How to Clean a Clogged Dishwasher

The dishwasher in your kitchen is a reliable assistant that works diligently to clean your soiled dishes day in and day out. However, with time it can become clogged with debris, soap scum, and mineral deposits, which can result in decreased effectiveness as well as scents that are unpleasant. It is necessary to do routine maintenance on your dishwasher if you want it to continue operating efficiently and produce sparkling clean dishes.

In this comprehensive guide, we will lead you through the process of How to Clean a Clogged Dishwasher step by step, ensuring that your appliance remains in excellent working condition.

1. Gather Your Supplies

Before you begin cleaning your clogged dishwasher, gather the following supplies:

  • Dishwashing gloves
  • Screwdriver
  • Old toothbrush or soft-bristle brush
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • A small, dishwasher-safe bowl or container
  • A small plastic bag
  • A small wire or pipe cleaner
  • A microfiber cloth or sponge

Once you have these items ready, you’re all set to start the cleaning process.

2. Safety First

When working with any kind of machine or device, safety should always come first. To get started, check to see that the dishwasher is turned off and unplugged from the power supply. In most cases, this can be accomplished by either disconnecting the device or turning off the circuit breaker that controls the flow of electricity to the dishwasher.

3. Inspect and Remove Debris

Examine the inside components of your dishwasher to get started. Take out the lower dish rack in order to perform a visual inspection of the base of the tub. You might uncover broken glass, food particles, or other material that could be contributing to the clog when you investigate. Utilizing your gloved hands or a paper towel, carefully pick up and remove any debris that can be seen.

4. Clean the Filter

The majority of modern dishwashers are equipped with a filtration mechanism that is designed to collect food particles and keep them from clogging the drain. For help locating the filter, which is normally located at the bottom of the dishwasher, refer to the handbook that came with your dishwasher. To properly clean it, follow these steps:

  • To remove the filter, turn it so that the opening faces counterclockwise, or follow the directions given in the handbook.
  • To clean the filter and remove any food particles or residue, run it under some warm water while it’s running. Make use of a soft brush or toothbrush to clean away any debris that is particularly tenacious.
  • To remove any mineral deposits that have accumulated on the filter, soak it for about 15 minutes in a solution consisting of water and vinegar in equal parts.
  • Before you reassemble the filter, first give it a thorough cleaning with water and then let it air dry fully.

5. Check the Spray Arms

During the course of the washing cycle, it is the job of the spray arms in your dishwasher to ensure that water is distributed in an efficient and even manner. Spray arms that become clogged with debris might produce subpar cleaning results. To clean them, you must:

  • To remove the bottom spray arm, either unscrew it or release any locking mechanism that may be holding it in place.
  • Check to see if the spray arm has any obstructions. To remove any obstructions from the spray nozzles, you can either use a pipe cleaner or a thin wire.
  • In the same manner, examine the upper spray arm if your dishwasher is equipped with one.

6. Unclog the Drain

If the drain in the dishwasher is clogged, water may collect at the bottom of the tub, which can result in unpleasant odors. To remove the clog from the drain:

  • Find the drain for the dishwasher in the bottom of the tub, often close to where the filter is located.
  • Put a little plastic bag over the drain to catch any material that could otherwise end up in it.
  • Utilizing a screwdriver, take out the screws that are fastening the drain cover.
  • Examine the area and clear it of any debris, taking care not to cause any harm to the drain pump.
  • Reassemble the drain cover and fasten the screws to it to keep it in place.

7. Clean the Interior

The following actions need to be taken in order to ensure that the interior of your dishwasher is fully cleaned:

  • On the highest rack of the vacant dishwasher, put a bowl or other container that can be cleaned in the dishwasher and fill it with vinegar.
  • Start the dishwasher on the warm-water cycle with just the container that’s been filled with vinegar. This will assist in the removal of mineral deposits as well as the sanitation of the interior.
  • After the current cycle has finished, run a second round of the hot water setting with a cup of baking soda sprinkled around the bottom of the dishwasher. This will assist in eliminating odors and cleaning the interior to a greater degree.

8. Dealing with Odors

If after cleaning your dishwasher there are scents that continue to linger, consider taking the following additional steps:

  • To remove unpleasant odors, place a bowl of activated charcoal or baking soda on the bottom rack of the dishwasher and run a quick cycle with hot water.
  • In addition to this, you can use commercial dishwasher cleaning tablets that are designed to eliminate residue and odors particularly.

9. Maintenance Tips

If you want to preserve the operation of your dishwasher and prevent future clogs, here are some maintenance guidelines you should follow:

  • Remove any leftover food particles from the dishes before placing them in the dishwasher.
    you avoid the formation of soap scum, be sure you use a dishwashing detergent of good grade and a rinse aid.
  • To get the most out of the water you use, make sure the dishwasher is completely loaded.
  • The dishwasher should be cleaned once every one to two months, depending on how often it is used.


There’s no reason why a clogged dishwasher has to be a cause of aggravation for you. You can keep your dishwasher in peak operating condition and ensure that it always produces sparklingly clean dishes by doing routine maintenance and cleaning it on a regular basis.

In this article, we have given information about “How to Clean a Clogged Dishwasher?” If you follow the step-by-step instructions that are provided in this article, you will be able to take advantage of the benefits of a dishwasher that is free of odors and clogs for many years to come. Keep in mind that a dishwasher that receives regular maintenance is a happy dishwasher.


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