How to Clean Your Dishwasher Drain

Inside of an empty dishwasher
  • 1-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-50

A dishwasher drain in a dishwasher used sensibly will seldom need cleaning. When it does, you should be methodical and careful not to misplace any pieces.

Step 1 - Check the Owner’s Hand Book

Read the instructions for your particular model in the owner’s hand book that came with the dishwasher.

Step 2 - Examine the Drain

Your dishwasher drain is in the bottom of the machine and is usually protected by a plastic grill. The condition of the grill will indicate the state of the drain. If it has solid matter clinging to it, clean the grill by hand wearing rubber gloves. Be especially careful in case there are shards of glass. It is fairly certain that if the grill has accumulated debris, there will be a need to clean the rest of the drain.

Step 3 - Unplug the Dishwasher

Before starting work on the dishwasher make sure it is not plugged in to the power supply.

Step 4 - Remove the Drain Cover

man and woman working on a dishwasher

The drain cover is not designed to be removed easily so you will need spanners or screwdrivers to remove the fasteners. Be careful to retain all the fasteners and keep them in a safe place. When you lift the drain cover the bottom spray bar will probably come with it. Make sure there are no loose parts on the spray bar spindle and if there are any they do not fall into the drain. Make very careful note of each item you remove so you can replace it in the correct order.

Step 5 - Block the Drain Exit

Under the drain cover you will spot the drain exit. You must close this off so you don’t drop rubbish down it while you are cleaning.

Step 6 - Clean the Drain

The only way to clean the drain is by picking up the debris by hand. Be careful of any glass shards that might be in there. As well as wearing rubber gloves it will be easier and safer to collect the debris using a piece of cloth to gather it.

Step 7 - Remove Stains

Once you have the drain cleaned you will need to use a small scrubbing brush to clean away the stains around the drain.

Step 8 - Clean the Drain Cover

A dishwasher drain in a dishwasher used sensibly will seldom need cleaning. Whengloved hands handling a dishwasher filter

Before you replace the drain cover, clean that with a small scrubbing brush also. Be careful you do not displace any small parts.

Step 9 - Replace the Drain Cover

Open up the drain exit and then replace the drain cover. Use the reverse order in which you removed it. Replace all the fasteners.

Step 10 - Plug in

Plug the dishwasher back into the mains.

Step 11 - Flush and Clean With Vinegar

To complete the cleaning process put a cup of vinegar in the top rack the right side up and run the dishwasher. The vinegar is a very effective answer to ‘how to clean’ and will finish off the drain cleaning.

By scraping plates clean before putting them into your dishwasher you will reduce the need to worry about cleaning the dishwasher drain.