Happy Thursday, everyone! We hope the spring showers aren’t affecting your day too much. We have a couple of rainy days ahead, so be ready for some wet weather over the next few days. This morning, I encountered an unexpected problem when I went to use my dishwasher—it was clogged. This was a first for me and caused a delay in my morning routine. As someone who works for an appliance repair company, I’ve learned plenty of DIY tricks, but this time, the clog was beyond my capabilities. Consequently, I ended up being late for work.

This incident reminded me how essential it is to maintain a dishwasher properly. A clogged dishwasher can be a frustrating and time-consuming issue, especially for those who rely on it daily to handle the dishes. Dealing with this problem made me think about the importance of

taking proactive measures to prevent clogs from happening in the first place. By addressing common causes of dishwasher clogging and implementing regular maintenance, you can extend the lifespan of your appliance and avoid inconvenient interruptions.

In this blog post, we will explore the typical reasons why dishwashers may become clogged, such as leftover food particles, hard water buildup, and foreign objects.

We’ll also provide you with practical tips on how to prevent these issues from occurring, such as pre-rinsing dishes before loading them, using the right type and amount of detergent, and cleaning the dishwasher’s filter regularly. Additionally, we’ll discuss the importance of inspecting and maintaining the spray arms and drain hose to ensure proper water flow.

If you do encounter a clog, don’t worry! We will guide you through some basic troubleshooting steps you can take to resolve the issue yourself. However, if the problem persists or seems too complex, it’s important to know when to call in the professionals.

ARS Appliances Repair Service is here to help with any appliance repair or maintenance needs you may have. With our expertise and commitment to quality service, you can trust us to keep your appliances running smoothly. Let’s dive into the world of dishwasher maintenance and learn how to prevent clogs from disrupting your daily routine!

Common Causes of Dishwasher Clogging

Food Particles

  • Fault: Leftover food particles can accumulate in the dishwasher, causing blockages in the drain filter or spray arms.
  • Why It’s Happening: When dishes are not pre-rinsed, food particles can easily wash off during the cycle and settle in the filter or clog the spray arms.
  • DIY Fix: Remove and clean the filter regularly to prevent blockages. Check and clear any debris from the spray arms to ensure proper water flow.
  • Professional Appliance Repair: If cleaning the filter and spray arms doesn’t resolve the issue, there may be a more severe blockage in the drain line that requires professional attention.

Hard Water Buildup

  • Fault: Hard water can leave mineral deposits on the interior of the dishwasher, including the filter and spray arms, which can lead to clogs.
  • Why It’s Happening: Hard water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium that accumulate over time, creating deposits that restrict water flow.
  • DIY Fix: Use a dishwasher cleaner to dissolve mineral buildup. Running a cycle with white vinegar can also help break down deposits.
  • Professional Appliance Repair: If the buildup is severe or you notice other issues like strange noises or poor water drainage, consider calling an expert for a comprehensive assessment.

Soap Residue

  • Fault: Using too much or the wrong type of detergent can lead to soap residue buildup, affecting the dishwasher’s performance.
  • Why It’s Happening: Excess soap can accumulate and block the filter or other components, causing inefficient cleaning cycles.
  • DIY Fix: Switch to a high-quality dishwasher detergent and use the recommended amount for your appliance. Running a rinse cycle without detergent can help clear out existing residue.
  • Professional Appliance Repair: If soap residue buildup continues to cause issues, it may indicate a more complex problem with your appliance that requires professional attention.

Foreign Objects

  • Fault: Foreign objects like small pieces of plastic, glass, or labels can become lodged in the dishwasher’s drain or spray arms, causing clogs.
  • Why It’s Happening: Items left on dishes or in the dishwasher can break apart during the cycle and block crucial components.
  • DIY Fix: Carefully inspect the dishwasher for any foreign objects and remove them. Pay close attention to the filter and drain area.
  • Professional Appliance Repair: If you’re unable to safely remove a lodged object or if you suspect damage to internal components, seek help from a professional repair service.

Prevent your Dishwasher from being Clogged.

Pre-Rinse Dishes

  • Why It’s Important: Scraping off excess food and pre-rinsing dishes helps prevent food particles from entering the dishwasher, reducing the risk of clogs.
  • How to Do It: Use a scraper or a rinse under the faucet to remove large food particles from dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.

Use the Right Detergent

  • Why It’s Important: Using the right type and amount of detergent ensures optimal cleaning performance and prevents residue buildup.
  • How to Do It: Choose a high-quality dishwasher detergent recommended by your appliance’s manufacturer, and follow the dosing guidelines for your specific machine.

Clean the Filter Regularly

  • Why It’s Important: Regularly cleaning the dishwasher filter removes trapped food particles and debris, preventing clogs and ensuring efficient water drainage.
  • How to Do It: Check the filter every few weeks and clean it as needed. Remove it from the dishwasher, rinse it under running water, and clear away any buildup.

Check and Clean the Spray Arms

  • Why It’s Important: Properly functioning spray arms are crucial for effective cleaning and preventing clogs.
  • How to Do It: Inspect the spray arms for blockages and remove any debris. If they are clogged, clean the spray holes using a toothpick or similar tool.

Run Hot Water Before Starting the Dishwasher

  • Why It’s Important: Running hot water in the sink before starting a cycle ensures the dishwasher begins with hot water, improving cleaning efficiency and reducing the risk of clogs.
  • How to Do It: Turn on the hot water in the sink closest to the dishwasher and let it run for a few seconds before starting a new cycle.

Inspect and Maintain the Drain Hose

  • Why It’s Important: Checking the drain hose ensures it is not kinked or blocked, which can cause drainage issues.
  • How to Do It: Inspect the hose for kinks or obstructions and make sure it is properly connected. Clear any blockages if necessary.

Regular Dishwasher Maintenance

  • Why It’s Important: Regular maintenance helps keep your dishwasher running smoothly and efficiently.
  • How to Do It: Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning and maintaining your appliance. Consider scheduling a professional maintenance visit annually for a thorough check-up.

By following these preventive measures, you can extend the lifespan of your dishwasher and ensure it operates efficiently for years to come.

How to Address a Clog

Identify the Problem

  • Signs of a Clog: If you notice water not draining from the dishwasher, dishes not being cleaned properly, or unusual noises during the cycle, there may be a clog.
  • Why It’s Important: Identifying the problem early can prevent further damage to your appliance and avoid costly repairs.

DIY Troubleshooting Tips

  • Check the Drain Filter: Remove and clean the filter to eliminate any blockages. Make sure it’s properly reinstalled after cleaning.
  • Inspect the Spray Arms: Check for debris in the spray arms’ holes and remove it with a toothpick or similar tool. Ensure the arms spin freely.
  • Examine the Drain Hose: Look for kinks or obstructions in the drain hose and clear any blockages. Ensure the hose is properly connected.
  • Use Hot Water and Vinegar: Run a cycle with hot water and white vinegar to help dissolve minor clogs and remove soap scum and residue. Add a cup of white vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher and run a full cycle without dishes.

Consider a Drain Snake

  • Use a Drain Snake: If the above methods do not clear the clog, consider using a drain snake to remove any obstructions in the drain hose or pump area.
  • Caution: Be gentle and careful when using a drain snake to avoid causing damage to the appliance.

When to Call ARS Appliances Repair Service

  • Persistent Issues: If you’ve tried the DIY methods above and the clog persists, it may be time to call in the professionals.
  • Signs of Larger Problems: Unusual noises, poor cleaning performance, or other persistent issues may indicate a larger problem requiring expert diagnosis.
  • Safety Concerns: Handling complex repairs can pose safety risks. Calling a professional can ensure the issue is resolved safely and efficiently.

ARS Appliances Repair Service offers reliable, professional dishwasher repair services to help keep your appliance in optimal condition. Whether it’s a simple clog or a more complex issue, our skilled technicians can provide the support you need.


By following the preventive measures and troubleshooting tips outlined in this blog, you can significantly reduce the risk of dishwasher clogs and maintain an efficient appliance. A well-maintained dishwasher not only saves you time and effort but also extends the lifespan of your appliance.

Remember to pre-rinse dishes, use the right detergent, clean the filter regularly, and inspect the spray arms and drain hose. Taking these proactive steps will help you avoid common issues and ensure your dishwasher runs smoothly.

If you do encounter a clog or notice any persistent problems with your dishwasher, don’t hesitate to reach out to ARS Appliances Repair Service. Our team of experienced technicians serves Toronto, the Greater Toronto Area, Southern Ontario, and Ottawa, and we are dedicated to providing top-notch appliance repair services.

Whether it’s a minor issue or a major repair, we’re here to help you keep your appliances in peak condition. Contact us today to schedule a service or consultation. Let ARS Appliances Repair Service take care of your appliance needs so you can enjoy a hassle-free home experience!