Can You Put Drain Cleaner In A Dishwasher?

Dishwashers are a very effective cleaner of dishes – but they themselves can get a little grubby from time to time!

Can you put drain cleaner in a dishwasher to clear blockages and give it a deep clean? Let’s see if this is actually a good idea…

Can You Put Drain Cleaner In A Dishwasher?

The short and easy answer to this is no, you really shouldn’t use drain cleaner in your dishwasher.

Products that are used to unblock drains typically contain some rather toxic elements, that you really don’t want anywhere near anything that you might eat from.

Drain cleaners contain some very harsh chemicals which can leave residues behind them – this could cause health issues if you get them on your dishes.

Using drain cleaner in your dishwasher – even if you rinse it through afterwards – can cause more problems than it solves.

Even if you have a blockage and nothing is shifting it, there are far better ideas than using drain cleaner.

You can have a go at unblocking your dishwasher yourself, or, if you don’t have the knowledge or inclination, you can call in a plumber. Just leave the drain cleaner in the drain!

What Can I Use To Unclog My Dishwasher?

A clogged up dishwasher is not an uncommon problem, believe it or not – and no, it doesn’t mean that you have done anything wrong.

It is very easy for food particles and debris to get stuck in your dishwasher, and it is actually not too difficult to sort out the problem.

  1. Start by removing everything from your dishwasher (you will need to wash these again after you have cleaned the dishwasher!)
  2. Unplug the dishwasher from the power source, to avoid the danger of electrocuting yourself.
  3. Remove any standing water in the dishwasher, using a cup at first, then paper towels to soak up as much as you can.
  4. Pour equal parts of baking soda and white vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher, let it sit for 15 minutes, then run a rinse cycle on the hottest setting.
  5. Check the filter for blockages and give it a good clean out – this is generally where blockages come to rest.
  6. Check the sink air gap (a small slotted cylinder found near the outlet hose under the sink) and clean it out using a stiff brush.
  7. Check the drain hose for kinks and clogs – you may have to pull your dishwasher away from the wall to do this).

Once you have done all these things – you may not have to do them all – you should find that your dishwasher is working perfectly again!

This is a great article, showing you all sorts of different ways to unclog your dishwasher.

How Do I Know If My Dishwasher Pipe Is Blocked?

If your dishwasher pipes are blocked, unfortunately you will know about it pretty soon – it’s not very pleasant.

You might notice an bad smell caused by the blockage – if food particles are not being drained away, they can start to rot.

A gurgling sound is another clue; this is the water trying and failing to get past the blockage.

If your dishes are unclean, it is definitely time to check for a blockage – the machine cannot work effectively if it cannot drain.

Water backing up into the sink is a sure sign that you have a blockage – this can be rectified easily if you have a waste disposal unit, otherwise you might have to roll your sleeves up!

Thankfully, if you spot these signs early enough, you should be able to fix the problem easily and quickly.

Why Is My Clogged Drain Backing Up Into The Dishwasher?

This is definitely not a scenario you want – dirty water getting into your dishwasher and your clean dishes? No thank you!

This happens when the water source for the sink and the dishwasher are the same, and that source becomes blocked up.

There are a few ways you can sort this problem yourself, if you don’t want to go to the hassle and expense of calling out a plumber:

  • Check the dishwasher drain hose. Ensure that there are no blockages or kinks in the pipe that can prevent water from flowing.
  • The drain hose loop prevents water draining back into the dishwasher, but if it is too low beneath the dishwasher, water can drain back in. Secure it high enough to prevent the water running back.
  • Some dishwashers have an air gap, which looks like a silver cylinder close to the rim of the sink. If this is damaged, it could be causing your sink water to get into the dishwasher, and you should replace it.
  • Is your sink blocked? If so, you will almost certainly find dirty water getting into your dishwasher. Remove the P trap and clear out any blockages.

Is There A Dishwasher Cleaner?

As with all things, there is a huge market for products that you can use to clean your dishwasher.

You can find any number of these products at your local hardware store, or even at a large supermarket.

If you don’t want to buy specific dishwasher cleaners – either because you don’t want to spend the money or because you don’t like the ingredients – there are other things you can do.

Vinegar and baking soda are great natural cleaners, and it is very easy to use them in your dishwasher.

However, if you live in a hard water area it is recommended that you use a product that can remove the hard water film, which can help your dishwasher to last longer.

If you are wondering the best ways to clean your dishwasher, check out this video:

Final Words

Cleaning the things that clean things is always a good idea – they are much more effective at cleaning things if they themselves are clean!

Now you know what sort of things you can use to clean your dishwasher, you can put the drain cleaner aside and go for a better option.