How to Fix a Dying Dishwasher

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Having trouble with your dishwasher? Here’s everything you need to know to fix and maintain your dishwasher.

A dishwasher is one of the most useful appliances which not only makes our life easier but also helps us in keeping our kitchen clean at all times. However, a lot of us take our dishwasher for granted don’t maintain or take care of it properly due to which it can break down many times. Although a good-quality dishwasher is supposed to easily last at least 9 years before you would need to replace it, you still need to perform small repairs if you want it to keep working.

In fact, it has been found that around 20% of the dishwashers break in just three to four years or purchase and need small repairs to continue working. However, if you know the reason behind the break down then you can easily fix your dishwasher at home without the need of calling a technician or a repair service.

In this guide, we will tell you how you can determine if your dishwasher needs a repair or not and the process of fixing your dishwasher at home. Trust me, by the end of this article, you will become a pro at fixing dishwashers.

How to Determine Your Dishwasher is Dying?

We all know that a dead dishwasher is a major inconvenience but there are ways to fix your drying dishwasher before it completely breaks down. All you have to do is pay attention to the signs and the symptoms that your dishwasher shows and you will be easily able to determine its condition.

Here are a few major signs of your dishwasher dying:

Age of your Dishwasher

As I mentioned earlier, a dishwasher can last around 9 years before it needs a replacement so if you own a dishwasher who has surpassed 8-9 years of age, then you might want to get it checked once and see if there are any repairs needed.

If your dishwasher is still working and is just a little worn out then replacing a few parts would be enough to get it working smoothly again. If it needs more intense repair then you might be better buying a replacement for it.

Dishwasher has a drainage issue

Check your dishwasher after every cycle and make sure that there is no water pooling at the bottom of your dishwasher. If you find a large puddle of water then your dishwasher might have a drainage problem which could be because either your drain is clogged or there is some problem with the dishwasher.

However, it might not always mean that your appliance is damaged and more often than not it actually suggests a clog in your drain so make sure you get it repaired before it creates a huge problem for your appliance. If left unchecked, it can damage your floors and lead to inefficient dish cleaning.

Dishwasher isn’t hot enough

For dishwashers to clean the dishes placed inside of them, they need to perform at a certain temperature in order to kill the germs. If somehow the dishwasher’s heating element breaks then your dishwasher won’t be able to maintain a required temperature that is needed to kill the germs on your dishes and can, in turn, make you fall sick.

You can easily determine if your dishwasher’s heating element is working or not, just touch your dishes immediately after a dishwasher cycle and if they feel cool to you then you have a problem. If the problem is serious then you might also need to think about replacing your dishwasher.

Dishes aren’t cleaned properly

Can you see dirt and food stick stuck to your dishes? If yes, then your dishwasher is most likely not able to clean your dishes because the circulation motor is dying. A circulation motor is responsible for high water pressure which helps in cleaning the dishes usually gets work out after 5-7 years of use.

So, if your dishwasher is old then there is a chance that your motor has worn out and needs replacement which can set you back by a couple of hundred dollars.

Dishwasher smells weird

One of the most important sign to look out for in your dishwasher is a bad smell. Although this sign doesn’t mean that you need to replace your dishwasher but it certainly means that your dishwasher has grease, oil, food particles, etc. stuck inside your unit which is the reason for this bad smell.

Now you don’t want your dishes to have a weird smell too so try cleaning your dishwasher and remove all the accumulated sludge. You might also need to call repair service to get this fixed.

Dishwasher has rust and cracks

A lot of people don’t realize that their rusting or cracking from places which could end up leading to a lot of problems. If your dishwasher has a crack then the water can spill out of the dishwasher and onto your floor and can make everything really messy for you. Similarly, if your dishwasher is rusting from some area then it means that there is a leak in your appliance and both of these issues can cause severe damage to your dishwasher.

So make sure you always keep a check on your dishwasher and report whenever you see a crack or rust in order to prevent further damage.

Dishwasher has a broken door latch

A lot of times your dishwasher’s door latch might stop working which could either mean a simple fix or a complete replacement of your dishwasher. If your entire unit has been damaged and your appliance is not working well anymore then the door latch cannot be fixed and will not be able to hold the water inside the appliance.

This can lead to floor damage if not taken care of immediately.

Dishwasher has trouble starting

Another important sign of drying dishwasher is that you might have trouble starting your dishwasher on several occasions. Sometimes your dishwasher will just make a motor noise and sometimes it won’t even do that. This could often mean that either the motor has been worn out or damaged or there is some loose wiring connection which prevents the dishwasher from starting.

Sometimes the dishwasher parts like pumps, belts, motors, etc. could also be jammed which could cause the dishwasher to not start.

Dishwasher makes a lot of noise

If you find that your dishwasher is making a lot of noise then it means that some of your dishwasher components might be damaged and are hitting each other or there is something jammed inside your appliance. Both of these scenarios aren’t good and if not fixed immediately can cause permanent damage to your dishwasher which would ultimately lead to the replacement of the entire unit.

Dishwasher is leaking water

Let’s face it, if your dishwasher is leaking water then there are good chances that there is a crack or damage in your appliance which is why it is not able to hold in the water anymore. This is a serious issue because water flooding on your floor can cause floor damage so make sure you check what is causing the leak and fix it quickly.

More Repair Guides:

Fixing Your Dying Dishwasher

Now that you know a little more about the various signs of dishwasher breaks, you will be able to fix your dishwasher more efficiently and if careful then you can avoid replacing your unit as well.

To fix your dying dishwasher, you will need to follow the below steps:

Determine the Issue with your Dishwasher

Before you can fix your dishwasher, you need to identify the root cause of this issue. There are several causes of a damaged dishwasher and if you pay attention, you can easily figure it out. Just turn on the dishwasher and look carefully to see the signs and symptoms that prove to you that your dishwasher is not working properly.

You can refer to the above-mentioned signs and symptoms to learn the dishwasher component that needs the fix. Once you have figured it out, you can go ahead with the repair.

Turn off the Dishwasher

Make sure that you turn off the dishwasher and switch off the power supply to your dishwasher before you start fixing it. This is important because if you aren’t careful then you might accidentally turn on the dishwasher and end up hurting yourself.

So make sure that the dishwasher is completely turned off when you are repairing the broken parts of your dishwasher.

Replace the damaged parts

Once you have switched off the dishwasher and collected the necessary replacements parts for your dishwasher, you can make the repair. It is easy to know the replacement part once you recognize the reason for your dishwasher’s damaged working. If your dishwasher is leaking then you would need to fix the leaks and the cracks, if your dishwasher isn’t turning hot then the heating element is damaged.

Once you have the replacement part, you can simply remove the old part and install the new one with the help of an instruction manual.

Tighten the loose connections

Once all the damaged parts of the dishwasher have been replaced, you need to check the circuit connection of your appliance and make sure that there aren’t any loose wiring in your dishwasher. This means the checking for the electrical power cord as well and ensuring that the cord is frayed or cracked from places.

Clean your Dishwasher

Now, clean your dishwasher properly and get rid of all the stuck food bits, grease, and oil. Use a mild soapy solution and if needed then use a white vinegar solution to get rid of the bad odor in your dishwasher.

Rinse the dishwasher with clean water and then let it dry before you start using it.

Test the Dishwasher

Finally, you can plug in the dishwasher and turn it on to check if the damage has been fixed or not. Your dishwasher should work properly now without any weird noise and should clean your dishes properly.

If you still experience trouble with your dishwasher then you need to call a technician to take a look at it.

Tips and Tricks to Keep your Dishwasher working

Here are a few maintenance and repair tricks to fix your dishwasher and keep it running smoothly:

Regular Check-Ups

One of the most important ways to prevent your dishwasher from dying is by making sure you get your dishwasher regularly checked. You can either do this yourself at home or call a technician to take a look. Make sure that you report any small damage as soon as you see it and get it repaired before it escalates into a bigger issue.

Clean the Dishwasher

Cleaning your dishwasher daily will ensure that it doesn’t smell and all the stuck food and grease gets removed from inside your dishwasher which can often affect the working of your dishwasher. This will help in keeping your dishwasher working smoothly and smell-free.

How to Clean a Smelly Dishwasher


Repair the damages as soon as possible

Whenever you come across a leak or a crack or some other damaged dishwasher part, make sure that you get it repaired quickly and don’t wait around too long before fixing your dishwasher. You can try to fix it yourself or you can call a technician but don’t put off the repair as it can cause a lot of damage to your dishwasher.

Lubricate the motor

One of the main reasons why dishwashers often stop working is because of the jammed or rusty dishwasher motor. However, this is easily solvable by lubricating the motor with a good quality lubricant so make sure you do it regularly. This will allow your motor to run freely and will ensure a smooth running of your dishwasher.

Unclog the Drain Pipes

A lot of time the dishwasher starts pooling water at the bottom of the dishwasher because the drain pipes connected to the dishwasher are clogged. This is why regular cleaning of your drain pipes and keeping it unclogged will help you in protecting your dishwasher from drainage issues.