A broken or problematic dishwasher can really throw a wrench in your daily routine. From worrying noise to leaks or still-dirty dishes, you may be thinking about calling for dishwasher repairs. But before you pick up the phone, stop and make sure the problem isn’t something you can easily solve.

Dishwashers need a little home maintenance between part replacements and tune-ups. There are a few things that are easy for any resident to do that don’t require expertise or special safety precautions. Try these five troubleshooting steps before scheduling a repair for your dishwasher. 

Dishwasher Troubleshooting Checklist

1) The Dishwasher Door

If the dishwasher door doesn’t close correctly, then the dishwasher won’t start. These are things you can check for at home.

  • Door Latch
    • Check the door latch. See if the door clicks shut when you press it closed. If the click is absent, this could explain why your dishwasher won’t start or isn’t sealing.
  • Door Handle
    • Check the door handle to see if it is whole and functional. Does it depress when you press it? Does it actuate the door latch? If not, there may be something obscuring or sticky that can be cleaned away.
  • Door Seal
    • Check the gasket seal around the door. If it is hard or twisted or otherwise damaged, this may be the cause of your problem. Consider washing, rubbing with petroleum jelly, or replacing if there is anything wrong with the gasket.

2) The Spinning Arms

The spinning arms of your dishwasher are its primary way to wash. If your dishes aren’t getting properly clean, or if you’re hearing clunking sounds, it may be the spinning arms.

  • Obstructions
    • Check for anything keeping the arms from spinning. Do this every time you load the dishwasher to make sure that nothing sticks up or sticks out into the path of the spinning arms. Just give them a spin and see if anything’s in the way.
  • Clogged Nozzles
    • If your house runs hard water, the nozzles can clog with chalky minerals. If water isn’t spraying, or if you see the residue, wipe down your nozzles with vinegar. Vinegar melts the residue. Running the dishwasher with a cup of vinegar in the top tray.

3) The Drain and Filter

If the wash water can’t drain, then the food particles can’t wash away and the dishes won’t get fully clean. You may also notice puddling or food debris in the bottom of the dishwasher.

  • Debris
    • Clear any debris in the bottom of the dishwasher. Dishwashers can usually deal with small particles but large things like lettuce leaves and plastic can blog your dishwasher’s ability to drain.
  • Filter
    • The dishwasher filter is underneath a cover on the dishwasher floor. Pull it out and clean it in the sink. It may have become clogged or damaged.

4) Drain Hose

  • Check where the dishwasher drain hose connects underneath your sink to be sure the hose is clear and is not leaking.

5) Power Supply

Finally, make sure that your dishwasher is getting power if it has been unresponsive. Your dishwasher’s breaker may have blown or the plug may have shaken out of the outlet.

  • Wall Connection
    • If you can see the dishwasher’s wall connection, make sure the plug is still firmly in place and looks correct. 
  • Breaker
    • Finally, check to see if the dishwasher’s breaker has been thrown. In most cases, flipping the breaker off and on should restore the power.

Keeping your dishwasher in good condition is something that almost any adult can do. Many of the things that go wrong with a dishwasher don’t need complex or electrical repairs. Simply by taking care of the components, you can extend the life of your dishwasher and resolve performance problems. Contact us today for more repair insights or a consultation on your appliance repair needs.

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