While there’s nothing pleasant about dealing with a dishwasher clog, there are several easy steps you can follow to resolve the problem with minimal hassle. Removing clogged debris from within dishwasher drain pipes doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal, if you know the right way to approach it.
Before reaching out to a plumbing expert in your area, look over this step-by-step guide to see if you can use DIY cleaning methods to clear blocked dishwasher drains. One of the best ways to avoid repeat clogging in dishwasher units is by actively maintaining your plumbing with best care practices.
1.) Accurately Diagnose the Problem
The first step of repairing a clogged dishwasher is making sure the problem is actually a clog, and not something more severe, like a broken or poorly installed drain pipe. Dishwasher clogs are minor issues compared to other, more costly plumbing problems that almost always require professional repair.
Improper use can quickly lead to a clogged dishwasher drain; when putting things in your washer, make sure you dispose of food, cooking oils and grease properly first (as in, not in your dishwasher). These fragments and oils can easily become lodged within dishwasher drain pipes, and accumulate waste exponentially. Improperly disposing starchy or fibrous products one week can lead to a serious dishwasher clog in the next.
However, if you believe performance issues with your dishwasher unit are due to something worse than clogging, like pipe fracturing or drain corrosion, you may want to contact professional inspector right away for more accurate assessment. Using high-grade video inspection tools, plumbing experts can determine the exact cause of drain damage in your home, and identify the most practical, affordable repair option for your plumbing.
2.) Get the Right Plumbing Tools for the Job
Once you’ve properly identified the cause of your dishwasher clog, the next step in dealing with the problem is making sure you’re well-equipped for the task at hand. If you have a drain snake or auger on hand, clearing debris from your dishwasher drains can be a simple, painless process.
If you don’t have an auger, a hot water or baking soda/vinegar flush can be used alternatively to break away stubborn food products within your pipes. These solutions perform just as well as chemical cleaning products, with the added benefit of being much safer for everyday use. Beyond these clog-clearing tools, all you’ll really need to keep on hand is a standard, Phillips head screwdriver (to remove drain grates) and a bucket (for water spill or debris removed via drain snaking).
3.) How to Access Dishwasher Drains and Clear Debris
Dishwasher drain pipes are a bit harder to access than standard drains; with the right tools and approach, however, you should be able to reach the pipe and effectively remove clogged debris with minimal hassle.
First and foremost, make sure your dishwasher unit is off, or even unplugged. The most important rule of DIY home plumbing is safety. Next, remove dish racks from your unit and find the drain grate, somewhere on the bottom of your unit. You should be able to remove this grate with a conventional screwdriver, and from here access your pipe freely.
With full access to your dishwasher drain pipe, use wither a drain auger or de-clogging flush to clear debris within the pipe; you can learn more about properly using drain augers here. While commercial, chemical-based drain cleaning products work in a pinch, they should generally be avoided, as frequent use can actually harm your drains more than help them.
Once you’ve either pulled debris from your dishwasher pipe or cleansed it with a flush, simply reattach the grate and reinsert dish racks. Now, you should be able to power on your dishwasher and see performance issues resolved.
4.) Know When You’re In Over Your Head
As is true for any DIY project, you should learn to acknowledge when you’re in over your head with drain cleaning. If you lack the tools to clear your dishwasher drains, or feel the problem may be more severe than a standard clog, don’t hesitate to contact a plumbing professional in your area.
Professional plumbing inspection once per year can help you largely mitigate drain issues in your home. The best way to avoid plumbing problems is by taking a proactive approach to home plumbing care; this applies to dishwasher units as well as general plumbing.