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How to unblock a dishwasher

Don’t let a malfunctioning dishwasher drain you of energy. Read on for our super simple step-by-step guide to how to unblock a dishwasher.

Updated

A blocked dishwasher left ajar

Key steps

  • Turn off the water and power.
  • Remove the kick plate to access the bottom.
  • Remove the drainage hose.
  • Run water through the hose, squeezing it gently to break down any blockages.
  • Once fully flushed, put it back in place.
  • Turn the water and electricity back on and use as normal.

Have you discovered your dishwasher not draining? Chances are it might be blocked. There are a couple of different ways you can get this sorted yourself at home, and we’re here to show you how to unblock a dishwasher drain in the simplest way possible.

To avoid getting a blocked dishwasher in the future, make sure you scrape any leftover food into the bin and rinse your dishes before putting them into the dishwasher

How to unblock a dishwasher: a step-by-step guide

If your dishwasher won't drain, it’s probably blocked. Read on to discover the main two  scenarios you may need to deal with and our advice to get them sorted and get those dishes sparkling clean once again.

What do I need to sort a blocked dishwasher out?

  • Screwdriver
  • Shallow pan
  • Water sprayer or hose with pressure
 

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How to unblock a dishwasher in nine steps

The most likely cause of your dishwasher not draining is a blocked dishwasher drain. To fix this, follow the steps below.

  1. Turn off the water. This should be done at the source.
  2. Turn off the electricity that powers your dishwasher. We recommend unplugging the dishwasher; however, you can turn off the breaker switch if this is an easier option.
  3. Remove the front kick plate. This is usually a door set into the front of your dishwasher which will allow you to access the areas beneath. For some brands you may be required to undo some screws along the edge in order to open up access to the bottom.
  4. Make sure you keep a shallow pan in place. This is to catch any drips and leaks which may occur as you fix the dishwasher.
  5. Now you need to locate and remove the drain hose.
    • In most dishwasher models this is usually white or clear in colour.
    • It will run from the sink drain to the dishwasher drain pump.
    • Pinch the clamp or loosen the twist-down connector to remove the hose.
  6. Run water through the hose. The best way to do this is by using a water hose with pressure to spray through one end until water spray out the other end. If need be, give the dishwasher drain hose a little squeeze all the way along its length to loosen any clogs and blockages.
  7. If you are having trouble getting the hose clean and unblocked, it may be worth replacing it instead!
  8. Once you’re sure it’s fully flushed through, pop the dishwasher drainage hose back in place, then turn the water and electricity back on.
  9. If your dishwasher won’t drain properly after this DIY fix, call in a professional. They will be able to offer advice on something you may have missed and get your dishwasher working in no time.

With this simple guide you’ve now learned how to unblock a dishwasher! To make sure you keep it running at its best, why not read our advice on how to clean a dishwasher in 5 steps?

Originally published