Top reasons why your dishwasher is not working

Doing the dishes is annoying. Let us not sugar coat it.

Who would possibly want to hand wash the enormous pile of dishes in the sink after a long day of work? Obviously, no one.

Sure, cleaning your routine few dishes is not much of a hassle, but the truth is that most of us rely on our dishwashers to take care of the heavy-duty stuff. If your dishwasher is not working properly, you know you have a problem on your hands.

A regular dishwasher lasts between 7 to 12 years. According to the Huffington Post, however, approximately one in five dishwashers break within three to four years.

Replacements and repairs are not cheap. You would be lucky to get your repairs covered by your appliance's warranty.

Did you know that only 15% of consumers get their repair costs covered by the manufacturer's warranty?

A Consumer Reports survey confirmed the stats and noted that most customers still had to pay almost $150 in repair costs in addition to the warranty coverage.

Here is a thought: instead of spending the money on bills, why don’t you try to fix the issue yourself? Not only will DIY-ing it save you money, but it will prevent further damage to your appliance. 

We have jotted down some of the most common dishwasher related issues that you might encounter and how you can fix them yourself.

Let us get started.

Your dishes come out of the washer dirty

First of all, make sure that you are not at fault. Check yourself before you blame someone else, right?

Did you load the plates without scraping the food off it? Check to see if the machine is overloaded. There is also a possibility that a utensil might be getting in the way of the spray arm — tick all the boxes.

Often the problem is just an unclean dishwasher. Run a cycle on your washer on the hottest setting with some distilled white vinegar and nothing else. Once the cycle is completed, search for any debris in the tub and clean it. Remove any stains with the help of lemon juice and baking soda and run a short rinsing cycle for one final cleaning.

If you know that you are not the problem, look for issues in your dishwasher.

Inspect the dishwasher and look for anything that might be hindering the door gasket and strain screen, including debris, grease, etc.

Try spinning the bottom and top arms of your washer’s spray arms to ensure that they are not the culprits. If you notice that they are not spinning with ease or are covered in dirt or debris, clean them by removing the arms and gently cleaning them with a pipe cleaner or a toothbrush. A good tried and tested household cleaner is plain old vinegar.

Once you have cleaned and replaced them, try running your washer and check if the results improve.

Water spots can be quite annoying too. Water spots simply mean that the water is staying on your dishes for longer. Solve this problem with the help of simple rinse aid.

However, if you notice a white residue on your plates and glasses, it is most probably hard water. To soften your water, employ the use of a detergent or water softener. You are not supposed to use regular dish soap in your dishwasher anyway. Do not make this basic mistake while working with a dishwasher.

Your dishwasher is leaking

Leaking is never a good sign. Do not freak out.

The first thing you need to do is check your dishwater's door and door seal for any damage, cracks, obstruction, or debris that might be preventing the door from sealing completely.

Clean the door seal with disinfectant. If you see large cracks, we recommend replacing the gasket altogether.

If you are wondering where to look for replacement parts, be sure to check out Whirlpool’s dishwasher parts as they are tried and tested favorites.

Another reason why your dishwasher might be leaking is the float switch. The float switch of your dishwasher tells you about your washer’s water level. Often, the float switch is stuck in the downwards position, which causes your dishwasher to overfill and thus leak out on the floor.

If your float switch is stuck, we suggest cleaning it and removing anything that might be preventing it from working properly, including plastic, string, etc.

Your dishwasher is not drying the dishes

If drying is your issue, there is most probably a problem with your dishwasher's heating element. If your heating element is working fine, check your washer's thermostat.

Dishwashers typically come with a high-limit thermostat, which is a device that prevents the dishwasher from getting too hot. If your thermostat is faulty, it can cause the heat in your dishwasher to shut off before the dishes are completely dry.

Find your high-limit thermostat at the bottom of the dishwasher tub directly behind the access panel and check the device with the help of a multi-meter.

Your dishwasher smells weird

Nobody likes weird smells, especially any kind of nasty smell coming out of your dishwasher. Note that it is advisable to take care while loading your washer.

Plates and bowls go to the bottom, and other utensils, such as glasses, mugs, pans, and plastic, go on the top. Make sure they are facing down to prevent nesting.

Make sure to rinse the dishes beforehand to rid them of the leftover food and hence the unwanted odor.

The usual culprit behind this funky smell, however, is old, wet, and moldy food. To ensure that food is not the cause of the problem, inspect your dishwasher’s screen, which is located at the bottom of the washer. If you find your screen looking dirty and gross, you know you have found the problem. Clean it and see if the issue is resolved.

If you sense a chemical-like smell, it is likely that a piece of plastic, like Tupperware, may have melted on your washer's heating element.

Your dishwasher is not starting

Again, do not panic. First and foremost, check your dishwasher's power source. Inspect the fuse and make sure it is not blown. While you are at it, also make sure that the outlet it is connected to is also working properly.

If the fuse and outlet are okay, try your luck with the oldest trick in the book, i.e., unplugging the washer and plugging it back in.

The issue sometimes lies with the dishwasher’s door. If the dishwasher’s door is not closed properly, it might be preventing your washer from starting. Check it thoroughly to see the issues with the latch as well.

Often you can sense your washer trying to work, but there seems to be something that is hindering its functioning. In such cases, the culprit is a stuck motor.

Try to maneuver the fan motor by hand and see if that helps it move. Do not forget to turn off the power before you step near the main panel unless you have a death wish.

Parting Thoughts

A non-functional dishwasher can be quite stressful to deal with. If you are not experienced with handling appliances, we suggest handing over the task to someone with a better idea of how these things work.

If you have tried all of these tips out, and none of it seems to have worked, we recommend calling for professional help. Get the problem looked at immediately, so it does not progress into something bigger.

Use our guide to help you troubleshoot some everyday dishwasher related problems and fix them as well. After all, nobody likes to do the dishes.


Ashley RosaAuthor Bio:

About Ashley Rosa: Ashley Rosa is a freelance writer and blogger. As writing is her passion that why she loves to write articles related to the latest trends in technology and sometimes on health-tech as well.  She is crazy about chocolates. You can find her at twitter: @ashrosa2.



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