When your Whirlpool dishwasher not washing dishes like it used to, it can be difficult to figure out what might be wrong. Is there a malfunctioning part of the dishwasher? Do you need to run the cleaning cycle? Is it because you’re loading your Whirlpool dishwasher incorrectly? It’s not enough to know that there are problems with the machine, you also need to know what to do about it before you can start troubleshooting.
We’ll look at the top reasons your Whirlpool dishwasher is not cleaning dishes so you can identify the problem and resolve it quickly.
Why Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Washing – Troubleshoot and Diagnosis
Dishwashers (and their dish-cleaning ability) are a serious issue for most of us. They can be exceptionally useful in getting rid of the colossal piles of dirty dishes that keep stacking up, and they’re great for keeping some of the dishes we use every day more sanitary and tidy.
So you might be suffering from a problem when it comes to your Whirlpool dishwasher not washing dishes. We’ve created this guide to walk you through why this could be happening in the first place. This way, you can eliminate all of the reasons that may be causing it in the first place. And then fix whatever’s causing your dishwasher to not clean dishes properly.
Door is Not Closed Properly
Close the dishwasher door firmly and evenly, making sure it latches properly. The dishwasher will not start until the door is closed. If the lower rack is loose or has been stored strangely, it can interfere with the door’s ability to latch. Make sure the lower rack is pushed all the way back, so it does not touch the door as you close it.
If the latch is broken or missing altogether, you may need to replace it.
Water Supply Problem
Check the dishwasher water shutoff valve. This is usually located underneath your kitchen sink, and is a small lever or knob that your home’s water supply connects to. Check to make sure it’s fully open, and don’t forget to close it when you’re done with the cleaning process.
To make sure your dishwasher gets clean water, make sure the water supply is turned on. If there’s no water, or if you have low pressure, check your kitchen faucet. If you don’t have enough water pressure, then open the kitchen sink faucet. You should also confirm that the main water supply is on, otherwise, the dishwasher won’t run.
In some models of Whirlpool Dishwashers, you may see the F6 Error code if it is facing water supply issue.
Check Power Supply
If your circuit breaker has tripped, shut off the power at the main circuit panel and wait for 15 minutes before flipping it back on. It can take up to 20 minutes after you turn off the breaker for power to completely leave your home.
A circuit breaker is a safety switch. If the circuit breaker trips, look at it to see if there are any issues. If you have checked that there are no issues and the breaker still trips, then you should call an electrician for help.
If your dishwasher is wall-mounted, make sure the switch is in the ON position.
Dishes Not Loaded Correctly
A common user error that can cause a Whirlpool dishwasher to perform poorly occurs during the loading process. Overloading a dishwasher will cause dishes to overlap, leaving water areas uncovered and thus dirty. In addition, placing large items in the way of the spray arms can prevent it from being able to reach all dishes as designed.
Here’s how to load the Whirpool dishwasher correctly for better washing performance:
- Consult your dishwasher’s user manual for specific instructions on loading.
- In general, however, be sure to leave enough room between utensils and bowls that they can be drawn into their own separate sections of the machine. Shorter items like cups and glasses should face outward toward the middle.
- With tall items like trays or pots, make sure they don’t obstruct water spray or hand wash them to avoid clogging the drain hose.
Lack of Hot Water
Hot water is better than cold water. When you wash your dishes, hot water can break down and remove tough stains and food particles — like burnt-on spaghetti sauce. If you notice your dishwasher leaving residue behind on dishes, run a diagnostic test to make sure it’s not due to a lack of hot water.
To test the temperature of your water, fill a glass with it and check the temperature.
The dishwasher will not clean dishes unless the water temperature is at least 120°F, which is hot enough to sanitize dishes. However, if your home’s hot water temperature is lower than 120°F, you may notice some spots on glasses or streaks on dishes.
If your dishwasher doesn’t run as efficiently as it should, here’s what to do:
- Increase the temperature of your home’s water heater to 120°F.
- Ensure that hot and cold water lines under the sink are correctly positioned.
- Run hot water in the kitchen sink before turning on the dishwasher — this ensures that the water entering the dishwasher is already hot.
CONTROL LOCK is ON
If you haven’t run a cycle in a while and need to step away from your dishwasher, or if you want to make sure that nobody else snoops around and messes with your settings, there’s the control lock. The control lock disables all controls except for the power button — which is what you want if you need to take a break from the machine or if you don’t want people fiddling with your settings.
If you’re not sure whether your dishwasher’s ‘Control Lock’ option is on, simply press a cycle button on the keypad. If the light is blinking three times (indicating that ‘Control Lock’ is enabled), pressing one of the cycle buttons will start a new wash.
Press and hold the power button for four seconds to turn off the control lock. The lock light will blink once after four seconds to let you know the control lock is turned off. Also, you can reset the Whirlpool Dishwasher.
Faulty Water inlet valve
The inlet valve is a simple switch-like part in the dishwasher that allows water to enter. When it’s clogged, you will find your dishwasher struggling to clean dishes properly. When the inlet valve malfunctions, you need to check and replace it immediately. Do not try to clean or repair this part — doing so could only damage the part further and reduce its lifespan.
Defective Circulation Pump
If your dishwasher fills but doesn’t run an additional cycle, the circulation pump motor may be burned out or damaged. If it makes a clicking or grinding noise, replace it right away to avoid further damage to the dishwasher.
You can test the dishwasher circulation motor easily, by performing this simple multimeter test to prove whether it’s running or not. Here is How to do it:
- Open the dishwasher door and disconnect the machine from the electrical outlet. Usually, it’s easier to do this when the machine is not in a built-in unit.
- At the bottom of the machine, there should be a wire connecting to a copper motor housing.
- Use the multimeter to check the motor.
- It should be reading zero or close to zero in resistance in order to pass this test.
- The ground connection should also be zero.
- If the motor fails the above test, replace it.
Defective Wash Arms
Your kitchen’s dishwasher is an indispensable appliance, but when it doesn’t work properly, it can be an expensive painin the neck. One problem that frequently goes unnoticed is clogged wash arms.
Wash arms are a crucial part of dishwasher design. Their holes release water under great pressure, so they need to be kept free from food particles and debris in order for your machine to do its job. Small food particles can clog your dishwasher’s wash arm holes and prevent water from flowing freely. This prevents the arm from spinning smoothly and properly cleaning your dishes. Check behind your wash arm and clean out any clogs as soon as you see them to avoid poor performance and dirty dishes.
After you’ve placed your dishes in the washing tub, use a toothpick or some other small picking device to remove any debris present. This helps the dishwasher’s sensors judge how dirty your dishes are and adjusts its cycle accordingly, preventing over- and under-soaking of the dishes.
If you have hard water, this can lead to the buildup of mineral deposits on your dishes. This is because high levels of calcium or magnesium can clog the dishwasher’s jets, which are what squirts the water at the dishes. That can cause water to pool rather than spray onto your dishes, leading to a longer cycle time. It could even lead your machine to not clean as well as it should.
Clean your dishwasher’s wash arms overnight using vinegar and baking soda. To make this easier, pour equal parts of vinegar and baking soda into a small bowl, dip in a toothbrush, and scrub the wash arms with it. Once you’re done, pour some vinegar into the detergent dispenser and run an empty load once a month to prevent mineral buildup.
Broken Wash Arms
A water distribution tube runs from the body of the dishwasher to the wash arm, carrying water to all parts of the machine. Food debris can sometimes collect in this tube and obstruct water flow, resulting in a lack of water flowing through the wash arms. With such little space inside the cabinet, it’s also possible for a utensil to slip away from where you placed it and become lodged during a wash or rinse cycle, preventing the wash arm from moving.
It can damage the wash arm. if you observe that wash arm is broken, then replace it.
Why Is My Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Cleaning The Dishes
When your Whirlpool dishwasher isn’t cleaning dishes, there are a number of possible causes. If you’re seeing the same problem over and over again, then the problem may be that you need to replace the filter. An obstruction in the filter can cause the water to back up and leave food particles lodged in your dishwasher’s filter. The easiest way to fix this is to purchase a replacement filter for your model and install it yourself.
If your dishwasher is not washing properly, first check the power supply and water source. Check for any leaks or a dishwasher that is not completely closed and latched. If that does not solve the problem, you may have an issue with the display on your dishwasher.
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.