Informational Guide

How To Fix a Dishwasher Not Spraying Water

Learn why a regular dishwasher stops spraying water. We look at the common causes and ways to solve this problem.

by Josh Mitchell

A dishwasher relies on sprayed water to thoroughly clean your dishes. If the system or parts become damaged, it leads to an inefficient cleaning cycle. If your dishwasher is not spraying water, read on to discover how to fix the issue.


Blocked or Clogged Spray Arm

Spray arms can typically be found in the dishwasher's top and bottom. Spin the arms to see if they move freely; if they can't, look for damage and consider replacing them. We recommend removing them according to manual instruction and inspecting the small holes for blockages; you can remove them with a wire or a toothpick.

According to the box instructions, if the issue is more in-depth, soak the arms in a limescale removal solution. Suppose you live in a hard water area and regularly encounter limescale build-up and blockages. In that case, we recommend installing water filters in your supply system.

Overloaded Dishwasher

When rushing to clean up after dinner, it is easy to overfill the dishwasher. Overfill can lead to inefficient water distribution and low-quality cleaning. Dishes that are too tall on the top rack can get in the way of spray arms and stop them from moving freely; remove them and either put them on the bottom shelf or handwash these dishes in the future.

Faulty Overfill Float Switch

The float switch on a dishwasher rises and falls with the water levels in your dishwasher to prevent it from overfilling. If you have too much or too little water in your dishwasher, you may have a faulty overfill float switch. We recommend inspecting or removing it according to manual instruction and ordering a manufacturer's replacement.

Water Supply Problem

Water issues can also be down to a water supply problem. Inspect the water valve on the wall and ensure it is properly open. If it is, check the dishwasher's water valve to make sure that it isn't clogged or leaking. If it is blocked, remove it with a wire or a toothpick. If it is leaking, try to repair it or consider replacing the part entirely.

Water Pressure Issue

Checking the valve outside your home and ensuring that it is properly open can help you fix a potential water pressure issue. If your tap cannot fill a 1 quart jug in 10 seconds, you may have a water pressure issue. The water level for most typically -20 to 120 PSI. If your pressure does not match this, your valve may need adjusting or replacing. Check the chopper area at the bottom and try unclogging or replacing that.

Clogged or broken dishwasher pump

You may want to try moving and inspecting your dishwasher pump for damage or clogging. If it is clogged, we recommend removing it and rinsing it in warm soapy water. If it is blocked, you can try using a vacuum. We recommend cleaning this twice a year to avoid build-up over time. If it is damaged or broken, we recommend replacing the pump as soon as possible.

Clogged water delivery tube

The water delivery tube is often located in your dishwasher's upper or middle spray arm. Especially in hard water areas, the water delivery tube can get clogged with limescale or debris. We recommend opening or removing it according to the manual and cleaning it with a toothpick, some wire, or your fingers. Washing it with clean soapy water may also help.

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How to Fix Your Dishwasher Not Spraying Water: Suggestive Tips by Brand

Depending on your dishwasher brand, the instructions for fixing your dishwasher might vary. We’ve linked to several helpful manuals to get you started on your specific brand. We’ve also listed other common dishwasher problems that can be solved with these guides.

1. Whirlpool dishwasher not spraying water

  • Not cleaning
  • Not drying
  • Not draining
  • Button or display not working
  • Leaking water
  • Blinking lights

2. GE dishwasher not spraying water

  • Door latch that won't work
  • Stuck soap dispenser
  • Water won't drain properly
  • Wash quality issues

3. Kenmore dishwasher not spraying water

  • Wash quality problems
  • Water leaks
  • Pump and motor issues
  • Electrical problems

4. Kitchenaid dishwasher not spraying water

  • Not cleaning
  • Not draining
  • Buttons not working
  • Lights flashing or blinking
  • Leaking water
  • Water leaking from the motor area

5. Maytag dishwasher not spraying water

  • Leaking dishwasher
  • Not draining properly
  • Cleaning quality issues
  • Odd smells
  • Not starting properly

Other Parts Of The Dishwasher That Needs To Be Checked

Detergent dispenser

The detergent dispenser can fall prey to broken moving parts or detergent residue. These issues can be easily fixed by cleaning the caked-on detergent off with a sponge or replacing the dispenser.

Water spinner

The water spinner can be clogged or broken, creating less accurate water distribution during a cycle. Scrutinize it for clogs or damage and either remove the clogs with wire or replace the part.

Heating element

If your dishes are not hot or warm once the cycle is over, your heating element may be broken. We recommend replacing this element as soon as possible to disinfect and clean your dishes properly.

Pump impellers

The pump impellers affect your water spray and water drainage and can be clogged or have motor issues. We recommend inspecting its parts and the dishwasher motor and potentially replacing them.


People also Ask (FAQs)

Is it cheaper to repair or replace a dishwasher?

That depends on this issue at hand. While you can resolve some problems relatively quickly, there are other times when ordering new parts or even a new machine is best. If you are not sure, contact your local plumbing professional for a consultation.

How do you know if your dishwasher has enough water?

Your dishwasher typically uses between 3-6 gallons of water per cycle, depending on your model. If it can fill a three-quart jug in 10 seconds, it is okay.

Are dishwashers using hot or cold water?

They use hot water to clean and disinfect the dishes.

How much water pressure is needed for a dishwasher?

20-120 PSI on average.

Can you run a dishwasher without a spray arm?

You can, but the cycle will not produce an effective clean. We recommend replacing the arm rather than going without it.


Conclusion

If your dishwasher is not spraying water, there could be a few reasons behind the issue. While it is possible to fix some of these issues yourself, there are times when simply replacing the part would be more efficient.

With regular cleaning, inspection, and maintenance, it is possible to keep your dishwasher cleaning at maximum efficiency.

Josh enjoys researching, testing and diving into home improvement & DIY products. He has a passion for tools, learning new skills and fixing the everyday problems that arise around the house.

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