GE Dishwasher Not Drying: 8 Ways To Fix The Problem Forever

GE makes some of the best dishwashers in the market, and their reputation for reliability and performance makes them a top consideration for anyone needing a robust kitchen dishwasher.

Yet despite their excellent reputation, these dishwashers are known to develop a problem where they suddenly stop drying the dishes correctly. Needless to say, this is a frustrating problem to deal with, but don’t worry! We’re here to help. 

In this article, I’m going to explain both what causes this problem to occur and how you can get it solved quickly and easily.

Why is your GE Dishwasher Not Drying?

When a GE dishwasher does not dry, it’s usually due to some kind of user error where the machine isn’t being used correctly. The good news is most of these issues are very easily solved by adjusting how you use the machine.

Let’s first take a look at what exactly causes this problem to occur in the first place.

1. The Dishwasher is Overloaded

The fundamental way in which a dishwasher cleans dishes is by spraying hot water up from the spray arm, the hot water then evaporates from the dishes due to its high heat.

If the dishes have been loaded in a way that obscures each other and allows water to pool, they will not be able to dry correctly.

So you’ll need to clear some dishes out and ensure that there is enough room for the drying process to complete correctly.

2. The Water is Too Cold

Dishwashers use really hot water for two reasons, firstly, because it’s better at breaking up stuck food and grease, but also because it needs to be hot enough so the majority of the water will evaporate from the plates.

When the water temperature is too cold, the water cannot evaporate properly, hindering the dishwasher’s ability to dry.

GE recommends keeping the water temperature above 120 degrees F for optimal dry cycle performance.

3. A Rinse Aid is Needed

The natural surface tension of water can sometimes cause the dishes not to dry properly. So it’s quite common to use something called a ‘rinse aid’ in your dishwasher.

This rinse aid helps to break down the surface tension of the water droplets and assists in the hot air drying process.

If you aren’t using a rinse aid already, introducing one can dramatically increase the dry cycle performance.

4. The Filter is Clogged

Most modern dishwashers have an internal filter that helps to catch the food particulate that’s washed out from the dishes.

Over time these filters can get clogged up with grease and food, which will prevent the dishwasher from properly draining. This causes water to collect inside the dishwasher and harms the drying process.

GE recommends cleaning out the filter at least once a month to ensure the water can be properly drained.

5. The Internal Heater isn’t Activated

Many modern dishwashers utilize an internal heater to assist in heating the water, as the water supply by itself is not usually hot enough. However, the internal heater can be optional and has a function to disable it should you choose.

Oftentimes the internal heater has been turned off by accident and will need to be turned back on to help the water get hot enough to dry the dishes properly.

6. The Vent is Clogged Up

A dishwasher vent is designed to prevent water from backing up into the dishwasher after it’s been drained away and to stop cross-contamination.

If this vent becomes clogged up, the water won’t be able to drain away, which in turn will prevent the dishwasher from drying as there is too much water content present.

The vent will need to be unclogged to help the water drain away, which will assist in the drying performance.

7. The Heating Element has Failed

Most modern dishwashers utilize a heating element to increase the internal temperature of the dishwasher and assist in the drying process.

When this element fails or burns out, it means the dishwasher won’t get hot enough to dry properly.

This is usually caused by a burnout in the wire. When this happens, it cannot be repaired, so the only solution is to replace the heating element with a new one.

8. The High-limit Thermostat has been Tripped

The high-limit thermostat is a temperature sensor that monitors the dishwasher’s internal temperature while operating.

When the temperature exceeds a certain threshold, it will trip and immediately cut power to the dishwasher to protect against fire or further component damage.

You will need to wait for the dishwasher to cool down and check if the thermostat has been tripped. If it has, then you can simply reset it.

How to Fix a GE Dishwasher Not Drying?

By correctly using the machine and keeping up with the maintenance, you can ensure your dishwasher works efficiently and happily.

Now that we’ve covered the causes of this problem, it’s time to look at how to get it fixed.

1. Don’t Overload the Dishwasher

When there are too many dishes inside the dishwasher, or they are arranged poorly, the water won’t be able to drain and evaporate correctly.

The first thing to do is check that there aren’t too many dishes loaded into the washer. The plates shouldn’t be stacked on top of each other, and the spray arms should have a clear trajectory to clean each plate.

Additionally, you should also ensure anything that holds water, such as cups and bowls, is stacked at an angle to allow the water to drain away.

The trays inside the dishwasher are designed to facilitate this naturally, so you can use them as a guide to ensure the water can easily drain from the bowls.

2. Increase the Water Temperature

If the water temperature is below 120 degrees F, then the water will not evaporate effectively from the dishes. To increase the water temperature, you should adjust your water heater’s thermostat.

If you use an electric water heater, make sure it’s plugged in, turned on, and up to temperature.

A useful tip is to run the hot water in the sink for 30 seconds before turning the dishwasher on; this will ensure the hot water is ready to go as soon as the dishwasher needs it.

3. Apply a Rinse Aid

A rinse aid is a simple supplement you can add to your dishwasher’s rinse aid dispenser to help reduce surface tension. The intention behind this is to reduce streaking and water droplets causing spots. 

Additionally, it has the added benefit of allowing the water to evaporate much more effectively.

Rinse raids are usually found alongside the dishwashing detergent at the supermarket and can be easily poured into the rinse aid dispenser along with your regular detergent.

4. Clean out the Dishwasher Filter

It only takes a few minutes to clean out a dishwasher filter and will dramatically help the water to drain away.

  1. Start by locating and removing the dishwasher filter; on the majority of dishwasher models, it can be found underneath the spray arm at the bottom of the machine.
  2. Place the filter in a sink filled with hot water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid; you don’t need any fancy cleaning materials.
  3. Let the filter soak for a few minutes to loosen anything that’s stuck on.
  4. Scrub the filter clean; using something like an old toothbrush works great for this purpose.
  5. Give the area around where the filter sits a wipe-down before re-installing the filter.

5. Turn the Heater On

Some dishwashers give you the option to wash the dishes without the use of heat. In some very specific circumstances, this can be helpful, but most of the time, it harms the cleaning process.

Ensure the heated dry option has been selected from the front control panel.

6. Clean Out the Vent

When the vent is blocked up, there is a risk of dirty water backing up into the dishwasher, which hampers its ability to dry. The easiest way to clean the vent is to use a brush and scrub out any debris. 

Although in the case of particularly bad blockages, some suggest getting something like an old kitchen towel cardboard center tube, positioning it over the drain, and then blowing very hard to forcefully dislodge the blockage.

7. Replace the Heating Element

Once the heating element has failed, the only option is to replace it.

The easiest way to replace the heating element is by contacting GE appliances customer support, who will help you source a replacement heating element and have a technician come out and perform the dishwasher repair for you.

8. See if the High-limit Thermostat has been Tripped

Once the high-limit thermostat has been triggered, the dishwasher heating element will have its power severed. When this happens, you will need to reset the thermostat.

To do this, you first need to locate the thermostat. Then check the underside of the thermostat, where you will find a reset button. You need to hold this button down for 10-15 seconds and then let go.

If the high-limit thermostat then continues to re-trip, it may indicate the heating element is defective, which should be addressed as per the previous point.

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