My dishwasher is not cleaning my dishes – dishwasher repair help

If your dishwasher is not cleaning your dishes properly, here are a few things to check in order to fix the problem yourself.

Clean your dishwasher

It’s tough to get clean dishes out of a dirty dishwasher. Cleaning your dishwasher on a regular basis will help it run more efficiently and get your dishes clean.

Unclean dishes from dishwasher

If your dishwasher is no longer cleaning your dishes very well, here are a few simple and easy fixes you can try.

Clean the filter/drain or “trap” area at the bottom of the tub by using a cloth or paper towels to remove any excess food particles or even broken glass (be careful!). Sometimes the filter is a piece that can be removed. If so, remove and rinse away any stuck on food particles from this part in the sink. Replace the filter.

Clean the detergent dispenser. Detergent dispensers or cups can become encrusted with old soap which can prevent it from opening during the cycle. Remove any excess detergent from around and inside the dispenser.

Check the lower dishwasher spray arms to make sure the holes are free and clear of any blockage. During your dishwasher’s wash cycle, water and detergent spray through these holes to clean your dishes, so clogged spray arms might be preventing your dishwasher from properly cleaning your dishes.

To reach your lower spray arm, remove the bottom rack of your dishwasher and unscrew the lower spray arm to inspect.  Clean the spray arm with water and mild detergent if necessary. Use a tooth to pick out any food particles that are clogging the spray arm holes. If the spray arms are damaged, find the model number of your dishwasher in order to find the proper replacement part.

You can buy a dishwasher cleaner like affresh which helps destroy mineral deposit build-up from hard water along with bad smells, mildew and stains inside your dishwasher. Just drop a pod in your dishwasher’s detergent tray and run it through a regular cleaning cycle.

The vinegar and cleaners like affresh will remove any hard water deposits and leftover detergent along with any funky bad smells, leaving your dishwasher smelling fresh.

Load your dishwasher properly

Don’t overload your dishwasher racks; water and detergent need to reach the surfaces of your dishes in order to clean them. Face the dirty part of your dishes toward the center where the water from the spray arms can hit and clean them.

Don’t block the front of you dishwasher with a large pan or plate, it can prevent soap from the dishwasher’s detergent dispenser from properly mixing with the water.

Make sure your dishwasher is filling with water

After you start a normal dishwasher cycle, open the door after you hear the machine stop filling with water. The bottom tub should be filled with about three-quarters of an inch of water at least covering the heating element in the bottom of your appliance. If the water level is not correct, it could be a stuck or broken float switch. A float switch allows water to enter into the machine to a point where the float will rise up to “off” position, disconnecting power to the water inlet valve. If the switch is defective or the float is stuck in the up position, the water will not enter into the machine.


Dishwasher water inlet valve. Part number WD15X10003. for General Electric
Used on these Brands: General Electric, Hotpoint, RCA,

The water inlet valve controls how much hot water enters your dishwasher. It also has a small screen inside of it that may be blocked by dirt or debris. Either remove and clean the screen from this part, or else replace the water inlet valve altogether.

Check your pump impeller

The pump impeller, located in the dishwasher’s pump, is a round plastic fan blade that helps pressurize and circulate the water through your dishwasher’s spray arms. These parts can break over time and need to be replaced.

Check your detergent dispenser 

If the detergent dispenser is not opening, soap is not reaching your dishes. Try cleaning your detergent dispenser or checking whether a bad dishwasher timer, bi-metal release or a wax motor is preventing the dishwasher dispenser from working.

For more dishwasher repair help, visit the Dishwasher Repair Help section on

For dishwasher replacement parts, visit



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