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Like other appliances that use water, dishwashers are vulnerable to clogging. Left untreated, clogs can leave your dishwasher unable to function optimally.

You may not have to call a plumber, though. If you’re more of a DIY person, here are the steps you can take to fix a clogged dishwasher.

What you’ll need:

A garden hose
Flashlight (optional).
Clean rag.
Wire coat hanger (optional).
Pan (to trap debris and water).

Dishwasher Not Draining?

Step 1: Turn the dishwasher off.
Otherwise, you’ll risk electrocuting yourself while repairing the dishwasher. Remember to remove silverware and other dishes from the dishwasher.

Step 2: Detach the kickplate.
You can find the kickplate just below the dishwasher. How you’ll remove the kickplate will be dependent on the style of its fasteners. For instance, some fasteners may be removed by pulling them, while others may require a screwdriver. Set the fasteners aside in a plastic bag.

Step 3: Remove water with a towel.
To avoid falling or slipping while servicing the clogged dishwasher, wipe off any surrounding water with a towel.

Step 4: Find the drain hose.
If your dishwasher is backing up it’s possible that the drain hose is clogged. Located behind the dishwasher or under your sink, the drain hose runs between the drain and the dishwasher pump. If it’s too dark to see, use a flashlight.

Step 5: Detach the drain hose.
You can also use your flashlight to check where the hose connects to the pump. You’ll see a wire clamp, which you can loosen by pinching it with pliers.

Step 6: Inspect the drain hose.
Check the drain hose for signs of deterioration, including cracking or brittleness. If you spot some of these, it’s best to replace the hose ASAP.

Remember to check whether the hose is leaking or not. Run the dishwasher like you normally would, and observe if there’s anything unusual.

Step 7: Clean the dishwasher’s drain hose.
If the drain hose is clogged but is otherwise in good condition, that’s the perfect time you can start cleaning.

Pull the drain hose and detach it from beneath the machine. With older models, you may have to wiggle the hose from side to side a few times before it loosens. Ensure you keep all the parts in a safe place.

Before you do, have a dish or a pan beneath the dishwasher in the event of water spills. Use commercial de-cloggers or make your own.

Step 8: Break the clogs physically.
If the blockage is severe, you can loosen it by bending the hose from side to side. Carry this out in every few inches for the entire length of the hose. Concentrate on areas that you feel have more resistance than usual.

Position the end of your hose over a bucket or a drip pan while you’re physically splitting up clogs. This will help catch anything that falls out.

Step 9: Use a garden hose to clear out the drain hose.
Eject blockages by directing a stream of water to one end of your drain hose. You can also use faucets with the same water pressure as a garden hose.

If you don’t have a garden hose, or if your garden hose is also defective, use a wire coat hanger instead. Straighten it out with pliers, then pass it through the hose to unclog.

Be careful using this method, though. If the wire coat hanger isn’t completely straightened, it could scratch the drain hose and damage it further.

Step 10: Reconnect the hoses and check for leaks.
Apply firm pressure when reconnecting the drain hose to the pump. Put the hose in place using wire clamps, and pinch the clamps firmly with pliers.

As you can see, you can fix a clogged dishwasher by yourself. However, if the dishwasher won’t drain after doing the steps above, the best thing to do is to consult a plumber. After exhausting this DIY approach and consulting with a plumber, it’s possible that the drainage issue might be the result of a grease trap that needs to be cleaned. If so, please contact a professional grease trap cleaning company. We would more than happy to help you out!