Fixing a Dishwasher that Won’t Drain

Fixing a Clogged Dishwasher Drain – Here we have another simple problem that pops up from time to time, which can be a huge (emphasis on the huge) pain to fix. Even worse, this problem can be a huge pain to clean up after when it causes some massive chaos to happen in your home. The problem? That old dishwasher won’t drain again!

There are usually only a few different problems that can cause this dilemma. When facing it you have two choices: call an expensive repairman, or suck it up and do it yourself. Since you’ve taken the time to look this up, I’m assuming you went with the latter.

The only things that generally will cause a dishwasher to clog, is the food you are washing off getting lodged somewhere. The two most common places for this to happen is the drainage basket (or screen), and the drain hose. The drain hose only clogs when something is wrong with the basket or screen, because this items sole job is to keep the drain hose from getting clogged up.

First thing you need to do is get the water out of the dishwasher. When you unhook everything this could make an unsightly mess. If the bin for your dishwasher sits higher than the drain under your sink, unhook the drain pipe from the sink and use a piece of flexible tubing to start a siphon (think cleaning an aquarium). If this isn’t the case, get a shop vac. If this isn’t possible, grab a bowl and start bailing. Another option is to use a plunger (after the basket is removed), to try and jar free the blockage.

The next thing you need to do is get the drain basket out. The standard size for the bolts holding it on are 1/4″, although there are exceptions. There should be a few long screws holding it in place. After these come out, take it all out and give it a good cleaning; you will know if the problem lies in here. It can’t hurt to clean it anyways, however.

So you’ve done all this and still can’t find the problem? Now it is time to check the tubes. Just loosen up the drain line that runs under your sink and use a flash light to check up in there. Something that happens quite often is an air pocket will form keeping water from draining, unhooking it is often all you need to do. Use a coat hang to try and clear the pipes. If you miss some, often times the washer will clear the rest of the clog.

If all this fails, and you still can’t get the thing to drain, call a plumber! I know it admits defeat, but sometimes even us DIYers have to call in the professionals.

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