Dishwashers are a luxury that not everyone can afford, but if you have one, it makes washing dishes a whole lot easier. However, there are times when dishwashers are not as helpful as they should be. They break down, leaving you with a pile of dirty dishes.

If you’re struggling to get your dishwasher to work, check out these tips for troubleshooting common dishwasher problems.

Dishes Aren’t Coming Out Clean

Dirt and grime can build up on the sprayer arms in the bottom of your dishwasher over time. This can prevent water from reaching all areas of your dishes, leading to spots and streaks on your plates. To fix this problem, run a cycle without any dishes to flush away dirt and grime. Then wipe down the sprayer arms with a sponge or cloth dipped in vinegar until they’re clean.

Another reason your dishes aren’t clean could be that the drain pump is blocked by debris. This can cause your dishwasher not to drain properly and flood your kitchen floor with water. Check around the bottom of your dishwasher where it drains and ensure there isn’t any debris blocking it from draining into the sewer or septic tank below.

Dishwasher Doesn’t Run

When your dishwasher stops running for any reason, it’s concerning, and you want to find out why. Here are some of the most common reasons why your dishwasher may not run:

  • It’s plugged into the wrong power source. If your dishwasher isn’t getting any power, it won’t work. So, make sure that it’s plugged into the right outlet, whether that’s a regular outlet or a dedicated circuit in your kitchen or laundry room.
  • The water supply line is kinked or clogged. First, you’ll have to remove the drain hose from your sink and clean out any debris that might have accumulated. This can be done by using a pair of needle-nose pliers or another tool to pull out any blockage in the hose. Then reattach the hose to its fitting underneath your sink.
  • The door latch is broken or sticking. If you can’t get your door closed all the way, try cleaning out any dirt that might prevent it from engaging correctly with its catch on the dishwasher door frame.

Dishwasher Doesn’t Fill

If you’ve recently noticed that your dishwasher won’t fill, it could indicate an issue with your inlet valve or float arm.

Inlet valves are responsible for regulating water flow into your dishwasher. If the valve is broken, it may not let water into the machine when needed. The float arm signals when the machine is full and needs to stop filling. This means that if either of these parts is broken, your dishwasher won’t fill properly.
The most common reason for a broken float arm or inlet valve is simple wear and tear over time. Both parts are made from plastic, which means they can break if dropped on hard surfaces or handled roughly by children or pets. This type of damage will often lead to leaks and problems with filling and draining cycles.

Dishwasher Doesn’t Drain

The drain hose is the first thing to check when your dishwasher isn’t draining. If the hose has a kink or a hole, water can’t get out of the machine, and it’ll stay full of water.

A clogged hose can be cleared by pouring hot water into the drain hose. If this doesn’t work, try using a plunger on the end of the hose. If this doesn’t work, try running hot water through it while cleaning your sink.
If this doesn’t work and you have a dishwasher with an overflow tube, check to see if it is blocked. The overflow tube allows water to drain out when too much water is in the tub. If this tube is blocked by debris, use a pair of pliers to pull out any debris blocking it.

If none of these things seem to fix your problem, you may have a broken pump or motor in your dishwasher that needs to be replaced.

Dishwasher Smells Bad

Sometimes, no matter how well you clean your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher, the appliance can still leave behind a lingering stench.

Most often, it’s caused by food residue on the door gasket or in the filter. The gasket seals around the door to keep water inside and prevent leaks, but when it gets dirty, it smells like mildew.
This is mainly due to lack of hot water. A dishwasher needs hot water for sanitizing and cleaning.

The solution? Make sure you’re using enough hot water when you run your dishwasher. The amount varies depending on what cycle you choose (some use more than others), so check your owner’s manual for specifics.
Got a dishwasher problem? Call the plumbing professionals at JW Plumbing, Heating and Air.

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