So here it is 2 years later from the first time our dishwasher backed up and I was forced to do a major de-gunking in order to get it running back up to speed.
That was then, this is now…
Today, when I glanced at that basket in the back of our dishwasher, I noticed lots of “black gunk” had built up underneath the basket itself.
There was so much blackness in there, that you could actually tell from a distance that there was some serious build-up going on in there. No water backing up this time, just lots of slimy black gunk.
Here’s what I did. (Much the same as last time, with 2 new steps…)
Dishwasher Repair… Take 2!
I decided to get a jump on it before the dishwasher backed up again like before.
So I armed myself with all of the necessary dishwasher de-gunking materials:
- a 1/4-inch wrench (to unscrew those 2 long screws that hold the dishwasher basket in place)
- a flashlight (to visually confirm that, upon closer inspection, yes there was some serious black gunk building up underneath that dishwasher basket.)
- lots of paper towels (to quickly wipe up most of the mess & toss right into the trash)
- a soft cloth, wet (to leave the dishwasher in pristine clean condition after removing all the gunk)
- a turkey baster (to siphon out some of the water that had accumulated up to the rim of the basket/flapper; there wasn’t water on the tub floor this time)
- a mirror (to see way in the back and make sure that I’d removed all of the gunk)
After I removed the basket from the back of the dishwasher, I cleaned out all the gunk. (I’m telling you, this is some thick and slimy stuff!) Then, I put the basket back in place using the steps that I outlined here.
Here’s are the before and after photos:
2 New Steps In The Dishwasher Cleaning Process
By the looks of things, I’m guessing I’ll have to do this every 2 years or so from here on.
But this time I’m taking a few extra precautions: 4 Tips For Keeping Your Dishwasher Running Smoothly For Years.
The two that I plan to do regularly from now on are:
#1 Each time, before running the dishwasher, run cold water through the disposal for 30 seconds first — to prevent food and debris that’s in your garbage disposal from getting sucked into your dishwasher’s drain line and clogging it.
#2 Fill the detergent and the drying-agent dispensers with white vinegar. Then, run the dishwasher empty on the pots-and-pans cycle — this keeps the drain lines clean and free-flowing, as vinegar is a great de-gunking cleaner.
TIP: Some recommend pouring an entire gallon of vinegar into the bottom of your dishwasher and letting it sit for 1 hour. This will loosen the most stubborn scum and gunk that has settled in. Then, run the dishwasher on a short cycle with no detergent.
To Keep Your Dishwasher From Backing Up…
I would strongly recommend that you keep a step ahead of your dishwasher on the de-gunking process. I mean, it’s 2 or 3 times the effort (plus, much smellier and messier), if you wait until the water has actually backed up in your dishwasher and wreaks havoc on your floor!
Take a look at the first photo in this article again… see, you can barely tell there’s anything wrong. Yet, look at the next picture which shows all of the black slime and food stuck to the underside of the basket. It was also lining the entire tub of the dishwasher under the basket. Ugh!
UPDATE – A tip from The Family Handyman:
When your dishwasher no longer gets your dishes clean, a food-filled filter is most often to blame. If it’s clogged, water can’t make it to the spray arms to clean the dishes in the top rack. The fix takes 2 minutes. Simply pull out the lower rack and remove the filter cover inside the dishwasher. Then, use a wet vacuum to clean off the screen. While you’re there, slide the nearby float switch up and down. If it’s jammed with mac and cheese, you won’t get any water. If the cover sticks, jiggle it up and down and clean it with water.
I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).