How To Troubleshoot An Overflowing Dishwasher

Posted on: 15 April 2015

Is your dishwasher overflowing? This can be a very troublesome issue; not only does your kitchen flood, but you also don't end up with clean dishes. If your dishwasher is overflowing, there are a few things that you can check on before you call a plumbing or house appliance repair company. 

Run Your Garbage Disposal

It may seem counter-intuitive, but quite often a problem with the dishwasher is actually a problem with your garbage disposal. This is because your dishwasher connects to your garbage disposal under your sink.

Make sure that you have run your disposal and that there's nothing stuck in it. Otherwise it could just be that your dishwasher couldn't properly release its water. If your garbage disposal does not run, never place anything down it. Instead, reset it by pressing the red button at the bottom and then try again.

Check for Blockage at the Bottom

There's usually a fan-like object at the very bottom of your dishwasher followed by a grate. This object is meant to move around food particles so that they can be drained out of the dishwasher. Sometimes it can be blocked off. If a napkin, for instance, falls into your dishwasher, it will often prevent food from being washed down and may cause the entire dishwasher to overflow.

The blockages may be inside of the fan itself, so you might want to spin the fan a few times to make sure that it is spinning freely.

Run Your Sink to Check for Blockages

To determine whether your actual sink pipes might be blocked, you should run your sink. If your sink does not drain—or drains slowly—you should immediately call a plumber. Pouring a drain cleaning solution down your pipes is usually not advisable if you have a disposal and a dish washer because it can just move clogs further down the pipes. Sinks have traps which can make it even more difficult to dissolve clogs. 

Finally, you may want to double check your soap. It may seem silly, but it's very easy to mistake liquid dish washing solution for liquid dishwasher solution. Dish washing solution cannot be used in a dishwasher because it is too highly concentrated and will froth too much.

If you still can't determine the problem, you should call your repair company or plumber. Do not open the mechanics of the dishwasher. Because the dishwasher is both electronic and involves water, it can be very dangerous.