Can You Put Drano In Dishwasher?

Issues on a plumbing system aren’t really the crown entry on anyone’s wishlist, but sitting back and observing how mother nature works, it seems like an inevitable decree panned out for every single household.

Because running into plumbing issues is in fact unavoidable, it’s better to fill up our knowledge bucket with DIY repair tips so we’re better equipped at handling situations when they crop up.

At the very least, we’ll be managing situations the proper way and showing off our technical sides to impress our partners, and at the very most, we’ll be doing a huge service to our wallets as well as eliminating any risks that could potentially cause us health hazards.

This brings us to an important question concerning dishwashers and drain cleaners, should you put drano in a dishwasher drain sump to unclog the drain? Would it work? And what drano products are best for the job?

In answer to this question,

Drain cleaners like drano should never be used in a dishwasher drain sump for any unclogging efforts. The idea has never been advocated by any official party, meaning no drain cleaner manufacturer has ever recommended their use in a dishwasher, and likewise, no dishwasher manufacturer has ever recommended the use of drain cleaners as a solution to a clogged appliance.

In fact, because drain cleaners are made with very tough ingredients, their use in a dishwasher may cause destruction of the drain hose as well as delicate parts like fittings and seals.

Using stuff like drain cleaners will also void manufacturers warranty and can even pose a serious threat to our health; because they’re caustic and their remnants may find their way into our dishes!

Why You Should Never Use Drano In A Dishwasher

Drano, and other cleaners alike, contain really harsh compounds that serve to dissolve gunk, hair and other build ups that can contribute to a clogged drain, as such they should never be used in a dishwasher for fear that they may deposit these caustic ingredients onto our dishes!

If that isn’t enough to scare you away from the practice, know that there isn’t a single dishwasher manufacturer that has recommended the use of drain cleaners in their “troubleshooting cards” even when a clogged dishwasher is the issue.

Likewise, no drain cleaner manual I’ve ever come across has advocated drain cleaners as the perfect products to tackle dishwasher drain sump build ups.

So i think the conclusion on the issue is crystal clear, THAT DRAIN CLEANERS SHOULD NEVER BE USED IN A DISHWASHER.

If, our only hope, drain cleaners, are washed out of the equation, how then do we go about troubleshooting a dishwasher that isn’t draining water properly?

What To Do When You Dishwasher Isn’t Draining

The signs of a clogged dishwasher include slow draining, standing water, grugling sound when draining, water backup and even dirty dishes.

Here’s how to tackle these problems at home first, before seeking professional help when everything else fails.

First, before anything, disconnect the power supply.

Check for slow drainage in the kitchen sink:

If you’re dealing with slow drainage in your dishwasher, chances are, that your kitchen sink has the same problem too.

Try to drain water and notice whether there is slow drainage, if yes, then you’re probably dealing with a clog somewhere between the dishwasher and sink plumbing system.

It’s best to contact a professional plumber to tackle this type of problem. Or, you can pour a drain cleaner down the skin according to the product’s instructions, or use other sink unclogging tools like drain snake.

You can also run the garbage disposal with some water to see if that helps.

Check the coarse filter at the bottom of the dishwasher for dirt accumulation and also if it’s locked in properly:

When the filter accumulates tiny food particles overtime, it clogs up and as a result you’ll have water build up or slow drainage to deal with.

Another thing is that if the filter is not properly locked in place, small food particles can escape and go into the circulation system and also the drain pump and inlet valve on the hose which can cause a clog eventually.

To deal with a dirty strainer, remove and clean it as per manufacturer’s instructions: under running water and using nylon brush in case of a really dirty strainer. This should give the filter some space to breathe.

Make sure to lock the filter back in place properly to prevent any possibilities of blockage. Check the manufacturer’s instruction on how to properly lock in the coarse filter.

Clean the fine filter too (the round one):

The strainer isn’t the only filter that can lead to slow draining, the upper filter too can suffer the same problem as the strainer. So make sure to clean it properly and lock it in place to prevent build up and clogging.

Check and clean the drain sump:

When you remove the strainer and upper filter, you dont want to wash them and then lock them back in place, take your time to inspect the drain sump for particles and build ups.

Start by removing the standing water in it, then look for residue, glass or stickers from plates or cups and remove them. Make sure the sump is properly clean before you replace the filters.

You can use a straightened clothes hanger to remove particles in hard to reach places. Just be very careful not to destroy fragile components.

Inspect the drain hose:

More often than not, a blockage or problem in the drain hose is the cause of clogging. First inspect for any kinks or loops and if found, adjust shape and position according to manufacturer’s recommendation. Next, if that didn’t work, or wasn’t the problem, detach the hose on both ends: from garbage disposal or sink and also the machine, and clean it using a water jet from another hose, i.e a garden hose.

You can also use a straightened clothes hanger to remove clogs. Just make sure to go carefully to avoid puncturing holes which would require you to buy a new one.

One good tip is to place bowls at the hose connection to drain pumps and also to the sink to catch unexpected leakage.

Thoroughly clean the drain pump and Non-return Valve:

Another good reason why you might have standing water refusing to be pumped away is if somehow, particles have found their way into the drain pump and non-return valve typically held and hidden away by the sump.

When you’ve done everything above, especially cleaning the filter, and you still have water accumulating when you run the dishwasher, it’s time to take a look at the more hidden components.

The drain pump and the valves are hidden away by the filter combination.

Cleaning them the non technical way is simply “cleaning the drain sump” which we discussed above”.

This means you take off the filters, suck up the water with a sponge and go through every hole and corner you find to remove stuck in food bits.

For the more thorough cleaning, which requires some technical spirit, you have to open the access panel and access the pump and valve from underneath like you would access the hose.

Remove the hose from the pump, and check that the non-return valve is functioning the right way, it should give water only towards the sink or garbage disposal and not the other way round or both ways.

After that, remove and inspect the drain pump for clogs. Make sure the impeller is able to move freely (with some resistance) and there is nothing blocking it.

Now return the drain pump, fix back the hose and you’re ready to test the dishwasher!

If you’re using a miele dishwasher like me, you can access the pump’s clog prone surfaces and the valve without going through the access panel like this:

Lift the filter combination and take it out carefully, making sure no particles drop into the circulation chamber to cause another blockage there.

Next, you want to scoop out the standing water. After that, locate the non-return valve as per manufacturer’s instruction, (if none, press the catch inwards and that should release it), then rinse well under running water making sure to remove all foreign particles from it.

Next, locate the drain pump underneath the non-return valve and remove all foreign objects from it. Be careful of glass splinters and other sensitive objects that can be very difficult to notice.

You also want to check and see if there are obstructions on the drain pump impeller as well and if so, remove them. Now carefully return the non-return valve and ensure the catch engages. Run your dishwasher and see if that solves the problem.

If all the tips above do not work, then the problem is most likely beyond your handling. Don’t be stubborn and hand over the baton to a professional plumber.

What To Do When Your Dishwasher Isn’t Cleaning Well

When you have a dishwasher that isn’t cleaning dishes well, the following might be the reason(s).

  1. You have loosely fit filters: When this happens, dirty water with food particles easily gets to the circulation chamber which means they are recycled for washing dishes! So make sure to fit filters properly.
  2. Clogged spray arms: As a result of loosely fit filters, spray arms can get blocked by having food particles stuck on their spritz holes. Another reason can be hard water deposits that cause build up there. You want to check the manufacturer’s instructions on how to properly clean a clogged spray arm, but it’s usually no more than fitting sharp items into the blockage area to loosen bits, and flushing with running water.
  3. Improper detergent: Using any detergent other than dishwasher detergent can lead to poor cleaning as dishwasher detergents are primarily fine tuned to work with a dishwasher only! So avoid putting dish soaps or laundry soaps in the dishwasher.
  4. Hard water: Hard water can leave stains on dishes that make them look unclean. Ensure you fill the salt cartridge with salt, or use detergents that tackle hard water problems.
  5. You used a gentle program: For more thorough cleaning, especially for heavily soiled items, you want to opt for the cycle that deals with soil appropirately. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see them.
  6. You did not load the dishes well: Improper loading of dishes can mean some are blocked from getting water spritz and therefore proper cleaning. So make sure to tone position every item in such a way that water from the top and bottom paddles can reach them easily.
  7. Stubborn soiling: When you have stubborn soiling, it can be difficult, no matter the program chosen, to get rid of it. For these dishes, mostly pots and pans, soak them in a hot soapy water before putting them inside the dishwasher. Avoid putting cast iron pans in the dishwasher completely.
  8. Not enough detergent: When you use too little detergent, you may end up with poorly cleaned dishes.
  9. There are items that are blocking spray arms: Check for them and ensure they are adjusted or removed.

Can You Put Bleach In A Dishwasher?

Bleach is completely safe to put inside the dishwasher for disinfecting purposes. Pour 1 cup of bleach in the bottom of the dishwasher and run a full wash cycle. This will help get rid of bacteria and fungus growth.

Final Thoughts

There are many things that can be the result of a clogged dishwasher, and drano should never be the option you resort to for a solution.

A dishwasher can hold water for reason such as blocked drain pump which can be solved by accessing the pump and cleaning it appropriately, a blocked coarse and fine filter which can be solved by cleaning them under running water, a clogged drain pipe which can be unclogged using straightened clothes hanger or water jet from hose, or a malfunctioning non-return inlet valve which can be repaired or replace.

Make sure to always use the troubleshooting guides in this article first before seeking professional help. And please, avoid using drano cleaner in your dishwasher at all cost.