Whirlpool is one of the world’s most popular dishwasher and home appliance manufacturers. They are well known for their vast range of modern appliances that set the standard in terms of affordability.
However, despite the widespread popularity of their products, many users have reported running into some issues with their dishwashers where they will suddenly stop washing the dishes.
A dishwasher that doesn’t wash dishes is a big problem. So today, we’ll explain all the possible causes of this particular problem and how you can fix it.
Why is your Whirlpool dishwasher not washing?
Dishwashers are one of the great inventions of the modern world. They can help remove all the stress and pain of washing dishes by hand, freeing you to enjoy your evening in peace.
However, these machines are not entirely trouble-free. The dishwasher cannot perform its duty when maintenance is neglected, or components fail.
Here’s a rundown of all the most common reasons why your dishwasher’s having problems.
1. There is no power supply
While this might seem obvious, you’d be surprised how often it’s overlooked.
If there are no LED lights on the front display of your dishwasher, even when you press them, it’s a good indication that your dishwasher is not receiving power.
You will need to diagnose further where the failure is coming from and then fix that to restore power to the dishwasher.
2. The door is not closed properly
When closing the dishwasher door, there is a latch that helps the door to remain closed. This latch tells a sensor that it’s shut, and a watertight seal has been made, so it’s now safe for the machine to wash the dishes.
This is an important safety feature. Otherwise, you could have hot water leaking from the door because it’s not closed correctly.
But sometimes, the door latch can fail and stop working, making the machine believe the door is open. So for safety reasons, it will stop washing the dishes until it’s fixed.
3. A water supply interruption
Dishwashers utilize the water supply of your home to clean the dishes. So when there is some issue with your home’s water, it will affect the dishwasher’s ability to function.
The cause of the water supply problem is commonly the water shutoff valve which may need to be turned back on.
4. The water inlet valve is defective
As the water supply from your home passes into the dishwasher, a small device called a water inlet valve delivers the water into the dishwasher.
Because water needs to be introduced into the dishwater at specific times and in particular amounts to achieve an effective cleaning cycle, the inlet valve is used to control when the flow of water is turned on or off.
Sometimes this inlet valve can become faulty, preventing a wash cycle from getting the water it needs when it needs it. Likewise, it can also become clogged up with either mineral deposits from hard water or dirt that has made its way into the water supply.
5. Low pressure
Unfortunately, simply having running water is not enough to allow it to wash the dishes properly.
A dishwasher requires at least 120 PSI of water pressure to perform a wash cycle effectively.
So if your home’s water pressure is too low, the dishwasher will not be able to fill correctly.
While the good news is that there’s nothing mechanically wrong with your dishwasher, you need to fix your home’s water pressure problem before the dishwasher functions normally.
6. Defective float switch
While not used on every kind of dishwasher, many still use a ‘float switch,’ essentially a buoyant device that sits on the base of the dishwasher.
As the machine fills with water, this float switch will slowly rise and float. When it reaches a certain height, it will trigger a switch that tells the dishwasher there is enough water and that it should turn the water supply off.
Sometimes this float switch can become defective and tell the machine it doesn’t need water at all even though it’s empty.
7. The dishes have been loaded poorly
While this is technically a user error, it will appear like a dishwasher failure if you don’t know you’re doing it.
One of the fundamentals of dishwasher operation is that dishes should be loaded so that the dirty side of it is face down. Additionally, avoiding overstacking or overlapping dishes would be best to ensure the water can clean everything.
If you overlap dishes, it means that after the wash cycle has been completed, there will still be dirty areas that the spray arms haven’t been able to clean.
8. Not enough hot water
The importance of using hot water during a dishwashing cycle cannot be overstated.
Hot water breaks down and helps to remove grease and grime in a way that cold water simply cannot.
Something essential to consider is that if your dishwasher is not washing particularly well, it could be due to a lack of hot water, as the cold water leaves behind grease and residue.
9. Faulty circulation pump
Getting the hot water into the dishwasher is only the first half of the puzzle. After the water is in there, the circulation pump physically forces the water up and through the wash arm.
If the pump cannot perform correctly, the water won’t have enough force or pressure to adequately clean the dishes and remove all that dirt.
10. The filter is dirty
A dishwasher filter passes all the water through a filter to make sure no dirt or debris is circulated as part of the cleaning cycle.
However, over time this filter can become so clogged up that it restricts the flow of water that can make it to the machine.
Fortunately, this is easy to either clean out or completely replace with a new one.
How to fix a Whirlpool dishwasher not washing
Dealing with Whirlpool’s customer support the fix a dishwasher is a hassle many could do without. Likewise, hiring a contractor to fix the problem can be a costly endeavor.
The good news is that, in many cases, it’s pretty easy to fix the dishwasher by yourself. Just follow these steps through, and it’ll work again in no time!
1. Check the power supply
The first thing to check is that the power cable works and has a functioning fuse. These are standard components to fail and prevent the dishwasher from working even if the machine is mechanically sound.
If you are sure the power cable is working, but the dishwasher still won’t turn on, it may indicate an internal failure, and you should contact Whirlpool support to get it fixed.
2. Ensure the door is closed and working
If the door is not latching correctly, inspect the latch visually. It’s a small plastic object commonly placed at the top of the door. If it looks broken or loose, it may need to be replaced.
Be mindful of the dish racks inside the dishwasher too. If they are mounted backward, they can protrude out too far and prevent the door from closing.
If the door seems to latch ok physically, but the machine doesn’t turn on, it may indicate an internal sensor failure making the Whirlpool dishwasher think the door is not closed when it is.
If this is the case, you will again need to contact Whirlpool support to get it fixed.
3. Check the water supply
The first thing to check is the water shutoff valve. This is usually located underneath your sink and is identified by a small lever or knob. This may have been closed for some reason, whether by accident or perhaps there was work being done on your home’s plumbing, and someone forgot to reopen it.
Reopen this valve to ensure your home can supply water to the dishwasher.
4. Replace the water inlet valve
While it may be tempting to remove the valve and try to clean it, Whirlpool does not recommend doing this as there is a very high chance of component failure when someone untrained tries to do this themselves.
Instead, the old valve should be removed, discarded, and replaced with a new working valve.
To prevent further buildup if your home is prone to hard water, you may wish to install a water softener.
5. Fix the water pressure
If your home’s water pressure seems to be ok, you should also inspect the water supply line for any obstructions or damage that may hinder or slow down the water supply that can make it to the dishwasher.
6. Test and fix the float switch
You can easily test the float switch’s functionality by using a multimeter to test if there is a continuous electrical path through the switch.
If the multimeter demonstrates no continuity in the switch, it will need to be replaced. Fortunately, these switches are relatively inexpensive and also simple to install.
7. Ensure you’re loading the dishwasher correctly
Be mindful of the layout of your particular dishwasher and where the wash arm is located. Try to stack dishes and utensils so the water can comfortably reach them.
It’s far better to do two smaller dishwashing loads than a single over-stacked load where everything is still dirty.
Whirlpool also has its guide on how best to load its dishwasher models, which is well worth reading.
8. Ensure there’s enough hot water
It’s recommended that the hot water temperature reach at least 120 degrees F to clean correctly, so when your home’s water temperature is lower than this, it may compromise the effectiveness of your dishwasher.
You can try increasing the temperature of your home. But first, you should ensure that both the hot and cold water lines under the sink are functioning correctly and that it’s securely linked to the dishwasher.
9. Fix or replace the circulation pump
Getting the hot water into the dishwasher is only the first half of the puzzle. After the water is in there, the wash pump physically forces the water up and through the wash arm.
A good way to tell if this is the culprit is because it will leave behind dirty dishes, usually accompanied by an excessive grinding or clicking noise.
You easily check the functionality of this drain pump by taking the following steps:
- Turn off the power supply for safety reasons
- Check the bottom of the machine, and a wire will be connected to a copper wash motor housing. This is the circulation pump.
- Test this using the multimeter, which should read zero (or nearly zero) resistance.
If the pump fails this test, it’s defective and should be replaced.
10. Clean or replace the filter
A dirty or clogged filter can be easily cleaned by holding it upside down under warm running water.
If the debris is stuck, you can use an old toothbrush to (gently) brush it and remove any stuck dirt. Once it’s clean, reinstall the filter, and it should work fine.
If the filter looks old, worn, or damaged in some way, you may need to replace it with a brand-new one.