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How to Unclog a Dishwasher Drain


Learning how to unclog a dishwasher drain is easier than it sounds. Most dishwashers are located beneath the countertop and therefore can be more difficult to work on than smaller appliances. Before calling a high priced handy man, attempt to tackle the job yourself with a few basic tools. To unclog a dishwasher drain, you will need some vinegar, baking soda and a metal coat hanger.

Take Precautionary Steps

Begin by drawing power from your dishwasher and surrounding appliances such as an attached garbage disposal. While working with electricity, especially if they involve water in the case of a dishwasher, safety can be an issue. Completely unplug the appliances from the sockets and each other. Once you’ve confirmed that all electricity sources have been shut off, you can proceed.

Clean the Drain Hose

The source of the clog is commonly located in the drain hose and not in the dishwasher drain itself. To check the drain hose for clogs, open the door of the dishwasher and locate the hose. The hose may or may not link to your garbage disposal. If you still have your dishwasher owner’s manual, you can consult the instructions to find the location of the hose on your particular dishwasher.

Once the drain hose has been located, disconnect it from the back of the dishwasher. Straighten out the metal coat hanger so that it’s completely straight and pass it through the hose. This will remove any clogs that may be hiding within the drain hose by pushing or pulling the clog out with the coat hanger. If you find no clogs within the hose, the problem may be in the drain itself.

Clean the Dishwasher Drain

Whether or not you found a clog in the drain hose, you may still want to check the drain itself for clogs and to clean it for optimal use. Gently remove the drain catch and filters within the drain. Once again, use your straightened coat hanger to extract any clogs that may be inside the drain. Once all clogs have been removed, pour one tablespoon of baking soda into the dishwasher drain.

Follow the baking soda with two tablespoons of vinegar. The baking soda and vinegar mixture will cause a chemical reaction within the drain that will help clean the source of the clog. Put both the drain catch and filters properly back into the dishwasher drain. Reconnect the drain hose, power back up the electricity and your dishwasher should function correctly once again.




“Dishwasher User Instruction.” Whirlpool. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2014. <>.

“My Dishwasher Won’t Drain.” Maytag. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2014. <>.


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