How to Unclog a Dishwasher


Having a dishwasher frees you from the time consuming chore of washing dishes by hand. What a lot of people forget about, however, is that their dishwasher requires regular maintenance in order to function properly. They usually realize this when they go to use it some day, and it’s not working and backed up. 

How to Unclog a Dishwasher

A clog in the dishwasher drain line is going to cause headaches on a number of fronts. First, your dishes won’t be nearly as clean. Second, your dishwasher won’t drain well, or at all. Third, you’re probably going to have to wash your dishes by hand again, until you get it fixed. 

As mentioned, dishwashers require regular cleaning, as they have a filtration system where food scraps and other unsavory debris can build up and create havoc. There are steps you can take, however, to keep your dishwasher running clean, fresh, and efficient, and free of clogs.  

1. Clear the Garbage Disposal

The cause of your clog may not actually be the dishwasher, but the garbage disposal, especially if the drain for the dishwasher runs through the disposal. Make sure to clean out your disposal regularly, and keep it free from debris and other items. Clogs in the garbage disposal can lead to standing water and backups in the dishwasher. Loosen the clogs, and run the garbage disposal completely to clear them out. 

2. Clean Air Gap

Air gaps are installed on kitchen counters in order to prevent sink water from back into the dishwasher. However, if there is buildup of debris in the air gap, it’ll cause the dishwasher to backup. If you’re seeing water flood onto your countertop, it could be a clogged air gap. Simply take the cap off of the air gap, and clean it thoroughly. 

3. Homemade Clog Clearer

If the clog is actually in your dishwashing line, you can try a homemade concoction to break it up. Use baking soda, vinegar, and hot water, adding the vinegar and baking soda to the basket at the bottom first. Let it sit there for around 15 minutes, and then rinse it with hot water to clear away the clog. 


Not sure where the issue lies with your dishwasher clog? Bring in All American Plumbing Heating & Air to troubleshoot and fix the problem. To schedule an appointment, call (209) 710-5629.