Common Signs Your Dishwasher Needs Repair

Dealing with a malfunctioning dishwasher is never fun. But fortunately, many problems don't indicate the need for a replacement. If you're trying to pinpoint the problem with your appliance, all you need is a little patience and some knowledge. Here are the most common problems with household dishwashers and what you should do to resolve the issue.

Dirty Dishes

There's nothing more frustrating than finding dirty dishes after a cleaning cycle. But this is often relatively easy to fix. Pull all the dishes out and inspect the interior. Make sure the strain screen is clean and that food particles aren't stuck in the sprayer arms.

If you live in an area with hard water, you could have mineral deposits stuck in the holes, reducing the water pressure. You can clean them with a needle if necessary.

Also make sure nothing is blocking the arm from moving with ease. And lastly, inspect the discharge housing gasket for problems. If it loosens or breaks, it could prevent your dishwasher from working efficiently and should be replaced. 

Cloudy Glasses

Glasses and clear plates that appear cloudy or splotchy generally look like that for one of several reasons.

Over time, corrosion can lead to hundreds of tiny etchings on the surface of your glass, making it look cloudy to the naked eye. Some commercial products aimed at making dishes shinier can help. But more than likely, that cloudy appearance is due to hard water buildup. Calcium and lime cling to the surface, and the best way to avoid this issue is to install a water softener to filter water running through your dishwasher. This will not only make your glasses and dishes look cleaner, it can extend the life of your dishwasher, too.

Excessive Noise

If your once-quiet dishwasher is suddenly noisy, there are a few things to look at.

First, when the pump starts to go, it can make a lot of noise, so that may need to be replaced. Something could also be blocking the spray arm from rotating which can result in a grinding sound. Or you may simply need to replace the washer arm bearing ring. If that doesn't fix the problem, it's best to consult with a professional repair tech that can locate the culprit and take care of any needed repairs.


If you notice water leaking from your dishwasher, the very first place to look is the door gasket. If it appears cracked or brittle, you may not be getting a good seal, so it should be replaced.

Problems with the pump or seals can also cause leaks, particularly as they age from hot water and detergent. This type of leak is easily spotted by removing the access panel and looking under the appliance.  

Water leaks can also come from the inlet valve which supplies water to the appliance. And they can come from issues with the dispenser, spray arm, or a faulty float switch. Unless you're adept at DIY dishwasher repair, it's best to call in a professional to troubleshoot and repair a leak.

Failure to Start

This could be an electrical issue. Check your circuit breaker to make sure fuses haven't blown or tripped. Also be sure that nothing has caused the plug to become loose.

If everything looks good on the electrical front, it could be an issue with the door latch. If it doesn't latch or close properly, it should be replaced.

Although rare, dishwasher timers and timer motors can also fail, preventing your appliance from starting or working properly. You can do a quick check on this yourself, but it's best to call a professional before replacing any parts as this is often misdiagnosed.

Wet Dishes

If your dishwasher fails to dry your dishes, this could indicate heating element trouble. If you have a multimeter tool, you can test this by removing the lower rack and the cover. If the needle doesn't move on the tool, then you have a heating element that's failing to conduct and should be replaced. 

For more information, contact companies like Anderson's Appliance Repair Service.