Dishwasher Making Loud Grinding Noise During Wash Cycle

My dishwasher has been making loud grinding noises during the wash cycle. It cleans the dishes fine but the noise has me concerned. It seems to only make the grinding and vibrating noise when the wash cycle starts up and then every so often it will make the loud noise again. Can you tell me some DIY repair advice on what I can check myself? Also, it is a Whirlpool brand dishwasher that is about 5 years old. It is in good condition and we run a wash cycle with the machine empty with vinegar every month. We are on a budget and cannot call a repairman right now. Hope you can help!


A dishwasher that makes a loud grinding noise is a very common issue. Whether the dishwasher is brand new or many years old, there are common reasons this will happen. An older dishwasher making noises can be a few different things. Normally, when a dishwasher makes strange loud noises, it is because a piece of hard food or something that was being cleaned broke and fell into the bottom of the dishwasher. Many times the foreign object has lodged itself inside of the gears or pump of the dishwasher.

You can avoid calling a repairman by taking the dishwasher apart and try to find the object that is causing the loud grinding or vibrating noise. No matter what brand of dishwasher you may have (Bosch, GE, Whirlpool, Frigidaire, KitchenAid, Maytag, Kenmore, and LG) this is a standard method of taking apart almost any dishwasher.

how-to-disassemble-a-dishwasherUse this dishwasher disassemble schematic to guide you when taking your dishwasher apart.

The first thing you must do is look under the sink and find the power cord for the dishwasher and UNPLUG it from the outlet. Then remove the top and bottom racks (assuming it is not filled with dishes) to make it easy to access the bottom of the dishwasher. Next, you will need to remove the lower spray arm assembly at the bottom of the washer. This is usually removed by unscrewing a screw that holds it in place. The screw may be a reverse thread screw, so you may need to turn it clockwise instead of counter clockwise. If you are unable to remove it Google “How to remove the lower spray arm on my model X dishwasher”. Once you have that removed, take a look in the bottom to see if there may be anything that could be causing the noise. If not, continue removing the parts underneath to get to the very bottom of the dishwasher.

lower rackThis is the lower spray arm of the dishwasher that needs to be removed first.

The next piece you will need to remove is the dishwasher screen. The dishwasher screen is located right underneath the lower spray arm. To remove this you may need a set of Torx screwdrivers as it may have torx screws holding in place. Once removed check that there are no visible debris that could be causing the noise. This is a good time to clean the screen/filter with soap and water to remove any food grease and grime. NOTE: There may be other parts on top of this that may need to be removed. This will depend on your specific dishwasher brand. If you still have not found any debris that may have been causing the noise, continue removing in the next step below.

remove screenThe part under the spray arm is the screen or filter which needs to also be removed.

Next (depending on your dishwasher brand) you will need to remove the pump housing cap. This is a plastic piece that covers all the other things inside the dishwasher. The pump housing covers things such as the food disposer blade that will sometimes have big chunks of food or debris in it. This is a common cause for a noisy dishwasher. The pump housing will usually have 2 screws in it that need to be removed. Once you have this removed, check and make sure you see no debris that may be the root cause of the noise. If there are debris such as food and pieces of plates, cups, etc, remove the objects and put the dishwasher back together. If nothing is found then continue to remove items by reading more below.

debris stuck in food bladeOnce parts are removed, you will be at the bottom of the dishwasher where most debris go.
Clean everything out thoroughly and put everything back together and test the dishwasher.

The next would be the upper impeller. This is normally held in place by a bolt or screw. Remove this and the food grinder plate should be visible. This is pretty much the bottom of the dishwasher. If you find broken pieces of plates, cups, toothpicks, food, screws, washers, etc… then this is most likely the cause of the noise. Remove all the foreign objects and put the dishwasher back together reversing the way you took it apart.

The above is the most common reason for a noisy dishwasher.
Here are a few other parts of your dishwasher that could go bad to cause a loud noise…

Wash Impeller
The motor spins the wash impeller pushing water through the dishwasher spray arm(s). If the blades have broken off of the impeller or chaffing the sides, the dishwasher will be super loud.

Circulation Pump
If the noise is a continuous drone type of sound, it may be that the circulation pump motor bearings are bad.

Drain Impeller
The drain impeller might be broken or cracked.

Motor and Pump Assembly
The motor bearings, drain impeller and or wash impeller may have become worn out.

Drain Pump
The drain pump could be bad or might have some debris in it.

Here is a sound clip of a dishwasher that has debris in it causing a loud grinding noise. This particular noisy dishwasher had 3 small flat metal washers in it which was causing the loud noise. They followed our procedure above and was able to remove them and fix the problem without calling a repair person!


If you still need help, assistance, or answers to fix your Dishwasher Making Grinding Noise problem, ask the
experts over at Appliance Repair Questions for free answers to fix your broken appliance!

ALLEN VETTER - DIY Repair Assistant
Allen is a Home Maintenance/Appliance tech and the author/creator of this website. He has 30 years of experience troubleshooting and repairing all types of machinery. Contact here

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