8 Most Common Dishwasher Problems & How to Fix Them 

If you own a dishwasher, chances are you've experienced at least one issue with it at some point. From dishes not coming out clean to strange noises and leaks, dishwasher problems can be frustrating and time-consuming. If you're dealing with a finicky dishwasher, don't despair. You might just find a solution here! 

In this article, we'll cover: 

  • Problem 1: My Dishwasher Isn't Draining
  • Problem 2: My Dishwasher Is Clogged
  • Problem 3: My Dishwasher Is Leaking
  • Problem 4: My Dishwasher Smells
  • Problem 5: My Dishwasher Isn't Cleaning My Dishes
  • Problem 6: My Dishwasher Is Very Noisy
  • Problem 7: My Dishwasher Isn't Drying My Dishes
  • Problem 8: My Dishwasher Won't Start
  • Common Dishwasher Problem FAQs

Problem 1: My Dishwasher Isn't Draining 

If your dishwasher isn't draining properly, you may be having an issue with your dishwasher's drainage system. This can be caused by a variety of issues: 

  • Clogged drain: The dishwasher's drain may be clogged with food particles or other debris. 
  • Malfunctioning pump: The dishwasher's pump is responsible for moving water through the system and out of the drain. If it's damaged or not working correctly, it could cause a drainage failure. 
  • Broken or clogged hose: The dishwasher's drain hose may be broken or clogged, causing water to back up in the system. 

How to Fix Dishwasher Not Draining 

Here are a few steps you can take to try to fix the issue: 

  1. Check the drain for any blockages. A clogged or kinked hose will prevent water from properly draining out of the dishwasher. Use a plunger or a pipe snake to clear any debris that may be blocking the drain. 
  2. Check the dishwasher's pump for damage or malfunction. Consult the manufacturer's manual or call a professional appliance repair service if you think the pump may be the issue. 
  3. Check the drain hose for any damage or blockages. The hose should be straight and free of any debris or kinks.  
  4. Check the drain pump filters for any blockages if the hose is clear, but the dishwasher is still not draining. Some dishwashers have filters that can become clogged with food particles or debris. Cleaning or replacing the filters may help resolve the issue. Run a dishwasher cycle to make sure the water is properly draining out. 

Problem 2: My Dishwasher Is Clogged 

Your dishwasher may be clogged if you're experiencing issues with poor cleaning performance or if water is not properly draining. You may also notice a strange noise or smell coming from the dishwasher or water pooling around the bottom of the dishwasher. 

To diagnose the issue, first, check the dishwasher filter. The filter, located at the bottom of the dishwasher, may be clogged with debris. If you find something blocking the drain, carefully remove it, and see if the dishwasher works properly. 

Next, check the dishwasher spray arm. To check the spray arm, remove it and look for any blockages or damage. If it is dirty, clean it with warm, soapy water. If it is damaged, it may need to be replaced. 

Also, check the drain pump to ensure it is not damaged or malfunctioning. 

How to Fix a Clogged Dishwasher 

The ideal solution for a clogged dishwasher is to check the drain and filter for any blockage. Start by checking the drain and filter for any debris or foreign objects that may be causing the clog. 

If everything seems okay, the next step is to run a vinegar or baking soda solution through the dishwasher to help break down any clogs. If the clog persists, it may be necessary to call a professional plumber to further investigate the issue. 

It is important to note that prevention is key when it comes to clogged dishwashers. Regularly clean the drain and filter to avoid future clogs.  

Problem 3: My Dishwasher Is Leaking 

A leaking dishwasher can be frustrating. There are a few possible causes that you can investigate to try and diagnose the issue: 

  • Inspect the dishwasher for any visible signs of damage or wear and tear. Look for cracks or holes in the door and around the rubber seal. 
  • Check the hoses and pipes connected to the dishwasher for any signs of leaking. If there is no visible damage, you may hear the sound of water dripping or the sound of the water pump running. This might mean a problem with the water inlet valve or the drain pump. 
  • You may also notice a puddle of water on the floor near the dishwasher. This could indicate a blocked drain hose or a faulty drain pump. 
  • Finally, check the seals around the door and the door for any signs of damage, wear and tear, or improper installation. If any of these issues are present, they must be fixed immediately to avoid further water damage. 

How to Fix a Leaky Dishwasher 

Fixing a leaky dishwasher can be completed in a few steps. 

  1. Identify where the leak is coming from. The most common places for a dishwasher to leak include the door, hoses, and pump.
  2. If the leak is coming from the door, the gasket or seal may need to be replaced. If the leak is from the hose or pump, the damaged parts should be replaced with new ones.
  3. Finally, check all the connections and make sure they are secure and not leaking

Problem 4: My Dishwasher Smells 

If you notice that your dishwasher smells bad, it may be a sign that something is wrong with the appliance. To diagnose the problem: 

  • Check for any buildup of food particles and any visible signs of mold or mildew. 
  • Make sure all the seals and gaskets are in good condition. If they are not, they may be letting in moisture, which can lead to a musty smell. 

How to Fix a Smelly Dishwasher 

  1. Clean the filter. The filter collects food particles, dirt, and grease, so it can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. To clean it, remove it from the dishwasher, and scrub it with warm soapy water.  
  2. Give the inside of the dishwasher a thorough cleaning. Use a cleaning solution designed for dishwashers, or make your own by mixing equal parts vinegar and water. Spray the solution onto the dishwasher's walls, bottom, and door, and let it sit for a few minutes. 
  3. Use a soft cloth to wipe the surfaces clean. 
  4. Run the dishwasher empty on a hot cycle. The combination of cleaning and hot water should help eliminate the smell. 

Problem 5: My Dishwasher Isn't Cleaning My Dishes 

There are a few things you should look out for if your dishwasher is not cleaning your dishes properly: 

  • See if the dishwasher is running through its entire cycle. If not, the problem is likely due to a mechanical issue.  
  •  If the dishwasher runs through its cycle, but your dishes are still coming out dirty, check if the detergent cup is properly releasing the detergent. 
  • Check to see if the water temperature is set correctly. If the water temperature is too low, the dishwasher will not be able to effectively clean the dishes.  
  •  Finally, check if any food particles are clogging the spray arms or filters. 

How to Fix a Faulty Dishwasher 

  • Make sure the dishes are loaded correctly in the dishwasher. Avoid overloading the dishwasher, and ensure the dishes are not blocking the spray arm. 
  • Make sure you are using the correct type and amount of dishwasher detergent. Using too much detergent can leave a residue on the dishes while using too little can result in poor cleaning performance. 
  • Check the dishwasher water temperature, and ensure it's hot enough to clean the effectively dishes. The dishes may not get clean if the temperature is too low. 
  •  Check the spray arm for any blockages or damage. If it is dirty, clean it with warm, soapy water. If it is damaged, it may need to be replaced. 

Problem 6: My Dishwasher Is Very Noisy 

Noisy dishwashers can be a real nuisance in the home, creating unpleasant and loud background noise. To diagnose the cause of the noise, pay attention to the sound the dishwasher is making. 

If it is a loud humming noise, it may be caused by an issue with the motor. If the noise is a loud grinding or rattling, it could be an issue with the pump, spray arms, or door latch. A high-pitched squealing could indicate a problem with the bearings or seals. 

How to Fix a Noisy Dishwasher 

To fix a noisy dishwasher, it is essential to figure out the source of the noise. If it is an issue with the motor, it is likely necessary to replace it. Other parts, such as the pump, spray arm, and door latch, can sometimes be repaired or adjusted. If the problem is caused by bearings or seals, it is often necessary to replace these parts. 

Note: The repair or replacement process can vary from model to model. Follow the user manual for the specific model of your dishwasher. 

Problem 7: My Dishwasher Isn't Drying My Dishes 

Check for the following if your dishes are coming out wet: 

  1. The dishwasher door is properly closed and sealed. If not, the dishwasher will not be able to create the necessary heat and pressure for drying.  
  2. The dishwasher is on the correct cycle, and the drying cycle is enabled. If the cycle is not enabled, the dishwasher may not be able to properly dry the dishes. 

How to Fix a Dishwasher That Isn't Drying 

The ideal solution for a dishwasher that is not drying dishes is to inspect and clean the dishwasher door and gasket. This should help the door seal properly and allow the dishwasher to create the necessary heat and pressure for drying. 

If that's in order, check the dishwasher cycle settings and ensure the drying cycle is enabled.  

Problem 8: My Dishwasher Won't Start 

A dishwasher that won't start can frustrate you. To solve the problem, check if the dishwasher is plugged in and the circuit breaker is switched on. If both of these components are functional, check the door switch. This is the device that senses when the door is closed and allows the dishwasher to start.  

If the door switch is working, check the control panel. This is the mechanism that allows the dishwasher to be programmed and started.  

If the control panel is properly functioning, the next step is to check the wiring. If any wires have become loose or disconnected, the dishwasher will not start. 

Finally, if the wiring appears to be in good condition, the last thing to check is the motor. If the motor has become damaged or is not working correctly, it will need to be replaced. 

How to Fix a Dishwasher That Won't Start 

The perfect remedy for a dishwasher that won't start is confirming all the components are in perfect working order and that the wiring is in good condition. Next, inspect the motor and replace it if necessary.  

If these steps do not resolve the problem, contact a professional appliance repair technician to diagnose and fix the issue. 


Most dishwashers are reliable appliances with a long lifespan. As with all devices, checking your dishwasher regularly will help you quickly identify any issues and ensure that it is running efficiently. 

And if you're in the market for a new dishwasher, don't let dishwasher problems ruin your day. Upgrade to a reliable, efficient model today! Check out our full selection of top-quality dishwashers that includes a range of styles and features to suit any budget and household needs.  

Common Dishwasher Problems FAQs 

What is the most common problem with a dishwasher? 

The most common problem with a dishwasher is a lack of water flow or a clogged drain. This can be caused by blockages in the line, a faulty water inlet valve, or a broken pump motor. 

How do I test what is wrong with my dishwasher? 

To test what is wrong with your dishwasher, first, check that the power is on and the door is securely closed. Then run a cycle and observe whether the dishwasher is filling, draining, washing, and drying correctly. If any of these steps don't occur, you may have a problem. 

Is it worth repairing a dishwasher?            

In some cases, yes, repairing a dishwasher can often be more cost-effective than replacing it. Depending on the severity of the issue, repairs can solve the problem and help extend the appliance's life, but always compare the part’s cost with the price of a new dishwasher. 

How many years does a dishwasher usually last? 

Depending on usage and maintenance, a dishwasher typically lasts 8-10 years. With proper maintenance and care, it can last even longer. 

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