5 Common Dishwasher Problems – Tips and Tricks To Fix

Dishwasher not working properly? Here are 5 easy ways to fix your dishwasher. Dishwashers have made our lives very easy. However, technology was meant to make our lives even better. But this often this is not the case. As a result, we are faced with challenges and problems from our digital dishwashers that may need repair. Below we cover 5 basic issues that may be affecting your dishwasher. Read below for all 5 tips to help fix these common dishwasher issues.

5 Common Dishwasher Problems - Tips and Tricks To Fix5 Common Dishwasher Problems – Tips To Fix

1. Dishwasher Does Not Work

Your dishwasher is not turning on. This is more common with much older models on their last leg, if your dishwasher is relatively new yet still does not work, here are some simple checks you can make:

Make sure your dishwasher is receiving power. Be sure it is plugged in, but also check the breaker. You can also plug the dishwasher into another outlet that you know is getting power.

Make sure the door is closed tight, utilizing your latch.
Often times, if a dishwasher door is loose or not properly latched shut, your washer may outright not work.
To make sure it’s not a faulty latch or door, close and latch the door shut, but keep hold of the latch tightly — it may be best to have someone help with this step — while holding the latch, turn the dishwasher on.
If it operates, you’ve found your problem: a faulty latch.

Is your hot water working? Some dishwashers will not function unless the temperature is hot enough for washing. Check the hot water in your sink, and make sure it works. Many dishwashers require your water to be at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit to work as designed.

Inside a dishwasher - Parts and LocationsInside a dishwasher – Parts and Locations


Dishwasher Won’t Start — Dishwasher Troubleshooting



2. Water Is Leaking Through The Dishwasher Door

If you are finding a small pool of water building up around your unit because of a leaking dishwasher door, you might want to replace your door gasket.
(The gasket is the rubber/vinyl strip inside the door frame is specifically meant to keep water within the unit.)

Open the door and take look at your gasket. You might find that it has become worn over the years.
Tears, stuck foreign matter, and any subsequent damage will no longer allow it to act as a tight seal.
If this is the case, any nearby home improvement store or online should provide a new gasket for your specified unit.

Make sure the door gasket is smooth around your door frame, leaving no bulges or spaces, and properly screw on your gasket. Proceed to run a test cycle for a follow up check.


Dishwasher door gasketsDishwasher door gaskets


Top 5 Reasons Dishwasher Leaks — Dishwasher Troubleshooting



3. Dishes Not Drying Properly

Rinse aid is a common solution, but when it continues to be a problem, consider your unit’s heating element may not be functioning.

(Your unit will not dry your dishes properly if your heating element is not working and sometimes this can cause white residue)

The heating element looks different for a variety of machines, but generally speaking, it will be round or sometimes the shape of a “W” or a ‘U” on newer dishwasher models. It may even look similar to the heating element in your oven. In some cases, it even resembles a heating plate.
It is located near the bottom of your dishwasher.

First, disconnect your dishwasher from power and inspect your heating element.
You will want to look out for any discolored or darkened areas, which would indicate that your element has burnt out.
If it looks fine on the surface, move on to the next step.

With power disconnected, remove your front dishwasher washer panel and inspect the terminals and connectors underneath for similar issues, something that is loose, or corrosion.
(It is recommended to read your service manual before removing the front panel)

If you find any of these problems with your heating element, it will likely have to be replaced, and if this is the case, they can be found online below.

Dishwasher heating elementsDishwasher heating elements


Top Reasons Dishwasher Not Drying — Dishwasher Troubleshooting



4. Dishwasher Has Water In Bottom Of Unit

This is usually because your dishwasher drain hose is laying flat under the sink.

Raise the dishwasher drain hose with a twisty-tie or zip-tie to be as high as possible.
This is because your dishwasher drain hose may be letting the water back into the dishwasher.
The dishwasher pump pumps the water out of the dishwasher but the water can flow backwards after the pump has stopped running into the dishwasher if the hose is not mounted higher up as gravity lets the water flow back into the dishwasher. This is called a High Drain Loop.

Top 5 Reasons Dishwasher Leaks — Dishwasher Troubleshooting



5. Dishwasher Is Emitting A Bad Smell

No one wants an unpleasant smelling home. Here are some practical tips that you can use to keep your dishwasher smelling fresh, while it keeps your cups and plates looking pristine.

Consider changing or cleaning the drain filter:

Maybe the number one culprit in smelly washers, your filter accumulates food over time that, when not cleaned regularly, will rot and cause problems.
Keep your filter clean, or if it’s been a while, head to your local home improvement store or online for a new one.

Take a look at the door gasket:

Make sure to wipe it down using a solution made of hot water, and vinegar.
Food particles can build up over time on older gaskets, and keeping them clean will help free you of unpleasant odors.

Clean your garbage disposal:

Garbage disposals drain hoses are connected to your dishwasher.
Excess food waste can wash back into the hose, leaving debris to sit there and rot.
Simply remove power to your disposal and remove the hose.
Use a thick wire covered in a damp cloth to wipe down the inside should do the trick.

How to Replace a Smelly Dishwasher Drain Hose


Bottom of most modern dishwashers - Parts and LocationsBottom of most modern dishwashers – Part Names and Locations


If you’d like more DIY tips, or help with fixing your dishwasher, please contact us today using the form below for professional advice.

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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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Vladimir Stankevich February 24, 2019 at 1:47 am

My frigidaire gallery dishwasher displayed 99+ washing. Switching on quick clean did not working.


2 Knut Langballe January 15, 2019 at 2:40 pm

My AEG Favorit 80860 U dishwasher does not work and shows after about 5 seconds the red display “Service i31”
Can you please tell me what is wrong and how do I fix it?


3 RICHARD EHRHART September 25, 2018 at 8:08 pm

Frigidaire dishwasher shows I-30 code and pump will not stop running, even with door open.


4 mingji August 7, 2018 at 9:59 am

My Siemens dishwasher show error code E19! Please help me how to fix it.


5 J Bedenko July 4, 2018 at 4:16 pm

MAYTAG JETCLEAN #MDBH979SAB stops after washing cycle then sends “CANCEL” message that inactivates the surge protector plug. Is this a common problem?


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