Early Signs of a Clogged Dishwasher

I don’t know about you, but I love my dishwasher. We have a great relationship. I make a mess, and it, with a little help from me, cleans it up – and it does a damn fine job most of the time too. I appreciate my dishwasher for its kitchen duties and hold it in high regards. It keeps chugging away, doing its job, without asking for anything in return.

But you must realise your dishwasher is connected to plumbing and all plumbing involves pipes and pipes can become clogged. Just like your sink, your dishwasher can become clogged as well and there are some tell-tale signs to look out for that will give you an indication if your dishwasher is clogged or not.

In this post, I will give you some valuable information on how to tell if your dishwasher is clogged and I suggest you see to the problem before it causes real damage to your beloved kitchen helper. After all, every dishwasher needs a little tender loving care and attention once in a while.

Performance Issues

Sometimes, like humans, dishwashers can develop performance issues. You load it up with dirty dishes and they come out not so dirty, but still dirty enough to have to be washed again, or god forbid hand washed. This could be an indication that it’s clogged and not getting adequate water flow to do the job. If you notice this, run it again and if you still have the same problem, it might be clogged.

Excess Water After a Cycle

When you open your dishwasher door after a cycle and water starts spilling out onto the floor, or there is excess water in the bottom of your dishwasher, this a clear sign that your dishwasher isn’t draining properly, and it’s obviously blocked in the drainage outlet.

You Hear Weird Noises

Dishwashers tend to make a variety of noises, as high-pressure water sprays the plates and cutlery. There is some swishing of water and clanging of pots and pans. This is normal. But if you start to hear a low humming noise or a vigorous thump, this can be an indication that the pump is working extra to remove the water or pump the water in. If your pump has to work harder due to a clogged dishwasher it might send it into an early retirement if the problem isn’t sorted.

It Stinks

When your dishwasher is clogged, it’s usually by food scraps from long forgotten meals that have the potential to create blockages in the inlets and outlets. As the food scraps rot, they create a nasty odour and also make your dishwasher perform poorly.

Everything and the Kitchen Sink

Your dishwasher is hooked up to your water mains, just like your sink and your washing machine and pretty much all plumbing. If your sink is filling up when your dishwasher is running, this is a tell-tale sign that your dishwasher is clogged and it’s time to give it a clean.

Check the Drainage Outlet

Depending on the model of your dishwasher, there should be a drainage outlet that usually has some form of mesh cover to catch the large chunks of food. When it’s empty, get in there and have a look for yourself to see if there is excess food build up. Always refer to the user manual and do it to the manufacturer’s specifications to avoid warranty issues – or better get a licensed service professional to do the job for you. This will ensure that the problem is solved. Unless you consider yourself a do it yourself expert, leave it alone.

If you do notice any of these signs, you owe it to the dishwasher to get it back into fine working order. It will extend the life of your dishwasher and save you from having to hand wash your dishes. What are we in the stone ages?  No, this is the future and machines were built to do mundane jobs so we don’t have to. Hand washing dishes is for people with too much time on their hands or not enough brains to buy one of these beautiful inventions that do all the work for us. The humble dishwasher is one of your best friends in the kitchen.


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