Will Drano Unclog A Dishwasher? Let’s Find Out

Will Drano Unclog A Dishwasher? Let’s Find Out

Anthony Barnes

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Dishwashers are easily one of the best inventions for saving someone time and making sure that their job is made a lot easier.

We all know how boring and how long it can take to wash dishes and glasses manually in the sink, not to mention getting wet! 

Dishwashers will ensure that these items in your possession will be cleaned thoroughly and properly.

However, we understand how frustrating it can be when your dishwasher (see also ‘9 Dishwasher Brands To Avoid‘) becomes clogged and stops working properly.

Ultimately, there’s no point in spending hundreds of dollars on a dishwasher (see also ‘Do Dishwashers Heat The Water?‘) for the appliance to not work to the best of its ability.

Follow our guide to find out if Drano will unclog your dishwasher, the benefits of having a working dishwasher, and how to clean your dishwasher properly.

What Is A Dishwasher?

In the slim chance that you don’t know what a dishwasher is, let us explain. A dishwasher is an automatic washing machine designed specifically for cleaning dirty dishes.

It works by spraying water onto the inside of the dishware while revolving at high speeds.

The force of the spray helps loosen food particles from the surface of the dishware. After being washed, the dishes are then dried using heaters or air blowers.

What Is Drano?

Drano is a household product used to remove various types of clogs found in drains.

You can use Drano to clear clogs caused by grease, soap scum, hair, limescale deposits, etc.

Most people think that Drano removes rust stains, but this isn’t true because the liquid mixture does not have any anti-rust properties.

Instead, Drano dissolves the rust away as it cleans through the drain pipe.

How Does Drano Work?

The active ingredient in Drano is phosphoric acid. When mixed with water, this chemical creates a powerful solution that loosens and dissolves stubborn clogs.

As the chemical breaks down the blockage, it also forms a foam that prevents future clogging.

This foam also protects pipes and other fixtures from becoming damaged during the removal process.

Can Drano Be Used To Clean A Dishwasher?

Lots of dishwasher owners around the world will wonder whether they can use Drano and similar products to unclog any blockages that may have occurred.

However, you might be surprised to know that Drano isn’t that effective in cleaning your dishwasher of any blockages or clogged debris that might be affecting your appliance’s performance levels.

A lot of the time, these obstructions might exist outside of the main compartment in the dishwasher, unless there happens to be a mechanical problem in the machine.

For example, if your dishwasher is connected to a garbage disposal unit then you might be experiencing a blockage in that system, rather than the dishwasher itself. 

The simple answer is no, you can’t use Drano to clear a dishwasher of blockages because the chemicals used to create the substance are not suitable for use inside of a dishwasher.

Drano happens to be quite corrosive, as it’s usually used for clearing blockages and good for breaking down debris and dirt.

Because of this, Drano can damage the different components in your dishwasher and will likely mean that you have to get a new one before too long.

Drainage Pumps

Although Drano is useful for clearing obstructions that are caused by food, grease, and even hair, these are uncommon in a dishwasher and will not call for the use of Drano.

Because Drano relies on gravity and the shape of the pipes to clear the blockages, it is also redundant in a dishwasher because they use pumps to remove the dirty water from the appliance.

This means that if there is a blockage then it could be something to do with these pumps and might need professional fixing, otherwise, you could be looking at extensive damage that you can’t see until the machine starts to work less thoroughly. 

How To Unclog A Dishwasher Safely With Other Methods

How To Unclog A Dishwasher Safely With Other Methods

If you want to avoid using Drano to unclog a dishwasher then you should consider trying some more natural methods instead.

One way you can try and unblock a dishwasher without using Drano is to try and blow air into the drainage system. 

Another option would be to pour boiling water down the drainpipe. The heat generated by the hot water will cause any blockages to break up and flow out of the pipe.

It doesn’t matter how much water you put down the pipe, just keep pouring until you feel like you’re making progress.

You can also combine soap with warm water to ensure that the blockages are breaking down and being expelled from the system.

How To Tell If A Dishwasher Is Clogged

To help you determine if your dishwasher needs unblocking, look at its capacity level.

This is determined by how many dishes or plates a dishwasher can hold.

If you have a larger capacity then you’ll probably require an extra-large amount of liquid compared to someone who has a smaller capacity.

As such, you might find that your dishwasher requires more frequent emptying.

If you happen to notice that your sink also runs slowly, it can be because it’s full of dirt.

Your sink drains through a pipe located underneath the flooring and so if you notice that it’s running slow then you may have got a clog occurring in that pipe.

If you’re having trouble getting your sink to drain properly then you might need to consider calling a plumber.

How Often Should I Check My Dishwasher For Obstructions?

As mentioned earlier, you should check your dishwasher every time you run a load.

If you don’t then you could end up with a blocked pipe or your dishwasher filling up with water and overflowing.

This will lead to problems when you start washing your dishes and could become worse over time.

However, we know that not everyone has the time to do this, so aim for once every week as a minimum.

It all depends on how much you use your dishwasher.

Of course, the more you use it, the more chance there’s going to be for blockages and obstructions to affect the performance of your appliance.

If you don’t use it as much, then there’s less water passing through the drainage systems and less chance of blockages and clogging appearing.

Physical Signs That My Dishwasher Is Clogged

The Dishes Aren’t Being Cleaned Properly

One of the most obvious signs that your dishwasher is clogged is that you aren’t seeing any clean dishes coming out of your machine.

There are two different types of cleaning systems used in modern-day dishwashers: pulsating jets and conventional sprayers.

Both of them provide excellent results but they differ in their ability to remove stubborn food particles.

There Is A Bad Odor Coming From The Dishwasher

This isn’t necessarily an indication that your dishwasher is leaking – but it could be a sign that something within it is failing.

If you smell anything particularly bad then you may wish to call a professional repair person to take a look at your dishwasher.

Bad odors can mean that some dirty water or food is blocking the pipes.

My Dishwasher Won’t Drain, What Do I Do?

You should try to empty your dishwasher as soon as possible after each wash cycle.

But if you notice that the machine won’t drain, there are still things you can do about it. First of all, make sure that everything is working correctly inside the unit.

You want to make sure that none of the parts are damaged. Check the faucet connections and see if they appear loose or if there are any leaks present.

Next, make sure that nothing is jammed into the back of the dishwasher. If it is, you should be able to clear it out easily enough if the blockage is visible.

However, if it isn’t visible then it might be best to contact a professional to deal with the problem so you don’t make the problem worse.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, Drano isn’t great for dishwashers and can cause a lot of extensive damage to the machine’s components if it’s applied.

Because of this, we recommend that you use another method to try and solve your problem.

As always, we recommend seeking help from a professional if you feel like it’s a problem that’s too hard to solve.

We don’t want you getting hurt or making the issue worse and breaking your dishwasher.

Drano is very good for battling obstructions and debris in drainage systems but the chemicals that are used to make the substance will harm your machine and damage the components inside of the appliance.

If you have been using Drano and can see visible damage to your dishwasher then contact a professional to make sure that your machine doesn’t need replacing.

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By Anthony Barnes

Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age