Have you ever gone to empty the dishwasher only to find it hasn’t drained? If you have, you’re not alone. It’s a common, albeit frustrating, plumbing problem, but it’s often an easy fix.  

Next time you find standing water in your dishwasher, don’t get too flustered. Instead, take a look at our tips below on how to get to the source of the problem and fix the issue. 

Use the correct detergent
Let’s clear this up first: only use dishwashing detergent in your dishwasher. It can be tempting to use something like laundry detergent or dish soap like Joy or Palmolive if you run out of dishwashing detergent, but please don’t as it can cause problems. 

Another common issue arises when you simply pour dishwashing detergent in the wrong unit or directly onto the dishes. This will create plenty of suds (and quite possibly a mess) without getting your dishes clean. 

Run the garbage disposal
Once you’ve made sure that you haven’t used the wrong type of soap, you’re going to want to run the garbage disposal. Here’s why: your dishwasher’s drain hose connects and empties into the disposal drain. Often times, a poorly draining dishwasher is the result of a clogged garbage disposal. 

Once a disposal gets filled with food particles or other types of residue, it can all collect in the disposal pipe. Then, when the dishwasher needs to drain it can’t because of the clog. 

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Check the air gap
If your dishwasher connects directly to your sink (which is typical in homes without a garbage disposal), you likely have a small, stainless-steel part called an air gap that sits right at the top of the sink near the faucet. If the hose that connects to the dishwasher gets filled with food remnants it can lead to a clog and your dishwasher won’t drain properly.

To check the air gap simply unscrew it and make sure it isn’t clogged. If it is, give it a good cleaning, reattach it and see if that did the trick. 

Take a closer look at the drain hose
You’ll find the drain hose underneath your sink. Check it out and make sure there aren’t any kinks – just as you would a garden hose. If you do spot a kink, you’ll need to remove the clamps that hold the hose in place and run water through the hose until the kinks work themselves out. 

Take the motor for a test drive
To check the motor, just turn the dishwasher on and listen for any strange noises. If you hear a hum or a loud sound that doesn’t stop, you may have an issue with the motor turning on but not powering up. If this is the case, you’ll need a new motor. 

Drain standing water
If none of these tips seemed to work, it’s time to drain the water yourself. Make sure to place towels under your dishwasher to avoid a mess and remove the bottom tray carefully so you don’t spill the water. You could also scoop out the water with an old cup. Once all the water is out of the tray, we recommend running the dishwasher. If water collects again, it’s time to call a professional plumber. 

Why is my water bill so high? 

Still having dishwasher drainage issues? Call or Contact  the team at Allied Reddi-Rooter. We can take a closer look at your dishwasher and fix the problem quickly, so your dishes sparkle once again.

We always come highly recommended and have earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau for our expert quality of service. You can follow us on Facebook, @Allied Reddi-Rooter for the latest tips or to ask us a question.

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.


Call or Contact the clogged drain experts of Allied Reddi-Rooter, at 513-396-5300.  We always come highly recommended and have earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau for our expert quality of service.