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How to Fix a Clogged Dishwasher

If your dishwasher isn’t draining very well, as is often the case with instances of water pooling in dishwasher machines, chances are that the dishwasher is clogged. Before you call for a service technician, there are some things you can try to fix your clogged dishwasher.
It’s often best to act as soon as you notice a problem with the dishwasher drain. Clogged dishwashers may become harder to fix if allowed to stay that way for days. Here’s what you can do to troubleshoot and fix it.

Table of Contents

Start with the Filter

A common cause of a clogged dishwasher is a dirty filter. Small particles of food and other materials that get trapped in the filter’s mesh can prevent it from working properly. If you want to find out how to keep the dishwasher filter functional over time, check out our Dishwasher Filter blog post.
Here’s what you can do to clean the filter and clear the clog:

Step 1: Remove It

To remove the filter, you first have to remove the grille that covers it. That is, if your dishwasher has a grille covering the filter; most dishwashers typically have this. After that, you can just pull out the filter. Most dishwasher filters can be removed by hand, but you may also have a model that requires a screwdriver.

Step 2: Rinse and Replace It

Next, rinse the filter in your sink and clean it with a soft brush. Be careful with this and don’t use anything sharp or you could damage the filter. You can use any soft brush, including an old toothbrush. Now, carefully put the filter back and cover it with the grille or cage, if any.

Step 3: Look for Other Culprits

If cleaning the filter didn’t solve your problem, there could be other causes. Be sure to check the drain motor, drain hose, valve bracket, and all of the electrical components. Some of these can be fixed at home, but more often you’re going to have to call for help.

Steps to Check Drain Hose

If your filter is fine, then maybe your drain hose is clogged. Sometimes you can see it right away, if it looks dirty. Another way to check the drain hose is to blow air through it. If the air gets stuck, it probably means that it’s clogged. Besides a clogged drain hose, a faulty drain pump or motor can also leave water in the dishwasher.

In either case, it’s better to leave it to the master technicians at The Appliance Pros, who can troubleshoot and repair any dishwasher appliances from our family of brands, which includes Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, JennAir, Amana and Inglis.

Even if you’re not sure about the cause of the problem, the best course of action is to call a service centre and ask for guidance on how to fix a clogged dishwasher.

Check the Check Valve

Your dishwasher may have a check valve, which is what prevents water from the house drain lines from entering the dishwasher in the event of a plugged drain line or garbage disposer. Sometimes these valves can become plugged themselves. To inspect this, you would have to locate the valve in the drain hose or in the sump and verify it is functioning.

Normally, you will be able to move the valve bracket with ease. But if it’s stuck, this means the solenoid is probably burnt and the drain valve won’t let water through in either direction. This often happens if your dishwasher is a number of years old and has never been serviced.

Depending on your electrical skills and comfort level, you can order a new solenoid and replace it or call an appliance service technician.

It’s Better to Prevent

Most dishwasher issues can be prevented if you clean it regularly, especially the filter. If you aren’t doing it already, make a habit of rinsing out your dishwasher filter every once in a while. Check out our guide to learn how to clean your dishwasher filter.

This can not only prevent clogged dishwasher issues but also help make your dishwasher perform at its best and last longer.

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Ask Our Experts

If our troubleshooting guides are not helping, it’s best to connect with qualified professionals to service your appliance.

You can contact our trusted partner, The Appliance Pros, if you need service for a Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, JennAir, Amana or Inglis appliance.

If you have a question about a specific product, please contact your appliance manufacturer.
For the following brands, you can use the form below and one of our experts will reach out to you with an answer within 48 hours: Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, JennAir, Amana, Gladiator, Everydrop, Affresh, Inglis.

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