Informational Guide

Reasons Why My Dishwasher Is Leaking

Dishwashers are known to have common problems. Learn why these devices are prone to leaking and how to easily diagnose and fix it.

by Ian Haynes

Anyone with a full-sized kitchen knows how useful a dishwasher can be. A good dishwasher dramatically cuts down on time spent washing dishes, utensils, and appliances. But even the best dishwasher can leak sometimes.

A leaky dishwasher can lead to a lot of problems in the kitchen. So if you have a leaky dishwasher, then read on to figure out what to do about it.

Why Does My Dishwasher Leak? (Common Causes & Fixes)

There are several reasons your dishwasher can spring a leak. Here are some of the most common reasons.

Faulty door latch

If the door latch is broken, then it can cause leaks. The latch can either not close entirely, or it does not create a seal with the rubber lining that surrounds the main door. You can visually inspect the door latch to make sure that it’s working properly.

Faulty valves or hose connection

If the hose or valves that transfer the water from the main to the dishwasher are broken, then it can cause leaks. This can also mean your dishes won’t be adequately cleaned. You can look for leaking on the valve by removing the bottom plate. You may need to replace the valve.

Defective pump or door seal

The pump circulates water through the dishwasher and also drains it. A leaky dishwasher can be caused by a faulty pump that does not properly remove the water when the rinse cycle is complete. The pump is located at the bottom of the dishwasher and can be manually inspected for damage.

Float switch problem

The float switch is a small mechanism that determines the water level to turn on or shut off the valves. If your float switch is stuck in the down position, then it will just keep letting water in until it overflows. A float switch can often be fixed by changing the length of the chain attached to it.

Damaged hose clamps

Hose clamps are used to secure the hose below the kickplate at the bottom of the machine. These clamps can come loose over time or from cracks, which can lead to leaks. Sometimes you can just tighten loose hose clamps, but damaged hose clamps most likely need to be replaced.

Clogged dishwasher filter (drainage issue)

A clogged dishwasher can be caused by hard water build-up. A clogged dishwasher filter will not drain properly, which can cause leaks. The filter can be removed and cleaned. Usually, vinegar is a useful substance for removing any limescale build-up from hard water. If the filter is broken, you will have to replace it.

Unlevel dishwasher

If a dishwasher is not set on level ground, then it may not close properly with the shell. This means that the door won’t seal properly, and it can cause leaks. An unlevel dishwasher can also mean that it does not drain properly. You can adjust an unlevel dishwasher to be more level by correcting its feet attachments.

Incorrect detergent

If you use the wrong kind of detergent, it can create too many suds and cause leaks. The suds build up and push the door slightly open, and the pressure causes them to leak out. You can solve this issue by just using less detergent or switching to a detergent that does not create as many bubbles. 

Overfilled dishwasher

A dishwasher leak can also occur simply because you put too much stuff in it. An overfilled dishwasher can prevent it from draining properly. Cups and bowls that are placed upright can also fill with water and tip over, causing some water to spill out of the side.

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Where Do Dishwasher Leaks Come From: 6 Indicative Signs

What you should do depends on where, exactly, the leak is coming from.

  • Leaking from the bottom
    If the leak is coming from the bottom of the machine, it’s likely because the machine is not draining correctly. Check the pump and filter to make sure they are both working.
  • Leaking from the door
    If the leak is coming from all around the door, then the door latch is the most likely problem. Check the door latch and make sure it is tightened and closes fully when you shut the hatch.
  • Air gap leaking
    If the water contains bits of food and other debris, the drain is probably clogged, causing an air bubble to back up. In this case, try to clear the drain pipe mechanically or with vinegar and baking soda.
  • Leaking from the bottom of the door
    If the leak is coming out of the bottom of the door, then it is likely because the dishwasher is unlevel and is not draining properly. Check the drain filter and make sure the dishwasher is level.
  • Leaking from the front
    If the leak is coming from the front, the problem is most likely your door latch or seal is not working properly. Inspect the latch and seal for damage.
  • Leaking underneath
    If the leak is coming from underneath your dishwasher then the problem is likely a crack or hole in the drain pipe. Inspect the drain pipe for damage and repair it if needed.
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People also Ask (FAQs)

Are the fixes required for a leaky dishwasher the same for all brands?

It’s important to consult your user manual before making repairs, as all brands are made different.

Is a 10-year old dishwasher worth fixing?

A 10-year old dishwasher might not be worth saving. It depends on what components are damaged. If the motor is shot, then it might be best to just get a new one.

What is the average life expectancy of a dishwasher?

The average dishwasher will last around 6-10 years.

Who do I call if my dishwasher is leaking?

It depends on how severe the issue is. Often, you can fix it yourself. Other times, a professional plumber might be needed.

How much does it cost on average to fix a leaky dishwasher?

It depends on what is broken. A leaky door latch might only cost about $50 to repair, but replacing motors or pipes can easily run you several hundred dollars.

Can the dishwasher leak when not in use?

Yes, a dishwasher can leak if there is a faulty water inlet valve. The valve then needs to be cleaned out.


Conclusion

A leaky dishwasher can turn into a serious problem if left unchecked. So if you have a dishwasher leak, make sure you take care of it as soon as possible.

Ian Haynes is an expert writer who has successfully deployed over 500 plumbing pages and other related content. He has an excellent understanding of home plumbing issues and translates his experiences via Plumbing Lab so readers can have a better understanding of common household problems. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.

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