What to Do if Your Dishwasher Backs Up

If your dishwasher backs up, it can be an incredibly frustrating problem. Not only does it mean dishes piling up in the sink, but it also could mean water spilling over onto the floor or lingering bad smells. Luckily, you may be able to fix the problem yourself by following these tips. We’ll walk you through the most common reasons dishwashers back up and how to fix them. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry! You can always call the Rocketman for expert help.

Common Reasons for Dishwasher Backup and How to Fix Them

Before we start, we want to remind you to always unplug your dishwasher and garbage disposal before working on them. Safety first! Now, let’s look at the most common reasons dishwashers back up and how to fix them.

1. Food clogging the drain filter

If the drain filter on your dishwasher is clogged, it can cause water to back up in the machine. The filter should be in the floor of your dishwasher tub, usually near the back. If you have a newer dishwasher, you may need a screwdriver to access the filter.

To clean your dishwasher drain filter, pull it out of the tub and wash it with water. If the filter is especially dirty, scrub it with dish soap. Once the filter is clean, put it back in place and run the dishwasher to see whether the problem is fixed or not.

2. Clogged air gap on the sink

If there is a clog in the air gap on your sink, it can cause water to back up in the dishwasher. An air gap is a small cylinder located on your sink, next to the faucet. To clean it, first remove the casing. There will be a smaller cylinder with a lid (either one that you pull off, or one that you twist off). Remove this lid, and you’ll see a small tube, called a diverter. If there is any buildup in or around the diverter tube, clean this out as best you can. Once the air gap is clear, put the cap and the case back on and make sure they are secure. Then run the dishwasher again to check if the problem is fixed.

3. Clogged garbage disposal

If you have a garbage disposal in your sink, a clog could cause your dishwasher to back up. This is because your dishwasher uses the same pipes as your sink does to drain water. To check if this is the issue, turn on your garbage disposal. If you hear a loud hum or other unusual sounds, it’s likely that your garbage disposal is clogged. This is also likely if you notice bad smells coming from your sink. To unclog the garbage disposal, first turn off the power to the disposal. Then, using a plunger, clear any blockages that may be causing the clog. You can also pour ¼ cup of baking soda into the disposal followed by ¼ cup of white vinegar. Let that sit for about 10 minutes, then rinse with hot water and see if your disposal is working properly again. Once the garbage disposal is clear, turn the power back on and run the dishwasher to see whether the problem is fixed or not.

4. Clogged dishwasher drain hose

If your dishwasher’s drain hose is clogged, it can prevent water from draining properly and cause a backup. This hose will either be located behind your dishwasher or attached to the pipes under your sink. To clean the drain hose, first disconnect it from the dishwasher. Then, using a straightened wire coat hanger, clear any blockages that may be causing the clog. Once the dishwasher drain hose is clear, reconnect it and run the dishwasher to check if the problem is fixed.

5. Loose drain hose

If the dishwasher’s drain hose is loose, it can cause water to back up inside the dishwasher. To fix a loose dishwasher drain hose, first find both ends of the drain hose (the one connected to your dishwasher itself, and the one connected to your plumbing). Using a screwdriver, tighten the screw on the metal clamps that go around the hose ends. Once the connections are tight, run the dishwasher to see if the problem is fixed.

Call Rocketman for Expert Help

If you’re still having problems with your dishwasher, or you just don’t feel comfortable fixing it yourself, don’t worry! You can always call Rocketman Plumbing for expert help. Our expert technicians have the tools and skills to get it handled in a flash. Give us a call at (505) 591-6241 and we’ll get your dishwasher back up and running in no time.