13 Common Dishwasher Issues and How to Fix Them (Even if You Need Spare Parts)

the dishwasher open in a kitchen

If you discover a malfunction with your dishwasher, you should consider identifying the issue and fixing it before you decide to purchase a new appliance. You can then save substantial costs and ensure your dishwasher enjoys longevity.

Common Dishwasher Issues

So, let us take a look at 13 common dishwasher issues and how to resolve them.

1. The Dishwasher Will Not Start

Does your dishwasher refuse to start?

A faulty dishwasher can happen for a handful of reasons. If you press the start button to no avail, then it might be due to a faulty door latch or switch. In fact, if your dishwasher thinks the door is not properly closed, it will not start, that is simply a safety feature.

So, check the latch and ensure there are no obstructions like food debris that could be causing an issue. Cleaning debris, such as crumbs from almond German coffee cake or chunks of paleo meatballs, is often the simple answer to this problem.

If there is no power at all, the issue could be something as simple as the fuse. In that case, just replace the fuse.

2. The Dishes Are Not Clean After Washing

Another typical problem you might run into is faded cleanliness in your dishes after washing. This problem could indicate a clogged or malfunctioning spray arm or even low-quality detergent being used.

Give the spray arm a quick inspection and clean it out if necessary. Also, consider upgrading your dishwashing detergent for better cleaning efficiency.

3. The Dishwasher Is Making Unusual Noises

dishwasher door open

If your dishwasher starts making noises that it should not be making, the issue could have to do with foreign objects that are lodged somewhere they should not be inside the machine. Alternatively, the problem could be a malfunctioning pump.

To fix this issue, first ensure the dish racks are properly aligned and that nothing is obstructing the spray arms. If it is still noisy, then you may need to access the pump for further investigation.

If you are not confident in troubleshooting dishwashers, you should have them serviced by a professional who can check common dishwasher issues.

4. The Dishwasher Does Not Fill Up with Water

A dishwasher without water is essentially ineffective. If your faulty dishwasher is not filling with water as it should be, it could likely be due to a stuck float switch or a problem with the water inlet valve.

Try adjusting the float switch for a quick fix, which is usually located at the bottom of the dishwasher. If that does not work, look into inspecting the water inlet valve. Ensure that the dishwasher is properly connected to the water supply and that the valve is fully open. Sometimes, the supply may accidentally be turned off.

Also, a clogged filter can impede water flow and cause dishwasher problems. Clean the dishwasher filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

5. The Dishwasher Is Leaking

Leaking and faulty dishwashers can be problematic – ranging from minor puddling to major flooding.

Possible causes might include a broken door seal or an issue with the spray arm. Inspect these areas first to get down to the root of the problem. You may simply need to repair the door seal or replace the spray arm.

6. The Dishes Are Not Drying Properly

If your dishes are still wet after running through the entire cycle, you may have an issue with either the heating element or rinse aid dispenser. If the heating element is not working correctly, dishes won’t dry properly. You can check if it’s warm to the touch after a cycle (be careful not to burn yourself).

Rinse aid is essential for helping dishes dry properly in most modern dishwashers. It prevents water from forming droplets on dishes, which can leave spots and make them wet. Ensure the rinse aid dispenser is filled.

It is worth checking both of these components and replacing them if necessary for optimal drying performance.

7. The Dishwasher Does Not Drain Properly

Your dishwasher not draining is typically a sign of a clogged drain hose or faulty drain pump. Both can be easily checked for blockages. If the issue persists, you may need to consider replacing the parts.


8. The Detergent Dispenser Is Not Working

If you see that powder detergent remains in the dispenser after the cycle ends or liquid detergent is not released, there may be an issue with your detergent dispenser.

First, clean it thoroughly to remove any built-up residue. If that does not work, replacing it may be the best solution.

9. Dishwasher Cycles Are Taking Too Long

If your dishwasher cycles are running longer than they are supposed to, there could be a problem with the thermostat. The thermostat controls the temperature during various stages of washing.

If defective, it might slow down everything else. In that case, getting a new thermostat would be the best solution.

10. The Dishwasher Is Not Heating

a dishwasher door open in a modern kitchen

If your dishwasher is not heating, you might have an issue with the heating element. This part is crucial for both cleaning and drying.

If dishes are not coming out as clean as usual, or if they are still wet after drying, it is worth checking the heating element and replacing it if necessary.

11. Error Codes Appear on the Display

Error codes on your dishwasher display can usually be attributed to faulty sensors or circuit boards. Be sure to check your user manual for what these codes mean before assuming anything. Once identified, replacing the relevant parts could get things back in order.

12. Dish Racks Are Broken

Broken dish racks may seem like a minor problem, but they can poorly impact cleaning effectiveness and even lead to damaging noises or interior scratches. Thankfully, this is an easy issue to fix, simply order a new rack suited to your model.

13. Buttons on the Control Panel Are Not Responding

Finally, if some buttons on your dishwasher’s control panel are non-responsive, it may signal an issue with either the individual buttons or the entire control panel.

Replacement in such instances varies. It could be button-specific or require a whole new control panel, depending on what the diagnostics reveal.

Where to Find Branded Spare Parts for Your Dishwasher

As we have seen, some dishwasher issues may simply require the replacement of parts. But when looking for spare parts, it is vital that you source them from an approved supplier for your dishwasher’s brand. This ensures maximal compatibility and functioning.

Most brands have dedicated online stores or authorized sellers where you can reliably find the specific parts you need. For instance, I have a Neff dishwasher so a specialist like PartsCentre is good for Neff spares.

Additionally, home appliance stores sometimes stock branded parts for common dishwasher models in-store. Be cautious about buying cheaper alternatives from unknown sources, as they could end up causing more damage than good due to potential quality and compatibility issues.

By identifying specific dishwasher issues, you can determine the potential options for fixing the problem. Even if you need spare parts to resolve the issue, you can often easily find the parts you need from authorized vendors. Just make sure that you purchase brand parts for your specific model of dishwasher.

Other times, dishwasher problems might be easier to fix. Often, problems have to do with things like clogged debris. So, make sure you regularly clean your dishwasher to help prevent issues from arising and ensure your dishwasher has a long life.

If you do not know how to fix certain issues or you do not understand how to replace parts, you can always learn by looking at online tutorials. If all else fails, hire a professional to fix your dishwasher problems for you.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, please read my full affiliate disclosure here

I also use Artificial Intelligence Image generators to create some of my images. These are to show you examples of my ideas and inspiration when I cannot produce the real images myself.


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