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Troubleshooting 5 typical dishwasher problems

Troubleshooting 5 typical dishwasher problems

Published: June 14, 2016 Last Updated: March 16, 2022

Having problems with your dishwasher can put a serious strain on your routine. Dealing with a faulty dishwasher loaded with dirty dishes is not a fun experience but it doesn't have to ruin your day. We've put together a bunch of dishwasher troubleshooting tips to quickly fix some of the most common issues.

The dishwasher is mouldy or has white grease residue

  • Ensure drain filters are cleared of built-up food residue every few days.
  • Remove racks and drain filters and wash them with hot soapy water, using an old toothbrush to get in between the rails and inside the cutlery basket.
  • Pour 1 cup of vinegar into the bottom of the empty dishwasher and run through a hot cycle to remove mould and grease residue.
  • Make sure you leave the door open a crack when it's not in use to allow air to circulate and prevent future mould growth.
  • If the dishwasher is still mouldy you could run a hot cycle through the empty machine with a tablespoon of bleach to remove the last of the mould.
  • Check that the dishwasher is completely draining all the water at the end of the cycle as even a small amount of water left in the bottom can encourage mould growth.
  • Run the dishwasher regularly - don't leave dirty dishes in the dishwasher for days at a time, run a quick wash if you only have a part load.

No water

  • Check water supply is connected properly and is free of leaks or kinks in the hose pipe.
  • Test the door latch to ensure it is closing properly and clear of obstruction.
  • Ensure the float is clear and moving freely.

The dishwasher is not draining

  • Check for kinks, blockages or damage to the drain hose and connections.

Noisy dishwasher

  • Try the spray arm by giving it a spin to ensure it can move freely.
  • Remove any obstructions - often food, little pieces of plastic or small utensils get stuck underneath.
  • Clear and clean the drain and filter screens.

Not cleaning dishes well

  • Clean and clear drain filters.
  • Ensure the detergent dispenser isn't stuck or clogged and can open fully.
  • Clear the spray arms of any blockages to make sure water can be dispensed freely from spray outlet holes.
  • Only use a detergent specifically designed for dishwashers, washing liquid is not effective in a dishwasher and can cause it to produce excessive suds.
  • Use a rinse aid for premium washing results.

Still having dishwasher problems? It might be time to call in an experienced dishwasher repair technician.

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