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4 simple solutions to dishwasher problems

Dishwashers can break from time to time, but you don’t always need to call a professional. Read on to solve your simple dishwasher problems.


dishwasher with clean dishes

Key steps:

  • Always consult your dishwasher’s manual before trying to fix any simple problems with your dishwasher yourself.
  • If you think there is a serious fault with your dishwasher, it’s always best to seek the advice of a professional plumber.

Some of us couldn’t live without our trusted dishwasher – the noble steed that dutifully washes the dishes each night! When you discover a problem with your dishwasher and suddenly have to start washing dishes by hand again, it can be a bit of a nightmare. So we’ve complied a handy guide on how to fix simple problems with dishwashers, without calling out a professional. From dealing with dishwasher cleaning problems, to loud, rattling noises – we’re here to help you save your dishwasher!

Cleaning your dishwasher once a month will help to keep it running efficiently. All you need to do is make sure the machine is empty, then pop a jug of white vinegar on the bottom rack and run the machine on a hot wash.

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4 common problems with dishwashers & how to solve them

  • My dishwasher is making loud noises

If dishes are touching each other or a utensil has fallen out of the cutlery basket, your machine could be making a rattling noise. To prevent this from happening, make sure you load your dishwasher correctly. Check out our guide to find out the best way to load a dishwasher.

Also make sure your dishwasher is positioned on a flat, level surface. If it’s tipping back and fourth because of an uneven surface this could be the cause of the noise.

  • My dishwasher won’t start

It may seem like an obvious answer, but make sure the door is shut properly; the machine won’t be able to begin a cycle otherwise. Other quick fixes are to make sure the dishwasher is plugged in – you never know the wire may have accidentally been pulled out – and to make sure the switch is on at the wall.

The filter on the water supply hose may also be blocked – limescale could be the culprit of the blockage. Consult your dishwasher manual to locate the supply hose and clean it, following the manual’s instructions.

Another issue could be that the fuse has tripped. Look in your manual for instructions on locating the fuse and determining whether it is functioning properly. If you do have a blown fuse, then call a professional to replace it.

  • My dishes don’t come out of the dishwasher clean

Problems with dishwashers not cleaning dishes can be caused by a number of different reasons. Check the following:

Are you overloading your machine? Check the dishwasher’s manual for instructions on its capacity.

Are you using the right detergent? Make sure you’re using a good quality detergent, whether it be tablets or powder.

Do you scrape off food remains before loading dishes into the dishwasher? Scrape left over food particles into the food waste bin and rinse any particularly heavily stained dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.


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Do you have hard water in your area? If so you may need to use a special rinsing agent as hard water can leave a film on dishes after they’ve been cleaned.


Do you need to clean the spray arm? If the spray arm needs cleaning it could be preventing your dishes from getting a proper wash. Twirl the spray arm to check it spins freely – remove any debris that could be preventing it from spinning. Then remove the arm and clean it with warm water and dishwashing detergent. Consult your manual for instructions on how to remove the spray arm on your exact model.

  • Water isn’t draining from my dishwasher

If your dishwasher isn’t draining water it could have a blocked filter. Consult your manual and locate the filter. Take it out, wash it under the tap, and give it a good scrub. You should do this regularly – about once a month – to prevent blockages.


Another cause could be that the kitchen sink is clogged, if you think this is the root of the problem – reach for the plunger and get plunging!


Now, hopefully, your dishwasher is back in good working order and you’ve been saved from washing piles of dishes by hand! And, next time your dishwasher decides not to work, you’ll be prepared with these handy tips for solving simple problems with dishwashers.

Originally published