Cleaning and Maintenance Home Improvement

Solved! Can You Put Drano/Drain Cleaners in the Dishwasher?

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A clogged dishwasher can be a great source of frustration. The appliance will struggle to work efficiently while that dirty water mixed with a buildup of food bits can be redirected to the kitchen sink. Just as the sink or the toilet can get clogged occasionally, the same issue can affect your dishwasher machine. It could be tempting to use Drano or another common drain cleaner product to solve this issue, but is this a good idea? The simple answer to this question is no, Drano doesn’t belong in the dishwasher drain hose. Let’s see why it can’t be used to unclog the dishwasher and what are some recommended alternatives.

1. Short Answer is No, But Why Drano or Other Drain Cleaners Shouldn’t be Put in a Dishwasher?

Dishwasher Rack

Drano is a powerful chemical cleaner based on sodium hydroxide. It’s very reliable in terms of dealing with unpleasant clogging issues. However, you need to understand that it can only be used for specific intended purposes such as unclogging the sink and shower drain pipes. Using this drain cleaner beyond what it was designed to do can have disastrous consequences. You should never unclog a toilet with it or put this chemical solution in the dishwasher.

The drain hose of a dishwasher relies on particularly thin plastic that is likely to get damaged by the heat produced when combining Drano with water. There’s not only a serious risk of damaging the drain pipe but you can also cause pump malfunctioning. The cleaner may not fully go down the drain and end up on your plates and bowls once the dishwasher operates again. It’s safe to say that you wouldn’t want the harsh chemicals in Drano anywhere near your food.

2. You Can Try These Alternative Solutions to Unclog the Dishwasher

  • Clean the Filter

Dishwasher Element Being Rinsed

Instead of reaching for the bottle of Drano, you should use alternative solutions that can safely unclog the dishwasher and restore proper functionality. The first thing to consider is cleaning the filter of the dishwasher. It’s typically found somewhere at the bottom of your appliance and traps all the large and tiny particles of food from the dirty dishes. If it’s not regularly cleaned, the clogged filter will make it very difficult for the water to drain as expected.

  • Try a Vinegar Drain-Cleaning Solution

If you’re looking to unclog the drain of the dishwasher using a chemical solution, vinegar is your best bet. This is another common ingredient that you likely already have at home. Combine one cup of white vinegar with equal parts warm water for an effective drain-cleaning solution without any risk of hose damage. Leave it soaking for around 20 minutes in the dishwasher.

  • Probe Inside the Hose

Dishwasher Hose

The most effective method to unclog the drain hose of the dishwasher is to probe inside it. Although it’s unpleasant, the process is quite straightforward. You will need to manually disconnect the drain hose and put it into a bucket to prevent any leftover dirty water from splashing the floor. Then it’s simply a matter of searching inside the hose using a wire or an auger tool to swiftly discover the buildup of dirt that caused the clog. Be careful to avoid piercing the thin plastic material of the hose during the probing.

By Stefan Bucur

Stefan is the founder and owner of Rhythm of the Home. He has 6 years of experience in home improvement, interior design, cleaning and organizing.

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