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How To Clean Dishwasher Drain

How To Clean Dishwasher Drain & Hose + Get Dishwasher Running Again

You can end up with a clogged dishwasher drain for various reasons, so knowing how to clean a dishwasher drain quickly – is very useful. Between food debris, grime, and built-up grease, it should come as no surprise when your dishwasher stops draining altogether, which is especially true if you don’t clean the drain regularly.

Similar to replacing toilet parts, cleaning the inside of the dishwasher is a DIY job most homeowners can tackle even more efficiently. 

“How To Clean Dishwasher Drain” + Restore Dishwasher Functions:


Step 1:   Clean Dishwasher Drain Filter

How to clean dishwasher drain - Besthomegear.com
How To Clean Dishwasher Drain – Besthomegear.com
  • Start by removing any food waste that may be present at the bottom of your dishwasher.
  • Use a damp cloth to clean and wipe around the filter.
  • Unscrew the filter. Look at your machine’s manual for any specific instructions.
  • Rinse the filter with water in your sink, and make sure you get rid of any grease or food waste stuck to the filter.
  • Once you’ve cleaned the filter thoroughly, reattach it to the dishwasher. Once you have thoroughly cleaned the filter, reattach it to the dishwasher using a screwdriver.
  • Note:  While it is most common for dishwashers to have a lower filter assembly. Some dishwasher models have an upper filter and lower filter assembly.  In that instance, remove both filters and follow the above suggestions for cleaning each filter.

Step 2:   Unclog Dishwasher Drain

Cleaning dishwasher drain
Removing dishwasher sprayer and drain cover – Besthomegear.com
  • To unclog the drain, you should first remove the dishwasher’s bottom rack so you can access the drain, drain catch, and filter. Before you do this, make sure you unplug the power cable.
  • Use a screwdriver to remove the catch basin and filter. These should be at the center of the bottom of the dishwasher.
  • Now that you can see the drain straighten a wire hanger and use it to remove any noticeable blocks or clogs.
  • Pour one tablespoon of baking soda and two tablespoons of vinegar down the drain to eliminate any stubborn debris, grease, or scum. You can use a commercial drain cleaner instead, but ensure it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that may damage your dishwasher.
  • Let the baking soda and vinegar mixture sit in the drain for about 10 to 15 minutes. This mixture will help break up any remaining clogs. Next, remove the baking soda and vinegar mixture, pour hot water down the drain to wash it out, and break up debris.
  • Assemble the dishwasher and run it on the “normal” cycle. The dishwasher should drain properly without any water pooling at the bottom.

Step 3:   Removing Clog from Dishwasher “Drain Hose”

replace dishwasher drain hose
Remove drain hose from dishwasher – Besthomegear.com
  • If your dishwasher still doesn’t drain properly, you should go more in-depth and remove clogs from the Drain Hose on the back or bottom of the dishwasher.
  • Note:  For this step, you will need to access the dishwasher drain hose, which requires knowing how to remove a dishwasher. Click the link above to see those step-by-step instructions.
  • First, unplug the dishwasher and make sure the power is completely disconnected.
    Navigate your owner’s manual for instructions on the drain hose location and how you can detach it from the dishwasher.
  • Disconnect the hose once you’ve found it using pliers. Consider placing a container under the hose to collect any spills.
  • Use a straightened wire hanger or auger to loosen and remove clogs.
  • Refasten the hose, turn on the dishwasher, and run it on a “normal” cycle. The drain hose should now be clean and drain properly.
how to remove dishwasher drain hose from garbage disposal
Dishwasher Drain Hose connection at the Garbage Disposal – Besthomegear.com

Wrap Up

There you go, a simple step-by-step guide on how to clean the dishwasher drain. Keep in mind, to have your dishwasher operating efficiently, you should always scrape off food waste from your dishes before loading, which helps your dishwasher run correctly and as intended. 

In other words, the dishwasher isn’t designed to be the garbage disposal – and proper use requires the user to eliminate or rinse cups, dishes, pans, or silverware before loading the dishwasher. This will save you time and greatly help you avoid dishwasher drainage issues in the future.

Thanks for Visiting BestHomeGear, and Don’t forget to Check Out All of our Homeowner DIY Repair Guides

Additional Reading and References:

Kevin is the author and editor for Best Home Gear. In addition to his work in publishing, Kevin enjoys exploring the Outdoors in Michigan and Arizona, Hiking, Cycling, Fishing, Reading, and Completing Projects for the Home and Garden.


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