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Dishwasher Troubleshooting Tips

Updated on October 1, 2016


Dishwashers have an average life expectancy of nine years, according to the National Association of Homebuilders. While this is considered one of the shortest household appliance life spans, proper usage and maintenance may allow the dishwasher to provide more years of service. In addition, you may be able to troubleshoot and repair your own dishwasher to extend the appliance’s usefulness.

Troubleshooting Tips

Ensure that the dishwasher is receiving power. Check the power connection to be sure that it is secure. Also, check the dishwasher’s circuit breaker to see if it has been tripped. If so, turn the breaker completely off and then back on again. If this does not solve the problem, proceed with the following steps.

Disconnect the dishwasher from its power source or turn the appliance’s circuit breaker off. This safety precaution will ensure that dishwasher does not start unexpectedly, and will also ensure you do not electrocute yourself or start a fire.

Examine the dishwasher’s door to be sure that it is closing completely. If it is not, the dishwasher will not start. Check inside the appliance to see if there are any obstructions - like silverware sticking out – that would prevent the door from closing.

Check the dishwasher’s door seal if the machine is leaking. Depending on the dishwasher model, the door seal may be on the door or on the cabinet of the appliance. Clean the seal with a damp cloth to eliminate any grime – which will stop it from sealing properly. Also, run your finger around the door seal to ensure that it has not come out of the housing. If it has, use your finger to press the seal back in.

Check the dishwasher’s door latch plate if the machine is leaking. The door latch plate is located on the inside top of the dishwasher’s cabinet. Loosen the plate’s screws and slightly push the plate backwards – towards the inside of the cabinet. Tighten the screws and close the door.

Reduce the amount of dishwashing liquid that you put in the dishwasher if the door is leaking. Too many soapsuds will cause the dishwasher to leak from the door. If the dishwasher has more than a half-inch of suds, you are using too much soap. Try using half of the amount that you normally would.

Ensure the water temperature is hot, to prevent soapy film on glasses. Turn on the kitchen faucet and let it run until the water gets hot before you turn on the dishwasher. In addition, if you have hard water, wash the glasses on the shortest cycle that will also clean them, and avoid using drying cycles that are long and use a lot of heat.


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