Simple Solutions

How to Clean Dishwasher Spray Arms

By: Joe Truini
Using wire from a coat hanger to clean the holes on dishwasher spray arm.

Using wire from a coat hanger to clean the holes on dishwasher spray arm.

If your dishwasher isn’t cleaning as well as it used to, the problem might be caused by clogged holes in the spray arms.

To unclog dishwasher spray arm holes:

  1. Remove the spray arms from the dishwasher.
  2. Use a piece of wire, such as coat hanger wire, the same diameter as the holes to clean out the holes in the spray arms.
  3. Put the arms back on the dishwasher and spin them to make sure they turn easily.
  4. In extreme cases, soak the spray arms in warm water and vinegar to dissolve mineral deposits.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Print   Video Transcript

Joe Truini: If your dishwasher’s not cleaning your dishes as well as it used to, you might be able to solve the problem with a length of wire. This I cut from a clothes hanger, and you can use it to clear out the spray arm.

You notice the bottom of the dishwasher has a spray arm that has holes that shoot out water. And they often get plugged up with food or hard water deposits—mineral deposits.

So to clean it, you can use the wire to poke out the holes. And you do it while it’s in place, but it’s easier to disconnect the spray arm and pull it out. Most dishwashers have a simple locking knob on the bottom.

Then you use the wire to clear out the hole. Poke the wire all the way to the bottom. Make sure you clear out any food deposits or any other obstructions.

Now, if it’s really plugged up, you also take it and soak it in a tub of warm water with a little bit of vinegar. That’ll help dissolve any deposits that are in there.

Now, once it’s clear, you just put it back in place, lock it on to make sure it’s locked good and securely. And this is really important, once it’s on place, spin it. Make sure that it spins freely. If not, you’re going to have another problem.

And once you clean that one, then clean the other spray arm at the top, and your dishwasher will be working as good as new.


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9 Comments on “How to Clean Dishwasher Spray Arms”

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  • Bruzote Says:
    June 19th, 2019 at 11:02 pm

    I think the dissolving packets that hold the detergent are leaving bits of memrane in the sprayer.

  • Frank Says:
    September 19th, 2018 at 10:04 am

    There is a filter at the pump that is out of position or damaged that is allowing small stuff thru.

  • Alice Says:
    July 26th, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    I had lots of food, plastic even a sticker from bananas in my top rack sprayer. It took an hour of rinsing, poking, tapping, tweezers and poking some more with a small small eye glass screwdriver to get it all out. Using one of those flossing brushes is a really good idea!

  • Andy Lawrence Says:
    June 14th, 2018 at 6:03 pm I need to know how to transfer the spray arm to a new rack

  • BW Says:
    May 26th, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    To absolutely clean them I found the following solution. It is labour intensive.

    1) Remove arms etc. (the dishwasher’s, not your own)
    2) Rinse with water and pull out larger pieces of food / minerals.
    3) Take each end of the dishwasher arms in turn and do the following:
    i – Shake vigourously and repeatedly to push deposits to the end of each limb.
    ii – Use a pin to carefully draw out deposits. You may need to push them down from a middle hole to draw them out of the holes at the extremes.
    iii – when the holes look clear, shake again to force more food to the ends and repeat.
    iv – Keep going until no more deposits appear when shaken.

    It sucks, but it works.

  • Laurie Says:
    April 28th, 2018 at 1:00 am

    This does not work, even with tweezers. I can see the food particles in there, but they are a little bigger than the holes, and pushing them in with an instrument just moves them around inside. As soon as water flows through again, they go back to plug the holes. Soaking does not dissolve them.

  • Jim Shoe Says:
    February 8th, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    I tried cleaning spray arms as suggested only to find that what clogged the holes reclogged them again or moved to a different hole{s}. Now what can be done to get the clogs out completely?

  • Papa Says:
    May 1st, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Just what is rubber teeth cleaner??

  • tom Says:
    December 10th, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Sprayer holes clogged with rubber teeth cleaner. Is there a way of getting that out?

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How to Clean Dishwasher Spray Arms