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Help! Dishwasher tips: Unblocking the Filter

The dishwasher is one of those appliances that you don’t realise just how much you value it until it breaks down on you. And, of course, it usually happens on a Bank Holiday when you are expecting guests. The most common issue is the dishwasher failing to drain properly.

Your dishwasher pump circulates water through the dishwasher, giving your dishes a shower. Connected to the pump are a water inlet and an outlet. If lots of food gets stuck in the dishwasher hose, it can block the drain, filter or pipe, which means that it won’t drain. This is the most likely cause of a blocked dishwasher. In some cases, it can be down to mechanical failure, in which case you may need a new part.

This week, we look at your first port of call: clearing out the filter and pump to make sure they are not blocked with debris. Next week, we will talk you through how to clear a blockage from your dishwasher’s waste hose.

  1. Before you start trying to fix the problem, you need to get rid of the water that is at the bottom of your dishwasher. Bail out using a plastic jug, cup or glass. When you just have a little bit of water left, you can get it by using a sponge or absorbent cloth. Once the water is clear, you can start the process of cleaning your dishwasher.
  2. Do you find that your plates come out covered in a film of grime? It is probably because the filter is dirty. At the bottom of your dishwasher you will see a basket and plate of wire mesh. These are the filters, and they make sure that the water coming into, and going out of, your dishwasher doesn’t contain big lumps of food, paper, glass etc. Remove the cylindrical filter; you may need to turn it anti-clockwise to release it before lifting it out.
  3. Give the basket a good wash with soap and water.
  4. Some dishwashers have a coarse filter, too. This is usually a perforated metal plate that the cylindrical filter sits in. Lift the course filter out and give it a good wash.
  5. The basket sits on top of the dishwasher sump. Put a pair of gloves on (just in case there is broken glass in the pump) and feel around in the hole for a small plastic knob. Pull it towards you and lift it out to reveal the sump. Carefully check for lumps such as food, bone or glass.
  6. Once your components are clean, replace them; the plastic sump plug first, followed by the coarse filter, then the cylindrical filter. Give the spray arms a spin to check everything moves as it should.
  7. Switch the power back on and run your machine on a short cycle. If the machine is still not fixed, you may need to call a plumber or a dishwasher repair specialist. Alternatively, you could check the drain hose; follow us on Facebook or Twitter to find out more.

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