You might not realize it, but your dishwasher needs you. A lot. It’s hard to wash dishes when there’s no one home to turn it on, so homeowners often take the appliance for granted. Eventually, though, there will come a time when you notice that the Dishwasher Not Cleaning Top Rack. There are a few things that could be causing this issue. The water temperature might be too hot or cold, or the dishwasher might be full of food particles, clogged spray arm, or it can be due to any other reason.
You just finished washing your dishes and you can see that there’s still grime on the top rack. Before calling a repairman, check the following possible problems and solutions to get your dishwasher back to its usual self—cleaning your dishes.
Dishwasher Not Cleaning Top Rack – Troubleshoot And Diagnosis
Below are solutions to the most common reasons dishes in your top rack are not being cleaned. Unplug your dishwasher before starting any repairs.
1. Upper Spray Arm is Obstructed
When your dishwasher does not clean the top rack, first check for obstructions. Tall items in the bottom rack can block the spray arm from rotating. The water coming out of the spray arm will not reach the top rack dishes.
If you load the dishwasher with tall items, make sure that the upper spray arm can spin freely. If it is blocked, either move the tall item or handwash the item instead.
2. Possible Clogged Under The Rack Propeller Jets
Have you ever wondered how dishwashers work? It is all about the spray jets! Good dishwashers use high-pressure jets of water to clean your dishes.
The water jets should be pointed directly at the dishes in order to have a good cleaning solution. In order for a dishwasher to be able to clean all of the dishes on top, it should have a jet sprayer underneath the top rack with a lot of different jets.
Hard water is a major issue in many places. When water is hard, the biggest problem is a buildup of minerals around the spray holes. When the water supplies minerals around the spray holes, it can cause restricted water flow. One or two partially clogged heads will make the water flow decrease.
You’ve got a problem with your dishwasher, but don’t worry! Here’s what you need to do: shut off the power before you start taking it apart. Remember that even if it looks like the dishwasher isn’t plugged in, you still need to turn it off!
If the water is delivered to the sprayer in the top rack, disconnecting it is easy; you’ll find that there’s a sprayer underneath.
See if the sprayers are working. If they clog, find and clean out the mineral build-up. Put the sprayer back on and make sure it’s working again.
3. Broken Spray Arm Seal
The seal on your dishwasher’s spray arm is supposed to prevent it from leaking, but if it breaks you’ll need to replace it. If your seal fails, water will simply leak out of the spray arm and away from the dishes in your top rack. Most dishwashers’ spray arm seals are relatively easy to work with and inexpensive to repair.
To fix the spray arm’s broken seal, follow these steps.
- Unplug the dishwasher
- Remove the top dishrack
- Locate the spray arm connector arm
- Remove the two screws that secure it to the cover
- Use a flat head screwdriver to pop off the connector arm
- Clean out the spray arm assembly with a damp cloth
- Refit the new seal onto the connector arm
- Secure it back onto the cover with its two screws
- Put the top dishrack back to its place
4. Clogged Spray Arm
Sometimes the upper spray arm can get clogged with hard water, detergent residue, or food. To fix this, follow these simple instructions:
- Remove Top Spray arm: To remove the top arm, you might have to use a ratchet and socket. You may need a different size socket depending on your dishwasher model. Once you get the arm off of the dishwasher, remove the clamp and arm from the side of the machine using a socket and ratchet.
- Clean the Spray Arm Holes: Once you remove the arm from the dishwasher, you’ll need a wire or hanger. Get steel wire if it’s a steel appliance or a cheap metal hanger if it’s a plastic appliance. Bend the wire or hanger so that it will fit inside of the jet holes and dislodge any food, minerals, or detergents stuck inside. If you need a wire and you’re not sure what size will fit, take it to the company’s store with you.
- Wash it: Next, take the wire and as much food and debris out of the dishwasher arm as you can. Then, soak the arm in white vinegar to clean it out and remove any extra food particles inside. You can either fill a sink with water and vinegar or use a baking dish to do this. Soak the arm for 10-15 minutes and then put it back into your dishwasher.
Check to see if your dishwasher is properly cleaning dishes. Turn it on and test the spray arm to see if this fixed the problem.
5. Low Water Pressure
If your dishwasher doesn’t clean dishes well at the top rack, you may have a problem with low water pressure.
The dishwasher’s water is usually distributed evenly between the bottom and upper racks. If your water pressure is low, there won’t be enough for both racks. The dishwasher’s bottom rack will probably get clean but the top one will stay dirty.
Low water pressure can be due to several reasons. We have given some of the most common causes below:
- Be wary of other activities that use water, such as running the dishwasher while someone takes a shower or runs a bath. This can cause low water pressure.
- If your dishwasher is not giving out enough pressure, it may be due to a kink in the hose. The hose runs from the dishwasher to the spigot. If you see that there’s a kink, unkink it by gently pulling it back and forth. This should return your normal pressure.
- Another problem with the water pressure could be due to a clog in the bottom filter compartment. This is preventing water from getting into circulation pump to provide you with the pressure you need.
To clean the Filter, Please follow below steps:
- Remove the upper and lower dishwasher rack: The lower rack needs to be slid out. To take the upper rack off, you need to remove the “stop clips.” You can do this by removing the tracks from the upper rack.
- Remove Cover: In order to access the filter, you’ll need to remove the cover that is screwed to the dishwasher. Generally, these covers are on the bottom of the dishwasher.
- Remove Waste Water: Once you remove the cover, you’ll see the filter compartment. If there is any water in this area, get it out right away. You don’t want it to get inside the machine, which can cause damage. To remove the water, use a turkey baster to get the water out easily.
- Clean the Filter Compartment: If food debris or gunk is in the filter compartment, remove it. Start by picking out any chunks with your hands. Then, clean the area with soap and water or a green cleaner. If there is any glass, use pliers to pull it out of the area.
- Clean Food Chopper: The food chopper is a blade that chops up food particles to prevent a pump from getting clogged. If the pump gets clogged, you will need to pop off the plastic gate (which is adhered to the machine with a screw) and drill out the screw. Then, remove the plastic gate.
You may have some food lodged in the chopper compartment. To get it out, remove as much food as you can with your hands and use a toothbrush to get the entire area clean.
- Clean other Parts: Take the filter cover and spray arm attachment out of your dishwasher, then carefully clean them in a sink. Be sure to clean the cover thoroughly because food particles and other objects can often get stuck to it.
- Place everything back to its place.
Let’s turn to the power drill. With drill bits, take out all the screws that are holding the dishwasher in place. If all seems good, plug in the dishwasher to make sure it’s actually fixed.
6. Faulty Water Inlet Valve
All of your dishes will be spotless after you run them through a dishwasher, but only if the dishwasher is equipped to do so. Check the parts mentioned earlier to ensure that they’re all in working order. If they’re not, the next possibility is a lack of steady water pressure or a complete lack of water.
The dishwasher’s sprayers are located on the top rack. To operate, there needs to be a lot of water pressure. All the water that the dishwasher uses comes from the water inlet valve. Before you attempt to replace or remove the water inlet valve, check for damage to the water hose.
If you notice a leak or a collapsed hose quickly replace it. You will need to contact the manufacturer of your dishwasher in order to get the information about the part you will be needing.
After checking everything and verifying that in fact that the water inlet valve is faulty and needs to be replaced you will want to be sure that you have all the right tools, supplies, and parts that are necessary to get started. Be sure that before you do any work that you turned off the breaker in your electric panel.
On the bottom of your dishwasher, you will find the water inlet valve. Removing it is tricky because it’s held down by screws. Use your tools, like a screwdriver, to remove the screws holding the bracket to the dishwasher frame. After you’ve pulled out the inlet valve, you’ll need to remove the hose clamp and then unscrew the old one.
In order to install the new valve, reverse the steps and button everything back up. Once you’ve re-powered the dishwasher, test to see if it runs smoothly.
7. Faulty Circulation Pump
If you hear your dishwasher filling with water and not spraying within the first 30 seconds, it’s most likely the circulation motor has failed.
Pumps are responsible for the water getting all the way to the top spray arms. If they’re not working, dishwashers can’t get dishes clean. Pumps can also be clogged and that will stop water from reaching the top arms and result in a dirty top rack.
If the clogs in the pump are visible, clear them off with a pipe cleaner or other tool. If the debris is not visible and the pump is getting power, it’s possible that the motor has malfunctioned. You should either replace the pump or the motor.
Why Is The Top Rack Of Dishwasher Not Cleaning
Occasionally, people report that the top rack of their dishwasher only has partially clean dishes and appliances. There are a number of causes for this. Dishwashers work by spraying a jet of water vertically through a dish rack, which causes the water to circulate and carries food particles away.
If there is an issue with the tub or sprayer arm, it will cause the water to not circulate properly and the food particles will stick to dishes.
Dishes On Top Rack Of Dishwasher Not Clean
It may be that detergent is not coming out of the dispenser properly. There could be a clog in the dispenser or a bad seal. Locate the dispenser and the top rack of the dishwasher and fill the dispenser with soap. Push the top rack to the top position.
My Dishwasher Doesn’t Clean The Top Rack
Cleaning the top rack starts with loading it correctly. Unlike other dishwashers, the wash arm on a Bosch dishwasher is not located below the upper rack but instead directly above it. To clean the top rack, you need to tilt it back, rinse, and load.
If the top rack is working correctly but the top dishes are not getting clean, you may need to replace the water valve filter. If the water is spraying out of the inside of the dishwasher and onto the top of the dishes, the filter may need to be replaced.
Hi there! I’m Sam Hendricks, and I’m a repair technician and expert. I created this website to help people like you save money and time by fixing your own appliances.
Over the years, I’ve seen people spend a lot of money on unnecessary repairs or replacements. That’s why I decided to share my expertise and create easy-to-follow guides for fixing appliances on your own.