Top Dishwasher Troubleshooting Issues People Have Problems With

The average lifespan of a dishwasher is seven to 12 years, but one in five dishwashers break after three or four years. While a warranty might cover dishwasher repairs, many have limited coverage and can still come with additional costs.  In 2013, Consumer Reports show that 15 percent or nearly 30,000 people were able to get repairs that were covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

Getting a repair or a replacement for your dishwasher can be expensive and you may need a licensed professional to help. That’s why many homeowners try to fix the issues themselves. However, you need to gain some insight on what to watch out for and learn how to do it before attempting to troubleshoot the problem. This avoids the risk of further damaging your dishwasher.

Learn more about the top dishwasher troubleshooting issues by reading below.

Dishwasher Doesn't Start

Dishwasher Doesn’t Start

It’s really frustrating if your dishwasher suddenly doesn’t start. If you want to fix this problem by yourself, first, check the motor. The motor must stick every time you start your dishwasher and you hear a humming sound.

If this doesn’t happen, something else is causing the problem. Like a clogged pump, a failing switch, or wiring that has gone bad. These complex problems require the help of the most trusted and reputable dishwasher repair professionals.

Dishwasher Not Draining

A dishwasher that isn’t draining may be caused by having a new disposal installed. When installing a new disposal, always make sure that the drain plug is removed. A knockout plug is always attached to the disposal, so you have to remove it to drain your dishwasher.

You can call a licensed plumber to correct the problem with the knockout plug. Make sure that the drain hose is securely connected to the disposal connection after the knockout plug is removed. If your disposal was professionally installed, call the installer to address the draining issue.

Dishwasher Is Running Too Long

The are various reasons why your home or commercial dishwasher is running to long or has a long cycle time. This includes a new efficient design, low water temperature, and not running hot water in the sink before the dishwasher starts.

Here are some dishwasher troubleshooting tips to help fix this issue:

  • You can clear pipes from cold water by turning on the faucet of the hot water nearest to your dishwasher for several minutes.
  • Choose the right cycle option based on desired results. Extra dry heat and sanitize can increase cycle time, so make sure these options aren’t selected if not in use.
  • Set your household water temperature to at least 120ºF. Most dishwasher cycles require a water temperature to be at least 135ºF. The water inside the dishwasher takes about two minutes to heat at one degree. For example, if the water temperature is the only 100ºF, it would take more than an hour to finish the cycle. If the water has a temperature lower than 120ºF, hire a professional to raise your water heater thermostat setting.

Dishwasher Leaves A Films or Spots on Glassware

You’ll notice a white film or spots on glassware when you don’t use a rinse aid, hard water conditions, or water with too high levels of minerals, like calcium and magnesium. Also, there are extreme cases wherein soap and rinsing agents cannot soften the water.

A dish detergent booster can be used to improve cleaning results. 

Food and Crumbs On Dishes

A filter problem is caused by either leftover food or crumbs on your dishes. Dirty or clogged filters affect the cleaning performance of your dishwasher and may cause food particles on plates and other utensils. Check your dishwasher manual because not all models have removable filters.

Here are the instances when you need to clean the filters of your dishwasher:

  • Soiled spots or objects are visible or noticeable on the upper filter assembly.
  • Dishes feel gritty when touched.
  • Food particles are still present on the dishes.
  • Enough time has already passed based on the manual’s cleaning recommendations.

Note: Avoid overloading and scrape food debris off before loading dishes to your dishwasher. Proper cleaning and maintenance can prolong the lifespan of your dishwasher.

Dishes Aren’t Drying

If your dishes aren’t drying, it’s possible that you’re not using a liquid rinse aid. Dishwashers are specifically designed to use a rinse aid. Even if your tablet or detergent has a built-in rinse, using a liquid rinse aid is highly recommended.

Rinse aid can improve drying and prevent the formation of water droplets. Further, a rinse aid avoids streaks or spots on your dishes while drying.


Your dishwasher should always be in good condition to ensure that your table and kitchen utensils are washed, rinsed, dried, and sanitized properly. Of course, you don’t want to compromise the health and safety of your family because of a malfunctioning dishwasher.

While you can do DIY repairs, it’s still best to contact a professional if you’re unsure what to do. This avoids expensive issues in the long run.

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