How Do I Winterize My Dishwasher If I Am Leaving The Home For An Extended Period?

If you’re planning to leave your home for an extended period during the winter months, you might be wondering about the best way to protect your dishwasher from potential damage. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll walk you through some simple steps to winterize your dishwasher and ensure it’s in tip-top shape when you return. So, whether you’re heading off on a long vacation or simply escaping the cold for a few weeks, read on to learn how to keep your dishwasher safe and sound during your absence.

Preparing the Dishwasher

Clean the dishwasher

Before winterizing your dishwasher, it’s essential to start with a clean slate. Remove any leftover food particles or debris from the interior. You can use a mild dishwasher cleaner or simply run a cleaning cycle with a dishwasher-safe cleaner.

Remove all dishes and accessories

Take out all the dishes, utensils, and accessories from your dishwasher. Make sure there’s nothing left inside that could potentially cause mold or attract pests during your absence. Thoroughly empty and clean the racks as well.

Check for any leaks or damage

Inspect your dishwasher for any signs of leaks or damage. Look for cracks, loose connections, or any other issues that might require repair. It’s better to address any problems now rather than discovering them when you return.

Inspect and clean the filters

The dishwasher filters play a crucial role in preventing debris from clogging the drainage system. Remove the filters and clean them thoroughly. Rinse them under running water to remove any accumulated food particles or debris. Reinstall them once they are completely dry.

Draining the Dishwasher

Turn off the power

Before beginning the draining process, ensure that your dishwasher is switched off. Locate the power button or switch and turn it off to avoid any accidents or electrical issues while working on the appliance.

Locate the water supply valve

The water supply valve is usually located under your kitchen sink or near the dishwasher. Familiarize yourself with its location before proceeding. This valve allows you to control the water flow to your dishwasher.

Turn off the water supply

Once you’ve located the water supply valve, turn it off to stop the flow of water into your dishwasher. This step is crucial to prevent any water from entering the appliance during the winter months.

Disconnect the water supply hose

After turning off the water supply, you’ll need to disconnect the water supply hose from the dishwasher. Carefully unscrew the hose connection and detach it from the dishwasher. This ensures that there will be no residual water in the hoses while your home is vacant.

Drain the remaining water

To completely drain the remaining water in your dishwasher, open the door and let it sit for a few minutes. This will allow any excess water to flow down into the dishwasher’s drainage system. Once you’re certain the dishwasher is empty, close the door securely.

Protecting the Dishwasher

Add antifreeze to the dishwasher

To further protect your dishwasher from freezing temperatures, consider adding antifreeze. Check with your dishwasher’s manufacturer for their recommended antifreeze solution. Follow the instructions provided and pour the appropriate amount of antifreeze into the dishwasher.

Use a dishwasher cover or plastic wrap

Covering your dishwasher with a dishwasher-specific cover or plastic wrap adds an extra layer of protection against dust, debris, and potential damage. Ensure that the cover or plastic wrap fits snugly over the appliance.

Tape the door shut

To prevent the door from accidentally opening during your absence, use tape to secure it shut. This will help maintain the dishwasher’s integrity and prevent any unwanted pests from entering.

Protect the exterior

If your dishwasher is located in an area where it could be exposed to extreme temperatures, consider insulating the exterior. Use foam insulation or another suitable material to wrap around the dishwasher, providing an additional layer of protection against the cold.

Consider disconnecting the power

If you’re willing to take an extra precaution, consider disconnecting the power to your dishwasher. This reduces the risk of any electrical issues or power surges while you’re away.

Preventing Odor and Mildew

Clean and dry the interior thoroughly

Before leaving, it’s crucial to clean and dry the interior of your dishwasher. Remove any potential sources of odor or mildew by wiping down the walls, racks, and door seals with a damp cloth. Allow everything to air-dry completely.

Leave the door slightly open

To promote air circulation and prevent any lingering moisture, leave the dishwasher door slightly open. This helps prevent the growth of mold or mildew inside the appliance while you’re away.

Place an odor absorber inside

To combat any potential odor, consider placing an odor absorber inside the dishwasher. There are various options available, such as commercial odor absorbers or natural alternatives like baking soda or charcoal.

Consider using vinegar or baking soda

For an extra cleaning boost, consider running a cycle with vinegar or baking soda before leaving. Both vinegar and baking soda are effective at removing odors and residue, leaving your dishwasher fresh and odor-free.

Taking Safety Measures

Turn off the water heater

To prevent unnecessary energy consumption and potential hazards, turn off your water heater before leaving for an extended period. This not only saves energy but also reduces the risk of any malfunctions or leaks while you’re away.

Shut off the water main

To safeguard your home against any potential water leaks, it’s advisable to shut off the main water supply. This ensures that no water flows into your plumbing system, reducing the risk of water-related accidents or damage.

Consider shutting off the dishwasher

While not mandatory, consider shutting off the power to your dishwasher completely. This adds an extra layer of safety and prevents any unexpected electrical issues or malfunctions while you’re away.

Unplug other appliances

To minimize energy usage and eliminate any potential fire hazards, unplug other appliances in your kitchen. This includes small appliances like the toaster, coffee maker, and microwave. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to leaving your home unattended.

Securing the Home

Lock all doors and windows

Before leaving your home, make sure all doors and windows are securely locked. This is a simple yet effective way to deter intruders and ensure the safety of your property.

Set the security system

If you have a security system installed, activate it before leaving. Ensure that all sensors are working correctly and that you have notified the security company of your absence.

Notify a trusted neighbor or friend

It’s always a good idea to inform a trusted neighbor or friend that you’ll be away. They can keep an eye on your property, collect mail or packages, and alert you or the authorities in case of any emergencies.

Arrange for mail/package collection

If you’ll be away for an extended period, consider arranging for someone to collect your mail or packages. Piled-up mail is a clear indication that nobody is home, making your property more vulnerable to potential burglaries.

Returning Home

Remove the dishwasher cover or plastic wrap

Upon your return, remove the dishwasher cover or plastic wrap carefully. Dispose of it properly and ensure that no debris or insects have made their way into the appliance during your absence.

Reconnect the water supply hose

Reconnect the water supply hose to the dishwasher, ensuring a tight and secure connection. Double-check for any signs of leakage before proceeding.

Turn on the water supply

Turn the water supply valve back on to allow water to flow into the dishwasher. Listen and observe for any leaks before running the appliance.

Check for any leaks or damage

Once your dishwasher is back in operation, carefully inspect it for any signs of leaks or damage. Look for water puddles, unusual sounds, or any other indications that may require repair.

Run a cleaning cycle before using

Before using your dishwasher for the first time after your return, run a cleaning cycle. This helps remove any remaining residue or odors that may have developed during your absence. Follow your dishwasher’s manufacturer instructions for the cleaning cycle.

Additional Tips

Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions

To ensure that you’re properly winterizing your specific dishwasher model, always consult the manufacturer’s instructions. They may have additional guidelines or recommendations tailored to your appliance.

Consider professional help

If you’re unsure about any of the steps involved in winterizing your dishwasher, consider seeking professional help. A qualified technician can guide you through the process and address any concerns you may have.

Keep a record of the process

It’s a good practice to keep a record of the winterizing process and any maintenance or repairs performed on your dishwasher. This documentation can be helpful for future reference or if you encounter any issues with your appliance.

Prepare in advance

To avoid any last-minute rush or potential oversights, start preparing your dishwasher for winter well in advance. This gives you ample time to gather necessary supplies, schedule professional assistance if needed, and ensure a smooth winterization process.


Winterizing your dishwasher is an essential step in protecting it during extended periods of home absence. By following the outlined steps, you can safeguard your appliance from potential damage caused by freezing temperatures or neglect. Taking necessary safety measures and securing your home before leaving gives you peace of mind and ensures a worry-free return. Remember to consult your dishwasher manufacturer’s guidelines, consider professional assistance if needed, and keep track of the process. With proper winterizing techniques, your dishwasher will be ready to serve you again when you return home.