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How To Clean and 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.
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.
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, it's recommended 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.