HOW TO UNCLOG A DISHWASHER
Is your dishwasher not draining properly? While it’s normal for there to be a bit of standing water at the bottom of your dishwasher from time to time, if you’re seeing an inch or more, it’s highly possible you have a clogged dishwasher. The good news is, there are some steps you can follow to unclog a dishwasher that won’t require a visit from a service technician. For specific information and maintenance instructions for your particular dishwasher model, consult your product manual, and for more tips on other dishwasher issues, check out our troubleshooting guide,or read about the different parts of a dishwasher.
Why doesn’t my dishwasher drain completely?
The most common cause for a dishwasher not draining is a clog or obstruction in your dishwasher drain or nearby garbage disposal. Removing the blockage typically resolves the problem.
Why is there standing water in the bottom of my dishwasher?
It is typical for a small amount of standing water to remain in the filter area of your dishwasher as it helps to keep the seals in that area from drying up. Occasionally, a dishwasher may have standing water remaining if the cycle has been interrupted before the draining process has been completed. Excessive standing water that fills the bottom of your dishwasher after a complete wash cycle is likely due to a clog in the drain or nearby garbage disposal.
Can I manually drain my dishwasher?
You can manually remove excess standing water by removing the bottom rack and placing absorbent towels on the bottom of your dishwasher to soak up the remaining water.
If your dishwasher has standing water due to an interrupted wash cycle, simply run another cycle without interruption. If it still won’t run, try resetting your dishwasher. Learn what to do if you are having the opposite issue, and your dishwasher isn’t filling with water.
How to unclog a clogged dishwasher
In some cases, you can fix a clogged dishwasher with a little bit of elbow grease. Use the following instructions as a guide to unclogging your dishwasher.
Clean, dry towels
Toothbrush or other soft-bristled brush
Bucket or large bowl
STEP 1. EMPTY DISHES
For easier access to the inside of your dishwasher, remove all dishes from the racks and empty out all utensils and glassware.
STEP 2. REMOVE ANY STANDING WATER
Once your machine is unplugged and emptied, pull out the bottom rack. Place clean, dry towels at the bottom of your dishwasher to absorb any remaining water. If there is a large amount of standing water at the bottom of your dishwasher, use a cup to scoop out the water into a bucket or large bowl.
STEP 3: REMOVE & RINSE YOUR DISHWASHER FILTER TO CHECK FOR CLOGS
If your dishwasher has a filter, it might be the source of the clog. Tough food particles or wet chunks of paper from container labels can get caught in the filter and keep water from draining. As a first step, clean the filter, then rerun the dishwasher to see if it drains.
The filter is located at the bottom of the dishwasher. Some dishwashers tuck it in the back corner, while other filters can be found around the base of the bottom spray arm.
The filter usually has a cage or grille covering it. On some models you can remove the dishwasher filter by hand, while others will need a screwdriver.
With the cage removed, you can pull out the filter. If yours is clogged, you will probably see food particles or other visible debris blocking the fine mesh.
Luckily, a clogged dishwasher filter is easy to clean. Run it under the kitchen faucet to rinse off any food particles and debris. You can also gently scrub the filter with warm water and a soft brush, like an old toothbrush, perhaps—but don’t use a wire brush or scouring pad. You can damage the filter if you’re not careful. To keep your entire dishwasher clean and performing its best, add a dishwasher cleaning tablet like this option from affresh®.
Replace your clean filter and remember to put the cover back on.
STEP 4. CHECK THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL AND AIR GAP CYLINDER
Many built-in dishwashers are designed to drain using your sink’s garbage disposal. Leftover food in the disposal can cause improper dishwasher draining. If your kitchen sink has a garbage disposal, turn it on to clear out any remaining food.
If the garbage disposal is not the cause, you may need to inspect the air gap cylinder. This keeps water flowing properly during a wash cycle and prevents water from backing up into the bottom of your dishwasher. Locate the cylinder by checking behind your sink near the dishwasher hose. If you notice any buildup in the air gap cylinder, clean it out and reconnect it at its proper location, ensuring the cylinder is tightly secured.
STEP 5. CHECK YOUR DRAIN MOTOR, DRAIN VALVE AND DRAIN HOSE
If your dishwasher is still not draining right, there may be another reason your dishwasher drain is clogged. A broken drain motor or a clogged drain hose can also cause standing water in your dishwasher. A stuck drain valve bracket may indicate burnt out electrical components in your dishwasher. All of these issues are better left to the professionals. Call a service technician to check it out for you.
STEP 6. GET PROFESSIONAL SERVICE IF NEEDED
Some causes of a clogged dishwasher, like a clogged drain hose or a malfunctioning drain motor, require the help of a licensed professional.
Following the recommendations in your Maytag® dishwasher owner’s manual should keep your appliance performing at its best, but if a malfunction occurs Maytag® service is here to help. Call customer service at 1-800-344-1274. Hours of operation: Monday & Tuesday, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. (EST); Wednesday–Friday, 9 a.m.–7 p.m. (EST).
DISCOVER DISHWASHERS WITH UPGRADED FILTRATION
Select Maytag® dishwasher models feature Dual Power Filtration, an industry-first combination of 100% microfiltration and a 4-blade stainless steel chopper. It filters out, chops up, then drains food from the dishwasher in extra small pieces, helping prevent clogs so there's no need for routine maintenance.
Plus, any model with Dual Power Filtration also uses Leak Detect, a system that monitors water flow and drains unwanted water, helping identify and contain most types of leaks.
SHOP MAYTAG® DUAL POWER FILTRATION DISHWASHERS
FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DISHWASHER CARE AND MAINTENANCE
How to Clean a Dishwasher Filter Learn how to clean and change your dishwasher filter in a few easy steps. Discover how often you should clean your dishwasher filter to prevent buildup and clogs.
Parts of a Dishwasher: Diagram & Guide Learn about different parts of a dishwasher, where they are inside the dishwasher and how to find replacement dishwasher parts.
How Does a Dishwasher Actually Work? Discover what’s going on inside your dishwasher during a cycle. Find out how long most dishwashers run, how they drain and how it beats handwashing.