How to Unclog a Frigidaire Dishwasher?

Frigidaire dishwashers are great machines for everyday use and are very popular in the US. They are touted as reliable, durable, and affordable.

Just like all the other dishwashers, a Frigidaire dishwasher also develops problems overtime. The most common issues reported by users are clogging and dishwasher won’t drain properly.

It may look like a complex problem, but if you adopt a systematic approach, you would probably solve the problem independently. Most drainage and clogging problems don’t require a technical inspection, but it becomes unavoidable in some cases and for repairs that you can’t handle yourself.

This article will discuss all the steps you will need to perform to unclog your Frigidaire dishwasher and fix the Frigidaire dishwasher not cleaning problem by yourself.

Check best models of Frigidaire dishwashers:

How to Unclog a Frigidaire Dishwasher?

We recommend you go through all the steps before starting the unclogging process and keep the user manual handy all the time. Please note that this is a generic guide for all Frigidaire dishwashers. The exact details and location of parts may vary slightly from one model to another.

Phase 1: The First and Easy Fix

Step 1: Drain the Standing Water

Step 1 Drain the Standing Water

Make sure you turn off the machine and unplug it. If you turn off the breaker from the circuit panel, it will switch off the lights and other appliances on that circuit.

The first thing to do is drain the water at the bottom of your dishwasher. You can use a cup or suction pipe/suction pump to remove water from your dishwasher. Please use a bucket for collecting water and line the front of your dishwasher before removing the water as you don’t want a wet kitchen.

You can also use a shop vacuum for faster results. However, you don’t specifically need to buy a shop vacuum to drain the water from a dishwasher.

Step 2: Remove the Spinning arm

Step 2 Remove the Spinning arm

The next step is to remove the spinning arm from the machine. Frigidaire dishwashers are slightly different than other dishwashers. You cannot remove its filter unless you remove the spinning arm.

Remove the spinning arm by prying the two clips at its bottom with a screwdriver or unhook one of them with your hand, and the spinning arm will come out.

Keep the spinning arm aside. You will need to clean the showerheads on these arms to remove any debris or food particles. Cleaning these arms will improve the water pressure and enhance the cleaning ability of your machine. Use a flexible wire to remove any stuck particles from the showerheads. Be careful here, as you don’t want to push these particles further inside.

Step 3: Remove and clean the Water Filter

Step 3 Remove the Water Filter

The next step is to remove the water filter from the machine. Frigidaire’s water filter is easy to remove. Once the spray arm is out of the way, you will see a tab holding the water filter. The tab is at 3-o-clock piston when it is locked. Move the tab to the 6-o-clock position to unhinge it. Pull it up gently.

You will see loads of debris and food particles underneath the filter. Place this filter in a bowl of white vinegar for 10-20 minutes and then wash with warm soapy water. Use an old toothbrush to remove the debris from the filter. The debris stops water from draining. Once the filter is cleaned, keep it aside with spray arms.

Step 4: Remove the Small Basket Screen

Step 4 Remove the Basket Screen

Remove the small basket screen below the water filter. Make sure you notice its position while removing it. Take a picture before removing it, as it will make it easier to put it back. Use technology, make your life easy.

Clean the basket screen in the same way you cleaned the water filter.

Step 5: Remove the Large Screen

Step 5 Remove the Large Screen

Now remove the large circular screen underneath the small basket screen and siphon out the water underneath it.

Step 6: Remove the Screws below the Large Screen

Step 6 Remove the Screws below the Large Screen

Remove the three screws below the large screen. You will need a Phillips head screwdriver to do this. Be careful while doing this, as you don’t want to lose the screws in the process. Notice the ball valve but don’t remove it. Feel around the revealed area to ensure that there is no more debris stuck there.

Step 7: Testing

Put back everything in the similar way you removed them. Make sure that every component is clean and free from debris. Run your dishwasher on a short rinse cycle and see if the problem has been fixed.

Common question: Can You Put Drano In a Dishwasher? Check out its answer by clicking here.

If yes, pat yourself on the back.

If not, don’t worry. The next phase will probably unclog your Frigidaire dishwasher and fix the drainage problem.

Phase 2: Let’s move a step further

Step 1: Take out the Spray Arm and Filter

Begin by removing the spray arm, filter, screen, screws, and siphon off the water.

Step 2: Mix baking Soda in Tap Water

Add 4-5 spoons of baking soda in a glass jar and add tap water. Stir it to form a uniform mixture.

Step 3: Vinegar and Boiling Water

You will need 1 cup of vinegar for this phase. Boil some water on the stove or kettle. Do not heat the mixture in the microwave oven or warm it on the stove. You must keep the boil water separate.

Step 4: Add Baking Soda, Vinegar, and Boiling Water in Dishwasher

Step 4 Add Baking Soda, Vinegar and Boiling Water in Dishwasher

Pour baking soda in your dishwasher’s bottom, and then add 1 cup of white vinegar. Add boiling water after pouring vinegar.

This technique is commonly used for cleaning dishwashers and must be a part of your monthly appliance maintenance regime. Let the contents sit for 20-30 minutes.

Step 5: Test Again

It is time to test your dishwasher again one more time. Set it on the rinse cycle and see the results.

If the dishwasher is unclogged and the drainage system is working alright, great.

If not, don’t worry; the next phase of the process will surely get things done for you.

Phase 3: A bit of Technical Working

Up till now, we were just dealing with easy fixes that every homeowner can take care of. The next phase is still easy but involves interacting with different dishwasher components. Let’s see what we can do here.

Step 1: Drain Hose Inspection

Step 1 Drain Hose Inspection

Underneath the sink is the drain hose. You have to inspect it for clogging, kinks, and bends to ensure that it allows drain water to pass through. Open the cabinet adjacent to your dishwasher. You will notice a pipe coming out from the dishwasher and going towards the sink.

Move your hand over it gently to check for any kinks and bends. If there are no kinks, move to the clamp holding it. Unscrew the nut holding the bracket. You will need a flat head screwdriver to remove the bracket.

Step 2: Unhook the Drain Hose

Step 2 Unhook the Drain Hose

Remove the rubber piece that connects the drain hose with the sink’s plumbing system. Use a wire hanger, steel wire brush, or pipe cleaner to check any blocking in the pipe. When you insert the instrument in the pipe, you may feel some hardness, indicating a clog in the system that is causing drainage problems. Brush the area real good if you notice any blockings. It can be hard water buildup or soap buildup causing troubles.

Step 3: Add some Vinegar

Step 3 Add some Vinegar

Add some vinegar to the hole where you inserted the cleaning instrument. Vinegar will soften the clogs and help dissolve the frozen particles in there.

Step 4: Put everything Back and Test

Put everything back and run a rinse cycle. We hope that your problem will have been solved by now.

Other Reasons Behind your Frigidaire Dishwasher not Draining

Incomplete Wash Cycle

Frigidaire dishwashers often create drainage problems due to an incomplete wash cycle. If your dishwasher isn’t completing the wash cycle frequently, it is likely due to some sensor problem or panel issues. A random instance of incomplete wash cycles can be sorted out by resting the machine. You can reset your Frigidaire dishwasher by holding the start/stop button for 3-5 seconds.

Detergent Problems

Check your machine’s manual to see which detergent is recommended and how much detergent you should use in your machine. Excessive detergent can block the draining system and clog the filter. Moreover, you must use detergents according to the water at your home. Use hard water detergents with hard water and reduce the amount of detergent if you have soft water.

Blocked Air Gap

Blocked Air Gap

Air gap prevents dirty water from going back to your dishwasher. Make sure that it is not clogged. You can check the air gap by removing the cover on top of it. Remove any debris with your hand or towel. Pour some water over it to check if the water is flowing freely.

To read more about air gap, click here.

Garbage Disposal Problems

A recently installed garbage disposal is often the culprit behind your dishwasher not draining. Make sure that no valve is closed.

Blocked Sink Drain

A blocked sink drain can lead to the dishwasher not draining. Check if your sink’s drain is working properly. If it has some blocking, add an eco-friendly drain cleaner to get rid of blocked pipes.

Technical Causes behind a Clogged Frigidaire Dishwasher

Faulty Drain Impeller

The drain impeller pushes water through the drain hose in a Frigidaire dishwasher. The drain impeller may go bad after some time. You will need to replace it.

Defective Drain Pump

The drain pump uses an impeller to force the water into the drain pipe. It has a motor that can go bad. You can’t check this motor on your own unless you have a millimeter and know-how such things work. An average homeowner must call a professional to sort out such issues.

Damaged Drain Solenoid Kit

It is responsible for opening the drain valve to let water exit the dishwasher and stop it from coming back. Solenoids can go bad after a couple of years. The only solution is to replace the kit.

Damaged Drain Valve

Drain valve can also cause dishwasher clogging. Replacing the drain valve sorts out the issue and keeps your dishwasher in mint condition.

Final Words

One should start with easy fixes as it can save you a lot of time and money. However, if you are forced to call a technician, make sure that you call a licensed one and always use original parts from Frigidaire to avoid voiding your machine’s warranty.


  • Stephen Powers

    Appliance repair guy from Washington. I am majorly experienced in dishwashers, water filters and refrigerators, AMA on my twitter account.

1 thought on “How to Unclog a Frigidaire Dishwasher?”

  1. Exciting read! One of the most common causes of dishwasher leakage is a faulty solenoid valve. Leaks that fill the washer when it is not running, filling relatively slowly when it is in use, or the washer not filling at all are all indications of an inlet valve problem. In addition, leaks outside the appliance can signal an inlet valve issue, which must be fixed quickly.


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