Here are a few things you can try at home to fix a clogged dishwasher before calling a plumber:
1. Clean out the dishwasher drain: Most commonly, food or debris can get stuck in the bottom of your dishwasher, causing the drain to clog. To clean out the drain, make sure to remove all dishes and racks from the dishwasher. Next, take a sharp instrument or your fingers and unclog any debris the could be resting in or clogging your drain. If you find you still cannot clear out all the debris, take a wire clothing hanger, stretch it out and stick down the drain as far as possible to try to unclog any remaining food or debris. Remember, the dishwasher is a pretty great invention, but it’s not a garbage disposal. Make sure to thoroughly rinse all large pieces of food from your dishes before placing in the dishwasher in the future.
2. Check the drain hose: Sometimes the drain hose in the bottom panel of your dishwasher can get tangled or bent, and can slow the draining of water from the dishwasher. To check this hose, you can open up the bottom panel of the dishwasher. Next, check to see if there are any bends or kinks in the hose. Because of the constant hot water running through your dishwasher, this hose may tend to stretch and sag. If you see that the drain hose is clogged with debris , it may be possible to clean out, but you are probably better off buying a new drain hose and replacing it.
3. Remove the draining basket: Sometimes food can go beyond the dishwasher drain and get stuck in the draining basket. Yes, the one that is bolted down in the back of your dishwasher. The one you can reach. Unfortunately, to unclog this baby, you will have to really get yourself into the dishwasher and unscrew whatever kind of screws your dishwasher uses to bolt down the draining basket. Once you unscrew the basket, you can really get your hands on the nasty food and debris that has been collecting in your dishwasher. Unclogging an otherwise unreachable piece of food in the draining basket may be exactly what was clogging your dishwasher.
4. Check your garbage disposal: Did you know the plumbing between your garbage disposal and your dishwasher are connected? Make sure your garbage disposal isn’t also clogged. If it is, the problem might not be with your dishwasher after all. You might have an internal plumbing clog that has backed up into your dishwasher.
5. Call a professional: I’d say if you’ve tried steps one through four and your dishwasher’s still not working, it’s time to get your plumbing checked out by a professional. Check out YellowPages.com to find a plumber in your area that is equipped to deal with dishwasher clogs, and good luck!
Remember, to prevent a future clog, your dishwasher is not a garbage disposal. Thoroughly rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher!