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How To Troubleshoot A Dishwasher

troubleshoot a dishwasher
May 2022

You never want to experience your dishwasher breaking down. You especially don’t want it happening during holidays. So you should know how to troubleshoot a faulty dishwasher to avoid it.  

Troubleshooting your device entails finding what’s wrong with it. Then, the washer issue will determine the approach to troubleshoot it. 

You can experience problems such as a leaking dishwasher.  Likewise, your dishwasher may stop cleaning dishes well. Or maybe yours is simply being noisy. Regardless, there are ways you can quickly fix them. 

You don’t always have to call a technician or panic buy another one. This article will take you through different problems common to dishwashers. Alongside, we’ll discuss ways to troubleshoot a dishwasher experiencing such problems. 

So, let’s get into it!

Dishwasher Problems: How To Troubleshoot A Dishwasher

Most times, several dishwasher problems only need you to replace a part or clean it properly. However, after carrying out a comprehensive survey, we now have a compilation of some of the most common and fixable dishwasher issues for Canadian homes.  

Let’s troubleshoot and fix a dishwasher! 

Dishwasher Issue:  Your Dishwasher Not Cleaning

Once a dishwasher stops cleaning, it has lost its relevance. Its essence is to wash dishes. Therefore, firstly ascertain your dishwasher isn’t dirty. 

Check the sprayer arms, the door gaskets, and strain arms for debris, grime, and other dirt. Facilitate a cleaning run without putting dishes in the dishwasher. Wait and see if that’ll help.  

Also, the problem may be inadequate pressure from the spray arms. This problem is usually common with homes using hard water. Having hard water means you likely need to clean up a buildup in your dishwasher. 

Therefore, examine the spray arm and see that it’s moving seamlessly without hindrance. Sometimes, the spray arms may be bad. If that’s the case with yours, simply replace it.

In addition, your dishwasher not cleaning could be due to the upper discharge housing gasket needing adjustment or replacement.  Also, your detergent may not be strong enough to clean the dishes. Therefore, get a suitable detergent to wash. 

dishwasher not cleaning

A Noisy Dishwasher

The only reason your dishwasher will be totally silent is if you purchase an ultra-quiet one. This assertion means almost all dishwashers make sounds when working. But when the sound of your dishwasher transcends to unsettling or disturbing noise, there’s a problem. 

To troubleshoot a dishwasher, check its pump for any defects in this situation. If the pump is defective, simply replace it. It could also be that you need to change the bearing ring or wash arm seal.

Another reason for this problem may be the spray arms having difficulty rotating. This difficulty can cause the spray arms to keep hitting the racks or dishes. So again, the way out here is to replace the arms.

Dishes Coming out White or Hazy

Your dishwasher likely has a build-up because of hard water if your dishes come out hazy or cloudy.  

Try a detergent specially for hard water to troubleshoot a dishwasher with this issue. It’ll also help if you can install a water softener. This system will benefit your dishwasher and other water-using appliances you may have.  

Dishes Coming out Spotty

Here’s a solution: This issue is one of the common dishwasher problems you may encounter. But you can fix it. 

Simply try a rinse aid first. Usually, rinse aids will prevent water from staying on your dish faces. 

Dishwasher not Draining

Water filling a dishwasher and not flushing out will keep your dishes captive. In fact, the water can flood your kitchen if you’re not quick to notice the filling. These possibilities are problems you don’t want lingering with you. 

Fortunately, you can quickly troubleshoot a dishwasher with this issue. Firstly, inspect the assembly containing the check valve inside the sump. Then, ensure you replace it if it’s experiencing difficulty moving. 

Also, you can try changing the motor or drain pump. Lastly, try to check if there are no obstructions for the drain flapper and solenoid.

Dishwasher Door Not Latching.

A dishwasher door is a frequently touched part of the appliance. And you need it to function perfectly most times.

But if yours isn’t working well, first examine it for wear or damage. Then, likewise, inspect its electronic control. Usually, the catch or latch is the problem when the door isn’t latching well.  

Dishwasher is Leaking

This dishwasher problem is one of those you want to avoid. It can cause flooding in your home and wreak more havoc if you don’t notice early. 

To troubleshoot a dishwasher facing this problem,  inspect its hose for damages like cracks. Also, ensure the gaskets in the heating element are still in perfect shape.

A leakage in a dishwasher can be because of a bad pump seal. So, if you feel it’s the seal, replace it. But if you can overhaul the entire pump, please do.  

Before you try the above suggestions, check the gaskets very well. If you notice brittleness or that it’s not closing correctly, try to replace it. 


dishwasher leaking

Dishwasher is Smelly

Here’s a Solution: Your dishwasher is likely trapping food particles and grease if it emits foul odours. You’ll find such leftovers on the strainer screen. Also, you can find them in the sprayer, specifically in the jets. 

Don’t forget to check the door’s bottom edge. After you figure out where the food debris is, clean the parts thoroughly. Next, run a complete wash cycle without dishes in the appliance. 

During the cycle with no dishes, try to add a disinfectant or dishwasher cleaner. For subsequent use, ensure you scrape your plates of grime and visible food before putting them into the machine for a wash.

Dishwasher Won’t Fill with Water or it Won’t Stop Filling

Here’s a Solution: Every dishwasher must have water to function optimally. So if yours lacks water, there’ll be an issue. Yet, if it’s getting too much water, there’s also a problem. 

But there are ways to troubleshoot a dishwasher with these issues.

Firstly check the water access valve because it may just need replacement. Furthermore, check the float or float switch. These two parts indicate when the dishwasher has had adequate water. 

But, funnily, they can harbour debris that’ll hinder them from working perfectly.

Another way to troubleshoot a dishwasher experiencing an inadequate filling problem is ensuring the water supply valve is on.  

Likewise, a dishwasher filling uncontrollably likely has a faulty float switch. Also, it may be that the timer is unable to switch from the fill.

Dishwasher Won’t Start

First, check the circuit breakers and fuses if your dishwasher won’t start. When you’re checking, look out for possible trip-offs or burns. 

Ensure your dishwasher is connected to the power supply while your inspection is ongoing. It helps in diagnosing electric issues like when your dishwasher isn’t starting. 

Also, your dishwasher may not start due to a bad door latch or switch. For example, a loosely closed door will prevent a dishwasher from starting. 

But if you discover your latch is okay, examine the dishwasher’s electronic control or timer. Try this option, especially if the drain pump is not working.

However, you may need to enlist dishwasher repair services if the above doesn’t work. 

Dishes Aren’t Drying Well

A faulty heating element is the likeliest reason a dishwasher won’t dry dishes. Therefore, troubleshoot a dishwasher with this issue using a multimeter to check if the heating element is in proper condition. 

Additionally, use a multimeter to check your high limit to see if there are any malfunctions.

Dishwasher Cycle Too Long or Not Completing 

his problem usually arises from a  faulty timer motor, heating element, or thermostat. You can diagnose everything with a multimeter.

Dishwasher Won’t Use Detergent

Sometimes, your dishwasher may not dispense detergent adequately. This issue is usually due to cloggy or caked soap compartments. 

Therefore, simply clean the soap compartment, or change it if you discover it’s spoilt.  

Dishwasher Racks Won’t Roll Out

Your racks may not be moving properly due to faulty rollers or wheels. To troubleshoot a dishwasher with this problem, fix the rack alignment. Or get replacements if need be. 

Dishwasher Seems Cracked

Honestly, you may be unable to fix this problem. It’s not that it has no fix. But you may not possess the skill for the repair.

Most times, a cracked dishwasher will need its inner changed. This total replacement is because the crack can cause water leakage to mechanical parts of the appliance. And you don’t want to risk this danger.

Dishwasher Lights Incessantly Flashing 

Something is wrong when the dishwasher lights begin to flash. These days, diagnosing the problems of a dishwasher has become more seamless. This belief has the backing of the fact that modern dishwashers include a variety of warning signs and signals.

Dishwasher user manuals frequently list various reasons why your dishwasher lights may flash. You may even learn about more common dishwasher problems in the manual. And these issues are usually specific to that brand of dishwasher. 

The information presented above will assist you in avoiding numerous problems in the future.

Dishwasher Buttons are Bad 

This problem is quite common with dishwashers. But you can troubleshoot it as a homeowner.

The buttons, in this case, could be broken due to a mechanical or electrical issue. If you have any doubts about diagnosing this problem, it is best to consult with a professional.

You should be aware that the door may not latch properly. This malfunction can be a problem because the unit’s buttons will not function if the door is not locked. As a result, investigate to see if this is the source of the problem.

Hold up! There’s one more dishwasher problem and fix we’d love to show you.

dishwasher buttons are bad 

Dishwasher Stained With food Particles 

Some dishwasher filters aren’t detachable. This knowledge is why you must thoroughly read the owner’s manual. Furthermore, if the filters are cloggy or dirty, the cleaning rate of the unit will reduce.

A user’s manual will show you how to clean a dishwasher’s filters. When cleaning, keep the following in mind:

  • Check if there are solid parts on the upper side of the filter’s makeup.
  • Food particles shouldn’t be on plates.

Here’s the end of our compilation of ways to troubleshoot a dishwasher. On a lighter note, we hope it’ll save you the time  you’d usually spend googling questions like “why is my dishwasher not working?”

However, your dishwasher may develop a fault that’s not on the list. Don’t worry.

You may require the assistance of a repair technician at this point. In fact, the problem may be on the list, but you may find it difficult to perform dishwasher DIY repair.

Don’t be afraid to contact a repair technician.

Related Article: Is It Worth Fixing a Dishwasher?


It is critical to be well-versed on how to troubleshoot a dishwasher. This knowledge will also assist you in diagnosing dishwasher problems. It’ll also ensure that the appropriate repair actions follow. 

However, your dishwasher issue may be too complex for you at times. For example, dishwasher components can make certain DIY repairs difficult. As a result, you’ll require professionals with extensive repair knowledge.

Fortunately, you won’t have to look far because we provide multi-brand repair services. Here at Prime Appliance Repair, qualified technicians execute our dishwasher repair services. And we also have an excellent work ethic.

Contact 647-905-9176 today to book same-day repair sessions.

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