424 Old Statesville Rd Charlotte for your plumbing needs.