Troubleshooting Tips for Dishwashers from Major Appliances in Calgary

Minimize the possibility of electric shock. Unplug the appliance from the power supply or disconnect power at the circuit breaker before attempting any maintenance or cleaning.

Poor Wash Performance

  • Check the wash cycle selection. Select the appropriate cycle for the dish load. Selecting a short or light wash cycle may save water and energy, but may not provide proper wash action for a heavily soiled load. If food soils remain on the dishware after the cycle, a longer cycle may be required.
  • Check the water temperature. Proper water temperature is essential to achieve optimum results from your dishwasher and the detergent. Hot water is needed to dissolve and activate the detergent so that it can loosen and remove common food soils.
  • The hot water heater should be set to deliver at least 120 degree Fahrenheit water to the dishwasher. To check the water temperature, run the hot water at the kitchen sink and measure the temperature of the running water with a candy or meat thermometer. Adjust the temperature of the water heater accordingly.
  • To be sure that the dishwasher is filling with the hottest possible water, run the hot water faucet at the kitchen sink prior to operating the dishwasher. Also, avoid running the dishwasher while hot water is being used for other activities.
  • Use the added heat options to increase water temperature inside of the dishwasher. For example, use "Added Heat" or "Wash Heat Boost" or similar options if your dishwasher is equipped with these features. If water temperature is still a problem on models with a dial timer, use the "Hot Start" cycle or one of the other extended wash cycles. The Hot Start cycle runs the dishwasher about 30 minutes prior to the start of the main part of the wash cycle. This heats up the dishwasher and everything in it to improve wash performance.
  • Check the amount of detergent and the water hardness. The amount of detergent needed depends upon: water hardness, the amount of food soils left on the dish load, and the temperature of the water going into the dishwasher. Do not use liquid detergents such as JoyTM or IvoryTM that are not made for automatic dishwashers.
  • Use a Rinse Agent. Rinse agents such as Jet Dry® promote wash and dry performance by causing the water to sheet off of the ware inside the dishwasher. This prevents water spots from forming on the glassware and dishware.
  • Check the dishwasher loading. Make sure dishes are loaded properly to insure that water can reach all of the soiled surfaces in both racks.

Loading Guidelines

  • Make sure that larger items do not block smaller items from the wash action.
  • Place all items in both racks so that they are separated and face the center of the dishwasher. This will help to ensure that water reaches all soiled surfaces.
  • Place glasses with the open end facing downward to allow proper washing action.
  • Do not place glasses over the tines, but rest between the tines. This will allow the glasses to lean toward the spray arm and will improve wash performance. It also promotes dry performance by reducing the amount of water remaining on the top of the glass after the wash cycle is complete.
  • Do not allow flatware to nest. This prevents proper water distribution between the surfaces. Load flatware, except knives, with some handles up and some down to prevent nesting. For safety, knives should always be loaded handles up.
  • Avoid placing items over the retractable tower area in the lower rack. This tower provides wash action to the upper rack.
  • Do not block wash system parts including spray arms and towers located in the lower and/or upper racks.

Door Will Not Latch

  • Close the door and check both sides and the top of the door. Is the door hitting the cabinets or screws under the counter?
  • On new dishwashers it may be necessary to PUSH-IN on the top center of the control panel while latching door. New gaskets may not yet have had an opportunity to seat. Up to ten dishwasher cycles may be required for wash heat to help seat the gasket. The gasket will become more pliable after a few uses.
  • Check rack loading. Make sure all items are within the racks and do not stick out beyond the front or back of the dishwasher racks.
  • Make sure nothing -such as silverware or other small items- obstructs the closing of the door.

Will Not Run

  • Press start/resume
  • Open and close door – previous cycle may not have ended.
  • Make sure the dishwasher door is latched correctly and tightly. Re-latch the door on throw latch models. Open the door and firmly close the door on models with a snap latch.
  • Motor may have stopped due to an overload. Wait a few minutes and try again.
  • Make sure the power switch is in the "ON" position if the dishwasher is controlled by a wall switch.
  • Make sure the power cord is plugged into the wall if the installer attached a power cord.
  • Make sure the child lockout feature is turned "OFF" if your dishwasher model has electronic controls with a child lockout feature.
  • Check the home fuses or the circuit breaker if there is no sound at all after attempting to start the dishwasher.
  • If a new dishwasher is making a slight humming noise but will not run, try adding one pint of hot tap water and allow it to run for five minutes.

Excessive Sudsing

  • Make sure that the right type and amount of detergent is used: Using the wrong type or too much detergent can cause over-sudsing and leaks or flooding conditions. Only detergent specifically designed for automatic dishwashers such as Electrasol®, Cascade® or Cascade Complete® should be used.
  • Incorrect use of rinse agents: Spills of liquid rinse aid can cause sudsing and water leaks. If rinse aid is spilled while filling, clean immediately with a damp cloth.
  • Leaks could also occur when using a solid rinse aid because it is dispensed throughout the entire cycle instead of when it is needed in the final rinse.
  • Rinse agents can cause sudsing when using very soft water to wash dishes. If you have a water softener and get sudsing, consider discontinuing use of rinse aid.

Door Leaks

  • Door leak on a new dishwasher: The dishwasher will have to go through a several complete wash cycles to seat the door gasket.
  • Check to Make sure the edge of the control panel is not hitting the adjacent cabinet. The door may give enough to latch, but not enough to form a tight seal. Reposition the dishwasher so it does not make contact the cabinet.
  • Inspect the door gasket for tears, cuts, and wear. If there are any tears, cuts, or wear, the door gasket may need to be replaced.
  • Make sure that the holes in the spray arm are clear. Particles of food, detergent or mineral deposits can deflect water out the front door. Holes or splits on the side of a spray arm can also cause this.

Poor Drying

  • Note: some water remaining in the bottom of the dishwasher after completion of a dry cycle is normal.
  • Water entering the dishwasher should be between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit for best wash and dry performance. Run the faucet closest to the dishwasher prior to starting the dishwasher to purge cold water from the hot water line. Learn how to test your water temperature. .
  • Try unloading the lower rack first. Water from the upper rack can spill on the lower rack, making the lower rack dishes wet.
  • Make sure that dishes are not touching. Fancy cookware can also keep dishes from drying properly. For example, dimples, indents or etching allows water to pool resulting in dishes remaining wet at the end of the cycle, they may require shaking off the water.
  • Do not overload dishes.
  • Check the rinse aid dispenser and fill it if it is empty. Rinse aids prevent spots on glasses and promote drying by causing water to sheet off dishware and glassware.
  • Use "Heated dry". This feature adds heat to promote drying. If you do not want to use "Heated dry", open the dishwasher door several inches immediately after the dishwasher turns off. This allows the warm moist air to escape the dishwasher and speeds up energy saving drying. If you do not open the door when using the energy saving dry feature, dry times will be long.
  • Use the available heat options on your dishwasher. Any that add heat will improve dry performance.
  • Use one of the cycles designed for heavy soil. These cycles add more heat than the "Normal" cycle and as a result, may improve drying performance.

Does Not Drain

  • Some water, usually one to two cups, remaining in the bottom of the tub is normal. However, if water is covering the bottom of the tub, the dishwasher is not draining properly.
  • Check for paper or large objects covering or blocking the sump area in the rear of the tub.
  • Make sure that the right type and amount of detergent is used: Using the wrong type or too much detergent can cause sudsing that can prevent the dishwasher from draining.
  • Check disposer plug. If a garbage disposer has been recently installed, it is possible the disposer drain plug was not removed. The drain plug is a plastic piece in the disposer that blocks the hole where the dishwasher hose connects.
  • Make sure the kitchen sink drain is not clogged. The dishwasher typically drains into the kitchen sink drain or a garbage disposer. If the dishwasher drains into a garbage disposer, run the disposer to clear the drain system. You should always turn on your garbage disposer prior to running the dishwasher to clean out any food or debris within the drain system.
  • Check drain hose where it connects below the sink for blockage or a kink in the hose. New dishwashers come with a white corrugated drain hose, which should be used. Re-using old, worn out drain hoses may promote kinking and blockage.
  • Sometimes perceived "no drain" problems are not "no drain" problems at all, but back flow of water from the sink or some other device into the dishwasher. Without a high drain loop or air gap, dirty water from the sink can flow into the dishwasher.


  • Clunking sound: This will occur once during the wash cycle. It is the detergent cup opening at the beginning of main wash, which is about ½ way through the complete cycle. This is normal.
  • Clicking sounds: Timer model dishwashers and some models with electronic controls will make clicking sounds as the dishwasher progresses through its cycle. The sounds are heard coming from the control panel. These sounds are normal.
  • Clicking/grinding sound in control panel: some models of dishwashers with electronic controls have a motor driven electrical switching device in the control panel. This type of sound will be heard when the dishwasher is changing cycles, for example, when the dishwasher moves from circulation mode to pump-out mode. The sound is normal.
  • Rhythmic knocking sound: most likely caused by the spray arm hitting something inside the dishwasher as the spray arm rotates. To solve the problem, rearrange dishware inside the dishwasher to provide clearance for the spray arms. The spray arms must be free to rotate for good wash performance.
  • Swishing noise: the dishwasher will make a swishing noise as the water is sprayed around inside the tub during the rinse cycles and the main wash. You are hearing the powerful wash action of your GE manufactured dishwasher. This is a normal sound.
  • Rattling noise: While the dishwasher is in operation, the water action can cause the dishes to rattle, and lightweight plastic objects can be forced out of the rack. Make sure the dishes and utensils are secure and not banging together.
  • A snapping sound while running: A dishwasher fills and drains several times during the washing and rinsing cycles. Each time it begins to drain, a solenoid energizes, causing a definitive snapping sound. This will happen about six times during each run cycle depending on the model and options selected. This is normal.
  • Snapping sounds while opening the door: It is normal to hear a snapping sound when opening the door of models that have a hinged detergent cup lid that you push to close. The soap cup only opens to a 90 degree angle when in the wash cycle. When the door is opened at the end of the cycle you may hear a snap as the cup opens fully. The sound is normal.
  • Squealing, rattling pump noise: If the dishwasher is new, it may not have any water in it. This can cause a "squeal" or "rattling" sound the first time it is used. The sound may also occur if the dishwasher is run after an extended period of time without any use. Add one quart of water to the bottom of the tub and the noise should go away.
  • Humming noise: The dishwasher motor may make humming sounds during operation that are normal.