How To Clean Dishwasher Drain With Baking Soda And Vinegar

Thank God for dishwashers. These machines save us a whole lot of stress in the kitchen, helping us to wash those dirty and greasy utensils quickly and cleanly. 

However, your dishwasher will only continue to work great if you take care of it as you should.

Every part of your dishwasher should be maintained and cleaned regularly, especially the drains. 

If your dishwasher is not draining as it should, then it means it has been used too much without cleaning, causing clogging. Check and clean your drains.

Cleaning Your Dishwasher Drain

Baking soda and vinegar are very common household ingredients that everyone has. These two ingredients are also the commonest and most effective materials used in cleaning the drain of a dishwasher quickly and completely. 

If you know how to use them, you might not need to invite a professional to take a look at your dishwasher, nor will you need to spend money on getting a new dishwasher.

How To Use Baking Soda and Vinegar to Clean the Dishwasher Drain

How To Clean Dishwasher Drain with Baking Soda and Vinegar

When your filter, drain hose, or dishwasher gets clogged, then draining will not occur. All these parts need to be cleaned regularly and well. Let’s show you how to clean these parts.


  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • A rag or microfiber cloth
  • Augur or straightened wire hanger,
  • Water and soap.

Cleaning the Filter

Step 1: Use a damp rag or cloth to remove dirt and dust around the filter area. Also, remove the food scraps and trash from the bottom of the dishwasher. 

Furthermore, use the cloth to wipe the filter and catch basin. Keep an eye out for stuck-on food.

Step 2: Take out the filter. Your user manual will come in handy here. Check it to find out how to take out the filter from your dishwasher. 

Also, in most dishwashers, you need to get the bottom rack out to get to the filter. However, your dishwasher manual will help with this.

Step 3: Wash the filter. Warm water and dish soap should do the trick of removing the dirt or grease stuck to the walls of your filter. You can also use a wet vacuum to clean the filter thoroughly.

Step 4: Place the filter in its appropriate place after cleaning and drying it. Make sure to secure it the right way, with screws, if it came with those or not. Also, use a screwdriver to screw and ensure that every screw sits well on its spot.

Cleaning the Drain of Your Dishwasher

To clean the drain of your dishwasher, you need to first take out the bottom rack of your dishwasher. Removing the bottom rack also grant you access to the catch basin and filter.

Note: Make sure to unplug your dishwasher before you begin to clean it. No one likes electric shocks so be careful.

Step 1: Remove the filter and drain catch. Clean them both and allow them to dry completely. The filter and drain catch block the drain, so removing them allow you unhinged access to clean the drain. If you find any clogs, use the augur or wire hanger to remove and take them out from the drain.

Step 2: Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Pour this solution down the drain to rid it of the grease, debris, and grime. The mix will break down the clogs slowly and thoroughly, so you should wait for about 20 minutes before taking the next step.

Step 3: Pour warm water into the drain. Doing this will help to wash the drain of the solution and any leftover debris that may still remain in the drain.

Step 4: Run a regular cycle on your dishwasher after you get the clogs out of the drain. If water does not collect at the bottom of the dishwasher, and if it drains properly, then you know your work is done.


How About The Drain Hose? How To Unclog it.

dishwasher drain hose

First, turn off the electricity to the dishwasher. This should prevent any problem of electrocution and electrical shocks. 

Secondly, make sure to read the manual of your dishwasher before you dismantle any of its parts.

The manual will not only tell you where to find the part you are looking for but will also teach you how to dismantle and assemble the said part.

Step 1: Take the drain hose off. You can use pliers to pull up the wire clamp. You should also place a basin under the drain hose to catch the spills that may come loose from removing the hose.

Step 2: Using the hanger or augur, clear out the hose of all debris and dirt. Wiggle the drain hose well to remove stuck-on grease. You can also run water at a high pressure through the hose to remove and clear it out.

Step 3: Once the hose is clean, connect it back to the dishwasher. Plug the machine and run a regular cycle. Your hose should drain well at this point.

Read: How To Clean Dishwasher Drain Hose Without Removing It 


Cleaning Your Dishwasher with Vinegar and Baking Soda

baking soda and vinegar

A dishwasher is an appliance that gets the job done. If it stops working, you quickly realize how much you need it. 

You should pay more attention to making sure your dishwasher works well and vinegar and baking soda provides a healthy solution to the mess.

Always Keep the Dishwasher’s Filter and Spray Arms Clean

The filters in most new dishwashers need to be cleaned by hand. It’s part of what makes newer dishwashers quieter, but it also means you’ll have to clean the filter more often.

When it gets clogged, water doesn’t drain as well, and it starts to smell bad.

Empty the dishwasher, pull out the bottom rack, and then take out the filter. Most of the time, it’s easy to unscrew and take apart. 

Check your owner’s manual to learn how to remove the filter. Rinse and scrub it well in the sink.

The spray arms can also get food stuck in them. This could be why dishes aren’t getting completely clean. 

You can remove the spray arms to see if they are clogged. What’s stuck in, there can be taken out with a toothpick.

Bring in the Vinegar

White vinegar will rid your dishwasher of soap buildup, hard water, and lingering smells.

Put 2 cups of vinegar in a clean bowl or measuring cup that can go in the dishwasher and put it on the bottom rack. 

Then run the dishwasher through a cleaning cycle on the hottest setting with no soap.

The vinegar will be sprinkled all over the dishwasher, which will get rid of stains and smells and make it look new.

Baking Soda Is a Good Alternative

Try baking soda if you are not satisfied with the work of vinegar. Put a cup or two of baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher. 

Then use hot water to run another cleaning cycle. The baking soda will help get rid of smells and polish the inside of the dishwasher.


Safety Precautions to Keep Your Dishwasher from Getting Clogged

Now that you have cleaned your dishwasher, you should learn the maintenance techniques to keep it working in optimal condition. 

You will not want to be called by the repairman every now and then. Your best friend is prevention. 

The following precautions will help you to maintain your dishwasher and reduce its clogging probability by a lot. Check them out:

  • Always Run the Garbage Disposal

If your dishwasher drains into the same pipe as your kitchen sink, you can have debris back up your machine. 

Hence, you should always run the garbage disposal before you use the dishwasher to clear the drain. This will also make the machine work better.

  • Always Get Rid of Stuck-on Food

Sometimes, large pieces of food get stuck in the drain or the filter, thereby clogging up the drain.

Make sure to always check for this situation and scrape off any big pieces of food from the dishes before you put them into the dishwasher. 

You can achieve this by quickly rinsing the plates before you put them into the dishwasher. 

  • Always Inspect the Seals of Your Machine

Your dishwasher has rubber seals around the door which can get sticky and dirty after a while. This dirt and grime, if not properly taken care of, will cause leaks.

You should run a wet rag over this part of your dishwasher to keep it clean. 

  • You Should Fill Up Your Dishwasher

If you use your dishwasher too much, it will easily get clogged. Therefore, you should run your dishwasher when it’s full. This will save you money, time, and effort, rather than running the machine every time you use a plate.

  • Do Not Overcrowd the Machine

You should always keep in mind that if there is not enough space between your dishes in the dishwasher, these plates will not get as clean as you wish them to become. 

Your Dishwasher will also find it difficult to work well when it is overcrowded, so make sure to keep to the limit of caution, or not only will you damage your machine, but you will also end up with half-washed dishes.

  • Clean the Filter Regularly

You should check and clean your filter and drain hose regularly. Do not wait until you find out that there is a problem with the drain of the dishwasher before you do so.

Furthermore, make sure to clean these parts well. Cleaning them halfway will only cause more harm than good in the future.

  • Call a Professional Once You Get Lost

It is not a bad thing not to know how to fix your dishwasher. Once you realize you are lost on what to do, reach out to a professional who knows what should be done. Let the person take care of the problem.


Know the Parts of Your Dishwasher

Your dishwasher comprises many parts that make it a wholesome machine. You can read the manual for an extensive review of these parts. 

However, let’s introduce you to the most significant parts. Check them out.

  • Heating Element

You will find this at the base of the dishwasher tub. This element raises the temperature of the water during the washing cycle and that of the air during the drying cycle.

  • Detergent and Rinse Aid Dispenser

You store the dish detergent and rinse aid in this dispenser before you start the washing cycle. It is a small, rectangular-shaped container with a door and a separate rinse aid chamber. 

You can find it on the inside of the dishwasher door, and it releases the detergent and rinse aid when necessary. 

You should clean your dispenser from time to time e because the detergent buildup can cause it to work improperly.

  • Control Pads

You will find this at the top or front of the dishwasher door. On it, you will find the buttons to control the working process of the dishwasher.

  • Racks

These racks hold all your items securely during the washing and drying cycle. Always make sure to load your dishes correctly on the rack.

  • Spray Arms

In every dishwasher, there are two or three rotating wash arms. One is situated underneath the upper rack and sprays water on the dishes above. 

The second arm is housed below the bottom rack and pushes water to the racks above.

  • Door Latch

It secures the dishwasher door when a cycle is in play. You will find it underneath the plastic cover of the inner door. 

Once securely fitted, the dishwasher will begin a cycle, or else it will not begin operations.

  • Silverware Basket

This basket houses the day-to-day cutlery that is normally placed in the lower rack of the dishwasher.

  • Water Inlet Valve

This controls the flow of water inside the dishwasher during a cycle.

  • Filter

You will find the filter in the bottom area of your dishwasher tub underneath the bottom rack. 

It helps to filter out dirty water and protects the pump from large food particles. You should clean this area well.


Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know If Baking Soda and Vinegar will Clean My Dishwasher Drain?

The properties of these substances make them effective and efficient cleaners. They work by breaking down the grease and grime, making it easy to wipe off. 

Also, you can trust us: this method is a successful blast.

How to Clean a Dishwasher Drain Pipe?

Mix vinegar and baking soda and pour the mix together down the drain of the dishwasher. Allow the solution to work its magic for about 20 minutes. 

By this time, it will have broken down the clogs of grease and grime in the pipe. Force water at high pressure and speed through the pipe.

How Can I Tell If My Drain Hose Is Clogged?

If you open the door of your dishwasher and water leaks out from above the drain onto the floor, then it means your drain hose is clogged. 

Also, if you notice that water gathers at the bottom of your dishwasher, you should check your drain hose.

Can I Use Baking Soda to Rid My Dishwasher of Bad Odor?

Baking soda can get rid of the smell that permeates your dishwasher after much use. All you need to do is to put a cup of baking soda in the bottom of your dishwasher. 

Then run the dishwasher for a short time. The baking soda will clean the dishwasher and also get rid of the smell.

How often Should I Clean My Dishwasher?

You should clean your dishwasher depending on how often you use it. If you use your dishwasher daily, you should make sure to keep remove visible bits of food daily. 

You should also wipe down the door edges and gasket at least every week. Also, clean the filter every week too. You can deep clean once a month.

Should I Clean My Dishwasher with Bleach?

No, you should not clean your dishwasher with bleach, especially if your dishwasher has a stainless steel interior. 

You should also not mix bleach with vinegar. The combination of both these chemicals can be dangerously lethal. Avoid abrasive cleaners too.

When Should I Replace the Parts of My Dishwasher?

Yes, you can replace the parts of your dishwasher. If your machine begins to display error messages, does not turn on,

Does not close, or does not clean your dishes properly, you should call in a professional to take a look. 

The diagnosis might have you replacing some parts. Make sure you buy quality replacement parts.

Final Thoughts

Your dishwasher only gets clogged because of the food bits, dirt, and grease that build up in it after much use. 

If your dishwasher does not drain, it is because the filter, drain hose, or both are clogged up. Vinegar and baking soda are good materials for clearing the clog of your machine.