How to Troubleshoot Common Dishwasher Problems

Dishwashers are a great time-saving appliance, which is why so many homes have them. But what happens when they start to act up and not work properly? We’ve put together tips for how to troubleshoot some of the most common dishwasher problems and how to fix them. So, dig in, and save yourself from washing up by hand.

Dishes Aren’t Coming Out Clean

There are a few reasons why your dishes are still dirty despite several washes. Try doing the following:
  • Check the sprayer arms. If they’re clogged with food, they won’t clean dishes properly. Pull them out and clean them with a toothpick or small brush.
  • Clean the strainer screen. It can get clogged or damaged, causing water to leak into your dishwasher.
  • Look at the door gasket. If it’s warped or damaged, it can leak water into your dishwasher when in use. Replace any damaged parts immediately to prevent future problems and leaks.
  • Carry out an empty wash without dishes to flush away dirt or grime that may be causing debris buildup inside your machine.
If none of these help, it’s time for a professional plumber to take a look.

Dishwasher Doesn’t Run

The most common reason for a dishwasher not to run is that the door isn’t fully closed. This is a safety feature, so children and pets can’t open it. But it also means that you must ensure it closes completely, or the machine won’t operate. A simple fix – push the door harder.
The second thing to check is the control panel on top of your dishwasher. If the power button is off, you need to turn it on. Again, it’s a simple mistake to make. Also, check that the main power source is switched on.
Finally, check that there’s water coming from the cold-water faucet at the sink and that there’s no kinked hose or clogged filter inlet screen under the sink. Also, check that there’s no blockage in the plumbing lines leading from the faucet to the drain line under the sink.

Dishwasher Doesn’t Fill

The float valve and inlet valve are two parts that are essential for your dishwasher to fill. The float valve sits on top of the water inlet valve at the bottom of the dishwasher.
When you start a wash cycle, the float valve rises with the water level in the tub. As it rises, it opens the inlet valve so water can enter the tub. Then, when there’s enough water in the tub, it closes again, shutting off the water flow.
The most common reason why your dishwasher won’t fill is if one of these parts has broken. If either is damaged or missing entirely, you won’t be able to get water into your machine during a wash cycle — even if it seems like plenty of water is coming out of your faucet each time you run a load.

Dishwasher Doesn’t Drain

There could be many reasons why your dishwasher isn’t draining. The most common is that the water inlet valve is defective. It’s located on the bottom left corner of the dishwasher and is usually made of plastic.
The drain hose could be clogged with food debris or kinked, making it impossible for water to get through. This can occur if you don’t use enough detergent or if you don’t rinse off dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. If this happens often, try using fewer dishes at once or running a vinegar-and-water solution through your machine every month to clean out any mineral deposits built up inside.

Dishwasher Smells Bad

A dishwasher’s main duty is to come in contact with food and water, which means they are more likely than other appliances to develop odors.
When the water in your dishwasher isn’t hot enough, mildew and mold could grow on the door seal. This smell is often described as a musty smell or something like a wet dog. If this is the problem, increase the temperature setting on your dishwasher. Another issue is food scraps getting caught in your drain hose, which can start to smell bad over time. To avoid this problem, clean out any food scraps regularly.
Ideally, clean out any food particles or grease buildup inside your dishwasher every few months. You can do this by pouring a cup of baking soda into the bottom of your machine and running it through a cycle with no dishes inside. This will help neutralize any odors.
A simple tip to keep your dishwasher smelling fresh is to add vinegar to a cycle. Vinegar kills any bacteria that has begun to grow and can also help prevent mildew from forming in the future. Bleach does the same but never use bleach in a stainless steel dishwasher. Got a problem with your dishwasher? Contact the plumbing professionals at Moore Home Services and save yourself doing the washing up.