Kitchen dishwashers are meant to make life convenient for homeowners, but when they run into mechanical issues, they can be a headache to deal with. If you notice that your dishwasher isn't draining and standing water is accumulating, you may need to unclog the dishwasher pump. This isn't a major repair and can be done by most people with just a little bit of time, knowledge and the right products.
Dishwasher Unclogging Products
If you see standing water pooled up at the bottom of your dishwasher, you will need to take action to get your appliance working properly again. If you notice a Bosch dishwasher not draining, for example, a clogged dishwasher pump is responsible for your trouble, which may be unclogged with basic household products, depending on the severity of the clog.
A mixture of equal parts baking soda and vinegar poured into your dishwasher's basket and ran for 15 minutes, then followed up with a hot water rinse may loosen up clogs, according to Home Depot. If you need a stronger solution, look to products designed to clean dishwashers and allow it to run as usual.
One product that you should not use to unclog your dishwasher pump is Drano, or any other drain cleaner. While these cleaning products are well-known for flushing backed-up gunk through your pipes, the corrosive materials used in the formula can seriously damage your dishwasher's pump and seals, only making matters worse.
How to Clean a Pump
Sometimes, more serious clogs will require that you manually clean your pump to get things moving again. Keeping your dishwasher pump clean will go a long way in preventing clogs and can be done easily, whether it's currently backed up or not.
Step 1: Remove and Clean the Filter
Remove the filter and rinse it with clean, soapy water. If you need to, use a soft brush to remove stubborn debris.
Step 2: Remove the Pump Cover
Next, remove the pump cover to access the pump, which should be located right under the filter that was just removed.
Step 3: Clean the Pump
Rinse the pump with water and a clean sponge, taking extra care to remove any large pieces of food, and rinse clean.
Additional Reasons for Standing Water
Sometimes, the dishwasher pump alone isn't the reason your dishwasher is clogged or not draining water. One common issue is a dirty dishwasher filter, which is usually found at the bottom of your dishwasher's tub. The filter may have too much food residue or food pieces too large stuck to it, and should be cleaned by removing and rinsing away any debris.
Additionally, the drain hose, which is connected to the pump, may also have a clog, and can be fixed by detaching it from the pump and blowing through it after you've disconnected power to the dishwasher.
Finally, the drain valve, which is only found on some dishwashers, may need repairing. This valve prevents water from flowing back into the dishwasher tub, but if the electrical solenoid is burned out, it can freeze the valve up and prevent it from working. If your dishwasher uses your garbage disposal to output water, check to make sure your disposal isn't full of food scraps, which can also cause a dishwasher to back up in some cases.