How to Tell if You Have a Clogged Dishwasher

80 million homes–that’s how many residential properties in the U.S. have a dishwasher. That’s more than six in 10 U.S. homes!

After all, these machines are the faster, more convenient way of cleaning up used dishes. It’s also far easier to use compared to bending over the kitchen sink. What’s more, studies show that washing by hand eats up more energy and water than dishwashers.

But just like plumbing systems, dishwashers are also prone to clogs. Their filters, drains, and other disposal components can get plugged up by debris. In this case, you can no longer expect that clogged dishwasher to do the dishes for you.

In fact, water can even flow out of it and into your home, causing indoor flooding. That’s why it’s important to know the signs of dishwasher clogs, so you can address them right away.

Ready to know what these symptoms are? Then keep reading as we’ve listed the most common ones you should be on the lookout for!

Loud Gurgling Sounds

A dishwasher clogged by food debris can cause loud gurgling or “glugging” sounds. These noises often signal a partial blockage in the drain hose, caused by water trying to get past the clog.

Keep in mind that the drain hose’s function is to move wastewater to the garbage disposal. If it can’t direct the flow of wastewater away from your home, the dirty water can go back and flow out of the dishwasher. If this happens, you’re looking at possible indoor flooding and water damage.

Luckily, there are only a few steps on how to unclog a dishwasher hose, the first of which is to locate the hose. This connects the machine to the garbage disposal and is usually behind the washer. If not, check the cabinet under your kitchen sink or look for the information in your owner’s manual.

Once you’ve located the hose, disconnect it from the disposal system. Carefully insert a straightened hanger inside the hose and scoop out the gunk. After you’ve cleared the clog, reconnect the hose and try running the machine to see if the loud noises are gone.

If not, then the next possible culprit may be a clogged dishwasher drain.

Dishes Remain Dirty Even after a Complete Wash Cycle

There are two common clog-related reasons that can give rise to this symptom. Let’s take a look at each of them.

A Clogged Drain Due to Food Debris

Food debris and leftovers can accumulate and leave your dishwasher drain clogged. The more cycles you run, the more food particles collect, and the bigger the blockage will be. Ultimately, this will result in the clog not letting water (or any more food debris) to exit the washer.

With nowhere else to go, those tiny bits of food will settle at the bottom of the dishwasher. The next time you run the machine, those particles will mix with the new cycle’s water supply. They will then circulate, and without a way to leave the machine, will stick on your dishes.

So, you end up with still-dirty plates, utensils, glasses, pots, and pans.

A Clogged Water Supply Line

Likewise, a clog in your dishwasher’s water supply line can also lead to unclean dishes even after a cycle. That’s because the blockage won’t allow a fresh supply of water into the machine. Without water, the dishwasher won’t be able to function right.

Hard water can be to blame for clogged dishwasher supply lines. In fact, hard water can make cleaning dishes difficult, as it has high mineral content. These dissolved minerals react with soap, creating scum and leaving residue on dishes.

Moreover, these dissolved minerals can build up in your dishwasher lines and drains. The more minerals that harden into scale, the bigger the clog can get.

The thing is, nine in 10 U.S. homes get hard water supply. If this is the cause of your dishwasher issues, it may be time to hire professional plumbers. They can help you get rid of those mineral clogs and provide you with a high-quality water softener.

Foul Odors

A clog in the dishwasher filter, drain, or trap can also make the inside of your dishwasher smell so bad. In this case, what’s plugging up the machine — and causing funky smells — is decaying food debris.

Water Doesn’t Drain Out

If you find water sitting in the dishwasher after a complete cycle, take that as another sign of a clog. Leftover water often means that the appliance doesn’t drain entirely. A clogged filter or drain can be causing this drain issue.

Unclogging dishwasher drains can be a bit harder than clearing a clogged drain hose. That’s because most dishwasher drains sit under the securely-screwed filter and trap. You have to unscrew these parts first before you can access the drain itself.

If you’re not comfortable trying the DIY method, it’s best to hire a professional drain cleaner. This way, you can get rid of those clogs ASAP and prevent potential water backups.

Water is Backing Up Out of the Sink

If you see water backing up out of your kitchen sink while the dishwasher is running, that can signal a clog. Power off the appliance first and then switch on your garbage disposal unit. It’s possible that food debris got trapped in your sink, resulting in a clog.

If this doesn’t solve the problem or if water keeps flowing out of the dishwasher itself, turn it off right away. Aside from clogs, a broken pump or sensor can also cause water backups. It’s best to call in the repair pros to solve these problems.

Don’t Let a Clogged Dishwasher Turn Your Home into a Disaster

As you can see, a clogged dishwasher is more than a simple convenience problem — it can flood your home. That’s why you shouldn’t ignore the signs pointing to a blocked dishwasher drain, trap, or hose. Troubleshoot the problem, or better yet, call the experts as soon as these symptoms show up.

Is your dishwasher still giving you headaches even after trying the basic fixes? Then please don’t hesitate to connect with us now! We’ll find out the root cause of that clog in your dishwasher and get rid of it fast.

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