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How to Fix Clogged Dishwasher

    How to Maintain a Clean Dishwasher

    Our life has become so dependent on appliances that sometimes we do not even realize it. We use an appliance every 5 minutes from the moment we wake up. Most of the time these appliances work like a breeze as a result they become an integral part of our life. If at any point they break down, it becomes a hassle to resolve the situation. One such appliance that gets taken for granted is the dishwasher.

    Washing dishes is a task that most people do not enjoy doing as it can be time consuming, it involves dealing with food being stuck on the dishes and it isn’t a fun task to complete. It becomes a pain to most when there are a lot of people in the family and washing the dishes is only your job. Dishwashers, therefore, are a lifesaver. They make washing dirty dishes a very easy task. Not just the dishes, this machine can help you clean a lot of other things as well. Exhaust filters, dish sponges, plastic toys, soap and toothbrush holders, scrub brushes, hairbrushes, toothbrushes, dish racks, and so much more.

    Using dishwashers has its benefits over doing this task manually. Dishwashers not only clean the dishes but can also kill germs on the dishes. This is because it uses very hot water that can’t be used with bare hands. The sink is home to a lot of bacteria and germs as well. So washing dishes in a sink filled with soapy water is giving the dishes a germ bath. Additionally, the sponges are also an ideal place for the bacteria to grow and sustain. This means even a single swipe with the regular sponge can spread bacteria on the dishes. Therefore, dishwashers are the safest bet if you are looking for sanitized and clean dishes.

    A regular day at home with a dishwasher is pretty easy to deal with. Loading every dish in the dishwasher, running the cleaning cycle of your choice is all you need to do before carrying on with the rest of your chores. You will get an hour of free time that can be used to relax or ease the rest of your workload. The only challenge you may have to face is  taking the clean dishes out the dishwasher before reloading the dishwasher again.

    Just like any other electric appliance, even a dishwasher may have a bad day and it can stop running smoothly. Clogged dishwashers are common problems in homes that heavily rely on dishwashers and have no time to clean them. All the leftover food, oil, and other waste in the dishes clog in the dishwasher and create blockage overtime. While it is necessary to scrape the solid waste from the dishes, it is not needed to rinse the dishes in the sink. Now since there are a wide variety of dishes that you will be putting into the dishwasher regularly, clogs are expected perpetually.

    Latest dishwasher models come with a filter that collects all the waste separately, preventing them from creating blockages. But every filter has its limits and you may often find the filter clogged as well. This may be due to another underlying problem that may not be evident at the first look. It is advised to seek professional help before looking into the problem, but if you have even a little knowledge about appliances; you’ve come to the right place.

    The cause of a clogged dishwasher

    person holding dishwasher filter

    Filter Basket: As you may already know every dishwasher comes with a filter basket, this is to prevent any debris that may be on the dishes from getting into the pipes. It is not very easy to remove and can be tricky to clean. But if you know how to do it with a little bit of patience then you can clean it regularly. Hold the basket over the filter firmly and pull gently. If you want your dishes to come out clean then have this filter basket cleaned routinely. If you have hard water coming through the pipes then you can soak this basket in vinegar to remove any deposits on the filter. It is important to scrape these deposits as they can clog the filter basket gradually.

    Drain Hose: Even after cleaning the filter basket, the dishwasher doesn’t drain then you can follow this step to let your dishwasher drain the clog. A hose is connected between the kitchen sink and dishwasher that drains the water into the main sewer. Over a while, this drain hose has a sludge build-up inside that keeps the water from draining. If you have a little experience in cleaning the pipes around the house, this is an easy task for you. You can also clean the other pipes under the sink that are connected to the main draining line to keep the entire line clean. This will help you in eliminating other sources of drain problems.

    Garbage Disposal: The dishwasher also helps in disposing of the unwanted food from the dishes. This is safely discarded into the garbage disposal system. You need to be careful about two things when it comes to this part. First, if the garbage disposal is very old then it might need to be replaced. Older models tend to clog easier when someone is not careful about what they are putting in the disposal. Second, if you have recently replaced the garbage disposal and you are facing the clogging issues, check if the knockout plug is removed or not. If it isn’t removed it is causing all the clogging in your dishwasher.

    Clogged Drain: Now once you have checked everything with your dishwasher and found no issues with it, it is time to check the sewer line. There may be a clog in one of the drains of the sewer line. This may be blocking the dishwasher drain from going through. There are chances that there may be multiple clogs in your drain. If you see water gurgling back in the sink after the dishwasher drains, there is a major issue that needs to be sorted in the sewer line. But the good news is that your dishwasher is perfectly fine.

    Air Gap: Most kitchens have a small air gap installed next to the sink faucet over the kitchen counter. This is to prevent water from the sink backing into the dishwasher. Overtime this air gap may get clogged with any build-up that prevents the dishwasher from draining thoroughly. If you see water flooding on the counter, then you need to clean this air gap. The process is simple and all you need to do is remove the cap and clean any debris visible.

    Broken Sewer Drain Line: If you are facing clogs in other places at your home, like the toilet, or shower then it is time to get the entire sewer line checked by a professional. This may not be on your mind when you see a clogged dishwasher but there is definitely a chance if all else works fine. If this is the issue then you definitely need someone with knowledge about the sewer line around you and will have to spend a couple of bucks more.

    Sewer lines were generally laid 100 years ago and most have now outlived their actual lifetime. Shifting grounds, sections misaligning, or tree roots infiltrating the lines are a few reasons that can cause a broken sewer line. Professional plumbers use techniques like trenchless plumbing, sectional repair and replace or rehabilitate the entire piping system.

    Bonus Tip

    house cleaner cleaning the inside of the dishwasher

    Our friends over at Clean Corp have washed a few dishes and dealt with broken dishwashers.  They have given us some additional pro tips you can use today.

    • Use a homemade solution of baking soda, vinegar and boiling water to break the clog. If you see water clogging and backing up, then try this homemade solution. Mix vinegar and baking soda into a solution and pour it down on the basket present in the dishwasher at the bottom. Let this solution sit for 15 minutes and work its magic. Now pour boiling water onto it to see if the clog is clear.
    • Use your dishwasher regularly to make sure that there is no build-up settling at the bottom of the appliance. The more you use it, the more it is clean from dirt
    • Remove the dishes from the dishwasher and regularly run the maintenance correctly. Removing everything will ensure that you can easily access every part of the dishwasher.
    • A dishwasher has arms inside that spin to spray water on the dishes. Check the arms regularly to make sure they are spinning properly and the holes in the arms are clean. If there is any accumulation on the arms then the dishes won’t get cleaned properly. You can use a toothpick, or a thin wire to clean the holes.
    • Clean the exteriors and edges of the dishwasher as well. Unclean exteriors may lead to smelly dishwashers. Use a damp cloth and a regular cleaner to clean the door, insides, outsides, basket gasket, and detergent dispenser.

    A clogged dishwasher is a regular household affair if you do not take care of the appliance regularly. Therefore ensure a clean dishwasher so that you do not run into any such problems in the future.