It’s the time of the year when your dishwasher is probably working overtime. But let’s face it, the last thing you need during the holidays is a dishwasher that’s clogged and won’t work. Luckily if it happens it’s usually a simple fix. Dishwashers are straight-forward and uncomplicated appliances and when they clog, it’s usually for the same reasons and in common places like the drain hose or filter basket. 

If your dishwasher stops working, don’t worry. Take a look at the list below to help you pinpoint the problem. Often, fixing the issue will be simple, but sometimes it will require repair by a professional plumber. 

Top five reasons for dishwasher clogs 

A blocked filter basket. Your dishwasher has something similar to your dryer called a filter basket. Like your dryer’s lint screen, it filters food and other particles to prevent them from entering your pipes. 

Your filter basket should be cleaned on a regular basis and if you haven’t done so in a while (or ever) it could be the source of your clog. To clean the filter basket, simply pull it out by following your dishwasher’s instruction manual. It’s a good idea to wash it with soap and water as well to get it as clean as you can before placing back in the dishwasher. 

A backed up drain hose. Your dishwasher has a hose that connects to the garbage disposal or the drain in your kitchen sink. Sometimes it can get backed up with debris, especially if your filter basket is full. This can be a relatively easy thing to fix – simply detach the drain hose and give it a flush to remove the build-up. We recommend checking the drain hose on a regular basis to keep it free from sludge that can lead to clogs. 

A clogged drain or pipes. Sometimes the reason your dishwasher is clogged has nothing to do with the dishwasher itself. As soon as your dishwasher stops working, make sure to test all of the drains in your kitchen. 

If you notice that any are draining slow (or not at all), or if you hear a gurgling sound coming from the pipes, there is a good chance you’ve got a blocked pipe or clogged drain someplace other than your dishwasher. In this case, it’s best to call a plumber who can pinpoint the problem quickly and make the necessary repairs. 

Faulty garbage disposal. If your garbage disposal isn’t working properly it can lead to a clog is the dishwasher. Once you’ve eliminated a blocked filter basket or drain hose from the list of reasons your dishwasher is backing up, check to make sure the knockout plug was removed from the disposal when it was attached to the dishwasher. 

This is a common simple mistake made when installing new dishwashers, but if your garbage disposal is older – and your dishwasher as well – it may be time to invest in a new disposal.  

A broken sewer line. We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this can happen. If your toilet is backed up, or if you notice your shower or bath is slow to drain, you may have a broken sewer line. This can happen for a variety of reasons. In older homes with older pipes, a broken sewer line may be caused by a pipe breaking when the ground shifts. It can also happen once tree roots get into the sewer line. 

Sewer line repair always needs to be handled by professional plumbers, and if you suspect you’ve got a broken line, it’s best to act fast. The longer you wait, the worse the problem can get. 

Following these tips can help you fix your dishwasher clog fast, but if not, go ahead and give a professional plumber a call. We can get to the source of the problem fast, so you can get back to enjoying the holiday season.