How To Clean & Unblock a Dishwasher

A dishwasher failing to drain or showing signs of a blockage will understandably cause concern in your kitchen, but it doesn’t mean you need to automatically start looking to purchase a brand new model.

Instead, 9 times out of 10 you’ll be able to solve the issue yourself by checking and removing any blockages found within your dishwasher’s filters, waste hose and spray arms. Along with removing the blockages from these areas you should provide the appliance with a thorough clean, particularly if your dishwasher smells – and in this post, we’ll explain how to go about each of these tasks.

Unblocking Your Spray Arms:

The spray arms in your dishwasher play an important role, as these are what distribute the water around the appliance when it is running a wash cycle. However, it is possible for them to become blocked, and when this occurs water will not be distributed enough and your pots and pans will not be coming out clean.

Unblocking the dishwasher spray arms can be done by following the 5 steps outlined below.

  • Remove the bottom tray from your dishwasher giving you clear access to both the bottom spray arm and the one attached to the top rack.
  • Undo the retaining nut which holds the spray arms in place, once these have been removed you’ll be able to lift out the spray arms.
  • With your spray arms out of the dishwasher, rinse them under running warm water to remove any debris. Whilst running them under the water if required, add a small amount of washing up liquid and scrub with a clean dish cloth to remove any dirt.
  • Use a toothpick to remove any debris which is clogging the holes in the spray arm and then repeat step 3.
  • Fit each spray arm back in place, attach the retaining nut and tighten. Be careful not to over-tighten as this can prevent the spray arm from rotating.

Blocked Waste Hose?

A blocked water hose usually occurs in the connection between the sink and the hose, and is more often than not caused by cooking fat and grease being poured down the drain. First check the connection is clear and free from fat or grease.

If after checking the connection, there’s still reason to believe the waste hose is the reason for your dishwasher failing to drain, you’ll need to remove the appliance away from where it is being housed, so you can have unrestricted access to the hose – which will be at the back.

With access to the hose achieved, check that it hasn’t become kinked in any way and that it isn’t squashed. Both of these will restrict the flow of water through the hose and result in draining issues. If there’s no sign of a kinked or squashed hose, we recommend you check it for blockages.

The easiest way to check for blockages is to disconnect the hose, and to do this you’ll need to use pliers to pinch the clamp holding the hose to your dishwasher, before wriggling the clamp up the hose. You should then repeat this at the end where the hose is attached to the sink before freeing the hose at both ends.

Once your dishwasher’s hose is free, try running warm water through it. With the hose clear of any blockages, you can then reattach it to the dishwasher and sink, by reversing the guidance above.

Unclog Your Dishwasher Filters:

When you consider the state of your pots and pans when you place them in your dishwasher, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that your dishwasher’s filters, which are located at the bottom of the appliance, can easily become blocked with food debris. If the debris is left, the filters will become blocked and slow down / prevent your dishwasher from draining.

Dirty Cutlery Can Cause Blockages

Thankfully, removing the filters to clean and unblock them is neither a difficult or time consuming task – and we recommend you:

  • Remove the bottom rack to provide you access to the filters
  • Rotate the centre filter anticlockwise and lift out, before lifting out the mesh filter
  • To remove the central filter within the cylindrical, push the 2 tabs in and lift it out
  • With all filters removed, wash them in hot, soapy water to remove any dirt and debris. If the filters have grease residue on them, we recommend you pour boiling water over them.
  • Once your dishwasher filters are clean, refit them in your dishwasher by reversing steps 3 to 1.

How to Clean a Dishwasher:

Following the advice outlined above will help to remove blockages from your dishwasher, but on a regular basis you will need to thoroughly clean it, especially if you want to remove traces of fat and grease residue from the internal parts.

Cleaning your appliance will help to remove any dishwasher smells and keep it working to its full potential, ensuring your pots and pans are left crystal clean. Below we explain how to clean your dishwasher without the need for extensive elbow grease, whilst ensuring the appliance is left looking like new.

  • Ensure your dishwasher is empty of any pots, pans and cutlery
  • Set your dishwasher up to run a complete wash cycle, but leave the cleaning detergent out
  • Add a dedicated dishwasher cleaner, such as the BuySpares Limescale and Detergent Remover, to the dishwasher by following the instructions on the packaging. If you’re using the BuySpares Limescale and Detergent Remover, you’ll need to pour half the sachet into the detergent dispenser and the remainder into the bottom of your appliance.
  • Turn your dishwasher on and let it run its wash cycle. The dishwasher cleaner will make light work of cleaning the internal parts of your appliance, removing any dirt, grease and fat.

Taking the time to regularly unblock and clean your dishwasher will help your appliance continue to work at its peak performance for longer, ensuring your pots and pans are left clean and your appliance is energy efficient.

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