Skip to Content

Can You Put Drano In A Dishwasher?

Can You Put Drano In A Dishwasher?

It can be a hassle to buy different equipment for every single task. Recycling and multipurpose use are good ways of minimizing both the finances and resources.

You have to be careful though, because not every replacement or hack turns out to be beneficial.

For example, if you have a clogged dishwasher, you should not be using Drano. 

Drano cannot be used to clean or unclog a dishwasher, as the chemical reaction that will result from the substance will lead to a recipe for disaster for both your dishes and your dishwasher itself.

So please, do NOT use Drano in a dishwasher! 

A dishwasher has to be taken care of extensively in order to keep it up and running.

One blunder here and there and you’d have your dishwasher sitting there as a non-functional box.

You don’t have to worry anymore though because this guide has all your answers related to Drano and dishwashers. Let’s get straight into it.


Why Can’t Drano Be Used in a Dishwasher?

Drano might be your first choice to try and unclog or clean your dishwasher because it’s always found on your shelf. Drano’s chemical composition has a large amount of caustic soda that plays a vital role in unclogging your drain.

It reacts with water and the sodium hydroxide already present in Drano produces a large amount of heat. The bubbles you see when Drano is put in any sink are similar to the way water boils.

The chemical melts all your grime and breaks it into soluble particles which eventually pass easily through the drain.

This reaction, due to the heat involved, is not recommended for plastic pipes and also is the main reason for not using them in a dishwasher.

The insides of your dishwasher are not only made up of plastic but they also cannot endure so much chemical pressure.

Drano can also significantly impact the entire system of a dishwasher.

From the pumps to the pipes, if even one thing goes slightly off because of the chemical, the whole cycle of your machine will be majorly disturbed.

If even the slightest dregs of Drano remain in the machine, you’ll be at the risk of ingesting dangerous chemicals through your dishes.

But Will It Unclog the Dishwasher?

The pipes and drains in your dishwasher are quite different from the plumbing of your kitchen. Drano is good for unclogging kitchen or toilet drains but it won’t do much to your dishwasher.

The machine has several points where filters are installed to trap all the loose particles; Drano can significantly harm these filters and even if it doesn’t ruin your dishwasher, the chemicals are not enough to remove the dirt clusters.

The dishwasher pump will specifically be at stake if you decide to use Drano. It can ruin its working which will eventually impact your entire cycle.

If you feel like your dishwasher is clogged, just put some white vinegar in your next wash. 

Not only can it kill all the bacteria on your dishes, but it can also break down all the stuck particles.

You might want to run a plain water cycle right after this to avoid an acidic residue on your dishes.

If you’re skeptical, you can run a vinegar cycle in an empty dishwasher too.


Can Drano Ever Be Used in a Dishwasher?

If you need to fix your dishwasher immediately and only have Drano available, don’t panic. Desperate times call for desperate measures and you can resort to using Drano as the very last option.

It’s not a good idea and definitely not recommended, but using it in tiny amounts may unclog your dishwasher without harming it.

Before doing anything else though, put some Drano in your kitchen plumbing.

Most of the dirt gets accumulated in the main pipe connected to the dishwasher and if the problem is solved here, you don’t even need to bring Drano anywhere near your machine. 

If the problem still persists though, your best option would be to remove all the pipes and treat them separately with Drano.

Don’t go overboard with the chemical though because a little bit goes a long way.

Is There An Alternative to Drano?

There are many alternatives to unclogging your dishwasher without the use of any chemicals. The most common way is to disconnect the pipe which you can sense has a blockage. 

Poke the insides of the pipe with a piece of wire or anything pointy; this will help break down the blockage manually.

Keep repeating the process and regularly run some water through the pipe as well, so that the loose particles keep getting drained.

Another method which you can use is a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. All you have to do is pour equal parts of both into the dishwasher.

Make sure you remove the filters before putting them in because they might get more clogged after this. 

Both the ingredients react together and produce a similar bubbling reaction as Drano. Let it bubble and sit for at least half an hour and then run down the water a couple of times.

All the clogs in your dishwasher will be gone and you’ll have a squeaky clean machine!


What If the Dishwasher Doesn’t Drain?

If you have a cycle running and don’t see water leaving the machine, chances are that your machine is clogged.

Don’t panic. Before proceeding with anything else, remove the dishes that were already in there.

If the cycle had just begun, your dishes will likely have a soapy residue so you might want to rinse them manually to avoid the soap sticking to the dishes.

Once the dishes are taken care of, head over to the dishwasher and observe the bottom, where there’s a filter.

You’re likely to see it full of muck and food particles. Open it up and get rid of all the residues. 

Place the lid back into place and run a cycle without dishes. Once you notice the drainage becomes smooth, toss the dishes back in and use your machine as normal.

This practice should also become a habit so that future blockages can be avoided.

If the above method doesn’t work, you can also try the garbage disposal if you have one. Check if you have that as an extension to your dishwasher.

If you do, then cleaning it will most probably resolve the drainage issue in your dishwasher as well. Make sure you have your dishwasher running while doing this so that the water is drained without any obstruction.

Air gaps can also sometimes be the cause of your dishwasher blockage.

Check if it’s present at the back of your sink and if it is, get down to cleaning it manually.

Remove its cap and poke with a pointed thing so that all the dirt is broken down.

Once you’re sure that the passage is clear, put the cap back on and run the rinse cycle in your dishwasher to test the flow.

Final Word on Using Drano in a Dishwasher

There’s no harm in using hacks and tricks but if you see someone recommending Drano for dishwashers, walk right away.

What seems like a harmless way of unclogging pipes and drains can significantly damage your machine.

If you want your dishwasher to last you a lifetime, make sure you use alternative methods and leave Drano for sinks and toilets. 

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.