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.


Please Leave a Comment

3 Comments on “How to Clean Dishwasher Spray Arms”

You can follow comments to this article by subscribing to the RSS news feed with your favorite feed reader.

  • 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?

We want to hear from you! In addition to posting comments on articles and videos, you can also send your comments and questions to us on our contact page or at (800) 946-4420. While we can't answer them all, we may use your question on our Today's Homeowner radio or TV show, or online at

How to Clean Dishwasher Spray Arms