8 common dishwasher problems and how to fix them yourself


If you and your partner have a “You cook, I’ll clean” deal, then having a working dishwasher is probably the best part of this arrangement. But if your dishwasher decides not to play nicely, here’s how to fix the 8 most common dishwasher headaches.

Dishwasher won’t start

Check to see if there’s something blocking the door since your dishwasher won’t work if it doesn’t close properly. The slightest loose door seal could be the problem. Or on your home’s electrical panel, check if a fuse has blown and all you need to do is flip the breaker switch to get it working. If it’s still not working then it’s best to book an electrician or appliance repairman.

Dishwasher door won’t lock

Your dishwasher latch is more delicate than it looks and if you’re rough with it, the latch can break. Your dishwasher may not operate if the latch doesn’t secure tight since its duty may be similar to an on/off switch of the appliance. Since latches are usually located behind the door panel, you may need an expert who does appliance repair to replace it.

Dishes aren’t cleaning

Proper stacking of your dishes is important for all your dishes to get clean. Ensure that some items are not blocking other items from the water jets. Also make sure the rotating arm can move freely and not get blocked by a tall item – like your tall car coffee mug. Or try experimenting with different detergents. You might find liquid detergent works better in your machine than pucks that may not dissolve well, or you need a more potent detergent.

Detergent won’t dispense

If your detergent dispenser won’t open when it should, it may be caked up with hard soap residue that’s keeping it closed tight. Clean it so the edges are clear and the latch can easily open. This problem usually occurs with liquid or powder detergent so if the problem persists, consider switching to detergent pucks. You can always put pucks or tabs in the cutlery area and see if that works just as well.

Water isn’t draining

Check that the waste trap is clear of debris. It’s easy to pull it out and clean it. If the problem persists it could be a clogged or kinked drain hose. This is located behind the lower panel. Turn the power off your machine and clean or replace the hose.

Water leak

A puddle on the floor in front of your dishwasher is cause for concern – especially if you turn your dishwasher on at night, or when you leave home as your floor might be damaged by the time you’ve discovered the problem. The leak may be pinched or loose door seal or the waste hose may not be properly inserted into the waste pipe.

Dishes won’t dry

It’s annoying when you grab your clean mugs and glasses from the dishwasher and each has a tiny puddle of water on its base. While you can use a cloth and wipe them off before taking them out, that’s a bother. Make sure your rinse dispenser is full because it works to shed water from the dishes so they dry more easily. Or the heating element or thermostat might not be working. Book a repairman who’ll access these devices behind the lower panel and check that the terminals and connections work.

Smelly dishwasher

Always scrape and rinse your dishes of food well and you’ll minimize the amount of debris that gets caught in the strainer and cause a smell. Debris can also lead to more serious problems like a blockage. Also try a special dishwasher cleaner that rinses and clears out food particles and sticky residue.

Since working with water and electricity can be dangerous, it’s best to book a HeyBryan expert who offers services in appliance repair. HeyBryan experts have been approved by the HeyBryan team as well as had background checks so you can feel comfortable having an expert in your home to fix any of these most common dishwasher problems.


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