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5 Reasons Your Dishwasher Isn’t Working

It doesn’t take long for the dirty dishes to pile up around your kitchen when the dishwasher isn’t working. Especially in larger households where you’re making multiple meals a day. Washing the dishes in the sink can be time-consuming, taking you away from other daily tasks like helping the children with homework or prepping for tomorrow. The good news is you might not need to call a plumbing service just yet. Follow these 5 simple troubleshooting methods to learn how to fix your dishwasher yourself before calling a professional.

Dishwasher repairs can be expensive and needless. Before going that route, consider these 5 troubleshooting tips to restore your appliance back to its former glory. – Dean Hudson, Hudson Plumbing.

1. My dishwasher isn’t cleaning the dishes

A dishwasher that leaves food and scum on the dishes can be easily fixed without calling a service provider. The first step is to verify the dishwasher cleaner you’re using is the right detergent according to the manual. Sometimes using the wrong detergent could be insufficient for adequate cleaning. (Read the below paragraphs to further learn how to resolve this particular issue.) Another common symptom is spotty or cloudy glassware. This could signify hard water issues in the home. A home water test kit can be purchased for cheap to determine your home’s overall hardness score.

2. My dishwasher won’t drain

There’s nothing worse than starting a cycle only to eventually learn that the dishwasher won’t drain. And worse, now all your good dishes are stuck inside the appliance. If your dishwasher is not draining, there might be an issue with the check valve in the drain sump. Using your appliance manual, locate the check valve. If it isn’t moving as it should, it probably needs to be replaced. If the problem persists, move along to the next likely item: the drain flapper and/or the drain hose. Be careful when working on a dishwasher that’s still full of water! Have towels and buckets handy to prevent water damage to the floor and cabinets.

3. My dishwasher won’t start

The most likely culprit of a dishwasher that won’t start is simply the door latch itself. If the door won’t seal properly, it will prevent the appliance from beginning the cycle. If the door latch assembly isn’t engaged, the switches linked to the door latch won’t supply power to the dishwasher controls. Take a moment to thoroughly inspect the door latch. If it doesn’t make an audible click according to the manual, it’s likely not engaging an effective seal, preventing the dishwasher from starting.

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4. My dishwasher leaks onto the floor

If your dishwasher leaks onto the floor, it can be a big problem. Examine the surface of the appliance around the door and door gasket. Even a hairline crack can eventually cause extensive floor damage if gone unnoticed. Also, examine the door latch and verify that it seals completely. According to Digital Trends, another factor that could be causing the dishwasher to leak is that the float switch is stuck in the down position. This mechanism is responsible for maintaining the proper water level within the appliance. It also prevents overfilling which could lead to leakage. Clean the float switch and the door gasket with disinfectant and remove any debris that might be in the way.

5. My dishwasher won’t fill with water

If the float switch does indeed have debris in its way, it could prevent water from filling the dishwasher. Another cause could be that the water inlet valve needs to be replaced. Before beginning the dishwasher repair, though, ensure the water is even turned on. If you’ve recently done work on your kitchen plumbing, it could be that you’ve forgotten to turn the water supply valve back on. These valves are typically located under the sink.


While dishwashers are relatively simple to use, they can appear complex when troubleshooting a problem becomes necessary. Especially older appliances in older homes. If you’ve determined there’s still an issue after consulting this guide, take advantage of the troubleshooting protocol checklist that comes included in most dishwasher manuals. If you don’t have access to your manual, try searching for it online by brand and product number.


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