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Appliance Troubleshooting

An Expert’s Guide to Whirlpool Dishwasher Troubleshooting (2023 Update)

Written by

Jason Carter

An Expert’s Guide to Whirlpool Dishwasher Troubleshooting (2023 Update)

We can all agree…

When facing a sea of dirty dishes, the only thing that can put a smile on one’s face is a functional and reliable dishwasher. Right?


What happens when this convenient and much-needed appliance fails?

Well, today, my focus is on Whirlpool dishwashers and how to troubleshoot some of their common issues.

What’s more…

For a broader perspective, I enlisted some insights from Dan Ellison – an experienced Whirlpool expert and repairman based in Rhode Island, NY.

So, here’s everything you need to know.

Whirlpool Dishwasher Troubleshooting

10 Common Problems with Whirlpool Dishwashers & How to Troubleshoot Each


Let’s talk safety…

Before you do anything, ensure you have all the necessary protective gear for the job. This includes safety glasses, gloves, closed-toe shoes, and insulated screwdrivers.



Things can get messy, so it helps to have a mop and a bucket nearby just in case.

That said:

If a problem seems complex or costly, consider hiring a professional. 

Dan says…,

“Some dishwasher parts are quite expensive. The last thing you want is to spend money unnecessarily.”

Wouldn’t you agree?

That’s why, when dealing with complex issues like repairing/replacing faulty parts, it helps to get an expert’s opinion.

With that in mind, let’s get to it.

1. Whirlpool Dishwashers Not Draining

Drain Hose$15 – $80
Filter$16 – $70
Drain Pump$30 – $130
Float Switch$35 – $80
Control Board$80 – $430


My first question to Dan was, “What’s the most common issue you’ve encountered with whirlpool dishwashers?”

His response… Drainage failure.”

And true to that fact, many users have reported their Whirlpool dishwashers not draining on multiple online platforms including Reddit.

Possible Issues:

Dan notes…,

“A Whirlpool dishwasher’s failure to drain is quite common on the Whirlpool Quiet Partner III.”

To troubleshoot, you should check if your dishwasher has:

  • A blocked drain hose, pump, or filter
  • Punctured or worn-out filters
  • A faulty drain pump
  • Malfunctioning float switch
  • Damaged control board
  • Lastly, check if the garbage disposer knockout plug has been removed

That said:

Drainage issues are avoidable. You just have to take more initiative. Here’s how…

Simply Swider Preventative Measures and Tips for Dishwasher Draining Issues

Things you can do to avoid draining problems in your Whirlpool dishwasher:

  • Always rinse dishes before loading them into your dishwasher.
  • Clean your filters regularly.
  • Use the right type and amount of detergent to avoid excess suds and clogging.
  • Always ensure your drain hose isn’t pressed by something or kinked.
  • Prioritize routine maintenance. Whirlpool recommends deep cleaning at least once every month.

2. Whirlpool Dishwashers Not Cleaning

Dishwasher Not Cleaning
Spray Arms$30 – $230
Filters$16 – $70
Water Inlet Valve$30 – $120
Detergent Dispenser$40 – $190
Circulation Pump Motor$100 – $300

Let’s face it:

A dishwasher that can’t clean is as good as a comedian who can’t tell jokes. Or better yet, a car without wheels.


Well, a Whirlpool dishwasher not cleaning properly can be frustrating. But the solution to this isn’t always that complex.

Dan explains that…

“Cleaning issues can arise from several factors. These include the age of the appliance, malfunctioning parts, water supply, clogging, choice of detergent, and improper loading according to Whirlpool.

Now, in terms of parts:

From my experience, the main culprits would be:

  • Malfunctioning spray arms
  • Faulty inlet valve
  • A bad circulation pump
  • Clogged or worn-out filters
  • A misfiring soap dispenser


Dishwashers rely heavily on the hot water supply to clean efficiently. Thus, the water temperature going into your appliance must be between 120F and 150F.

Low-temperature water can contribute to cleaning issues.


Ensure you follow Whirlpool’s detergent guidelines. And check if you’re using the right type and amount of the detergent.

3. Whirlpool Dishwashers Not Turning ON (Won’t Start)

Whirlpool Dishwasher Wont Start
Door Latch$22 – $137
Door Switch$20 – $80
Thermal Fuse$10 – $55
Float Switch$35 – $80
Water Inlet Valve$30 – $120
Control/Touch Pad or Panel$100 – $450

Picture this:

You load dirty dishes and add detergent to your dishwasher, set the wash parameters, press START, and then nothing

No humming… No whirring… No swooshing…

Just absolute and confusing silence.


Well, when your Whirlpool Dishwasher won’t start, several factors could be responsible. From something as simple as not closing the door properly to a more complex control board issue

That said:

In one of our Simply Swider Appliance Repair Community discussions on Facebook, I had an interesting chat with a member, Tanya Marie.

Possible Issues:

Marie’s Whirlpool Gold Series dishwasher wasn’t starting and she couldn’t quite pinpoint the hitch. And after careful diagnosis, a worn-out door latch was the culprit.


Not all issues are as easy or as straightforward as Marie’s.

Dan explains…,

“Due to the design and safety features of most modern dishwashers, there are so many reasons why one won’t turn on properly. You just need to troubleshoot each possibility, step-by-step.”

In summary, you could be dealing with any of the following faults:

  • The DELAYED START option is activated
  • Control lock is ON
  • The dishwasher is currently in SLEEP MODE
  • There is no water supply
  • Power supply issues
  • The door isn’t closing properly
  • Faulty door or float switch
  • Blown thermal fuse
  • Faulty ON/OFF button
  • And a malfunctioning touch panel or control board

Pro Tip:

Sometimes, you might have to reset your washer to get it back up and running.

Simply cut off the power supply by either unplugging your appliance or flipping the breaker OFF. Wait for at least 10 minutes. Then reconnect it. 

4. Whirlpool Dishwashers Not Drying/Heating

Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Drying
Heating Element$20 – $120
Vent Fan$50 – $80
High-Limit Thermostat$8 – $40
Touchpad/Control Panel$100 – $450

Get this:

If you keep getting damp and lackluster dishes after every wash, it’s probable that your dishwasher has a heating/drying issue.

Possible Problems:

As Dan explains…,

“Heating, or specifically, drying issues can stem from several factors including inlet water temperature, heating element malfunction, and washing parameters.

To add to his point:

Whirlpool dishwashers not drying/heating can also be a result of…

  • Faulty thermistors
  • Broken high-limit thermostats
  • Vent fan failure
  • Loose wiring on the heating element
  • Low-temperature water supply
  • Incorrect wash parameters i.e. not selecting ‘Heated Dry

Pro Tip:

Whirlpool recommends the use of Rinse Aid to enhance the drying process.

5. Whirlpool Dishwasher Leaking Water

Whirlpool Dishwasher Leaking From the Bottom
Door Gaskets$25 – $100
Fill Hose$30 – $80
Drain Hose$15 – $80
Float Switch$35 – $80
Water Inlet Valve$30 – $120
Diverter Seal Grommet$15 – $35

“Aside from drainage failure, a leak is also among the messiest issues you’ll encounter in a dishwasher.” says Dan.

That’s a fact.

I came across this quandary during one of my repair runs.

My client, Jennifer Reed, noted an issue with her Whirlpool WDF520PADM7 dishwasher‘s detergent dispenser. So, she called on me to replace it. After the fix, I had a trainee reassemble the door.


Somewhere along the way, the dishwasher decided to add its own touch of creativity by introducing a leak.

Quite the surprise, I must say!

Possible Issues:

Luckily, this was a minor problem. Some of the door screws weren’t tightened properly during reassembly. Resulting in a tiny gap between it and the door gasket.


That’s just one of the many reasons that could leave your Whirlpool dishwasher leaking.

According to Dan…,

“Other possible problem points include worn-out seals, damaged door gasket, faulty float switch, and drainage failure.

You also want to inspect your water inlet valve for damages.

6. Whirlpool Dishwasher Making Strange Noises During Operation

Drain Pump$30 – $130
Spray Arms$30 – $230
Pump & Impeller System$35 – $140

I always say this…

Where there’s unusual noise in an appliance, a moving part is probably the cause.

True, right…?

Well, it does apply greatly to dishwashers.

And if you don’t believe me, here’s an example of a user who faced something similar their Whirlpool WDTA50SAKZ.

Troubleshooting tips:

Most atypical noises in dishwashers often arise from moving parts being obstructed. Therefore, be on the look out for…

  • Drainage pump clogging
  • Spray arms hitting badly placed dishes
  • Obstructions or anomalies on the impeller system

7. Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Spraying

Clogged Dishwasher Spay Arms
Drain Pump$30 – $130
Spray Arms$30 – $230
Circulation Pump Motor System$100 – $300


“Spraying issues can arise from three different factors – clogged spray arms, water supply problems, or a circulation pump malfunction explains Dan.

And from experience, this is another problem common with the Whirlpool Gold Series dishwashers.

How should you go about troubleshooting?

Start by checking, unclogging, and cleaning your dishwasher spray arms. Then confirm that the water supply is working and within the required pressure.

That said…

If the two solutions above check out but you still have a Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Spraying issue, don’t fret. Do a continuity test on your wash pump.

The culprit might be a defective circulation motor.

8. Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Filling with Water

Water Inlet Valve$30 – $120
Float Switch$35 – $80
Control/Touch Pad or Panel$100 – $450

Here’s a fact:

When a Whirlpool dishwasher is not filling with water, it can be due to…

  • Clogging
  • Water supply issues
  • Malfunctioning parts
  • Or dishwasher function failure

The first thing I always do is check for clogging in the water inlet valve and spray arms. Because these two parts are often responsible for filling the wash tub.

If there’s no clog on either one of the parts above, you’ll need to inspect your water supply. Is water getting to your dishwasher? Does it have sufficient pressure?

If yes and yes…

Dan says, “You might be looking at faulty parts that may need replacements.”

For example:

  • The solenoid in your inlet valve may be stuck in the ‘Closed’ position.
  • Else, a malfunctioning float switch could be incorrectly detecting the water level. Thus, preventing your dishwasher from filling with water.
  • Or the control board is damaged, thus, unable to coordinate dishwasher functions.

9. Whirlpool Dishwasher Soap Dispenser Not Opening

Whirlpool Dishwasher Soap Dispenser Not Opening
Soap/Detergent Dispenser Mechanism$40 – $120
Control/Touch Pad or Panel$100 – $450

Funny thing:

While surfing Reddit, I came across an interesting thread by a user facing this problem on their Whirlpool WDT750SAHZ0.

According to the Reddit user:

“.. The water is hot when in use, the soap just does not dispense. Often it’ll fall out, other times it will stay in the dispenser and half dissolve. I have tried various brands of soap, but it didn’t fix the issue…”


Whirlpool soap dispensing problems can arise from several factors. Including improper loading, worn-out latches and springs, or a clogged dispenser mechanism.


According to Dan, Spray arm malfunction and wrong timing can also cause this.”

Possible problem points:

Here, you want to look for a few things. For example…

  • Obstructions on the dispenser door caused by improper loading
  • If the dispenser’s springs and latches are working properly
  • The presence of gunk, mineral deposits, detergent residues, or food stains. Basically, anything that may be impeding the door’s free movement.
  • If the spray arms are obstructed or clogged
  • And lastly, if you suspect it’s a timing issue, consult a professional. The problem might be related to the control board.

10. Whirlpool Dishwasher Clean Light Blinking

Get this:

By design, all Whirlpool dishwashers are programmed to blink/flash the clean light when there’s an error or malfunction.

For example:

When a dishwasher function is failing to execute or one of the washer’s parts has failed. As with Janet’s case, heating is often the first culprit.

Dan states…

“A Whirlpool dishwasher clean light blinking won’t give you a precise diagnosis. It’s just meant to notify you that something is wrong. But you can start by checking the heating element.”

Possible issues:

Since this doesn’t point to a specific issue, you have to check the dishwasher for issues that may be limiting its operations.

Here, you could be looking at:

  • A faulty heating system. Look for cracks, bulges, swells, or burnt-out sections.
  • Defective door and float switches or bad sensors
  • A control board or panel issue.


To be safe, consider enlisting the help of a professional repairman when testing and diagnosing your control panel/board.

Whirlpool Dishwasher Error Codes and Their Meanings

Error CodeMeaningPotential Causes
F1 F08Unusual Water TemperatureFaulty temperature sensor, damaged heating element, or cold water supply (inlet).
F2Possible LeakDamaged door gasket, clogging, worn-out pump seals, or broken water inlet valve.
F3 F04Heating IssuesFaulty heating element or temperature sensor. It can also be a faulty connection between the heater and the control board.
F4 F03 F9E1Drainage failureClogging on the drain hose or pump, blocked filters, and, sometimes, water siphoning back into the appliance.
F5 F07Rotor Movement IssueBlockages and debris accumulation on the wash motor/turbine.
F6 H2o F06Water Supply IssueNo water supply, blocked water inlet valve, or kinked/damaged water inlet hose.
F7Water Pressure ErrorVery low water pressure, blocked water inlet valve, kinked inlet hose, or faulty flow meter.
F8Excessive WaterBlocked drainage, faulty inlet valve, clogged filters, improper dish loading, or too much foaming (detergent).
F9 F01 F02 F8E5Water Overflow or Continuous Water IntakeJammed water inlet valve solenoid, damaged drain pump, or damage on the control board circuitry.
F10 F0 F15Sensor FailurePops up if any of the dishwasher sensors fails or encounters an error.
FATurbidity/Water CleanlinessDirty water, dirt covering this sensor, or excessive foaming.
FBMalfunctioning Dishwasher Diverter ValveFaulty diverter valve.
FCWater Hardness IssueFaulty sensor, empty Salt reservoir, or water hardness rectification failure.
F1E1Fill Valve Operation ErrorThe washer can’t access or operate the fill valve. Check the water inlet valve for issues. Replace if faulty.
F1E2Dishwasher Needs ServicingMajor malfunction.
F2E2Reset RequiredSoftware issue or minor dishwasher malfunction. Requires a reset.
F8E4Overfilling Water or LeaksThere’s water on the drip tray, bad water connection, dishwasher overfilling, faulty float switch, or excessive suds.
FAE5Water Present Under DishwasherPossible leak.


Dishwasher codes might differ depending on the type, age, and features of your appliance. However, the ones provided above are the most frequent across the board. 

Whirlpool Models Most Affected

ModelCommon IssueModel-Specific Solution
Whirlpool Gold SeriesNot Cleaning ProperlyCheck water temperature. Ensure it’s hot enough
Always use recommended soaps and detergents
Clear clogs in the filters and clean the spray arms
Whirlpool Quiet Partner IIDoor LeaksInspect door gasket for signs of wear or damage.
Ensure proper door closure
Whirlpool Quiet Partner IIIDrainage IssueInspect the drain pump for blockages and damage
Clean the filters and check for clogs in the drain hose
Whirlpool EstateSometimes, Too NoisyInspect the spray arms and ensure they’re properly attached
Look for loose parts and tighten as needed
Check the dishwasher pumps for clogging
Whirlpool Dishwasher WDF520PADM7Not Starting Properly/IrresponsiveCheck the power supply and wire connections
Reset your dishwasher
Inspect the door switch for faults
Whirlpool Dishwasher WDTA50SAHZDrying IssuesProperly load and space your dishes
Use Rinse Aid
Increase drying cycle time or temperature

To Summarize…

There you have it!

That’s the end of our whirlwind adventure through the land of Whirlpool dishwasher troubleshooting. Hopefully, you’re now ready to tackle any dishwasher dilemma that may befall you.

But remember…

If all else fails, do not hesitate to call in a professional. It’s better to be safe and sure than sorry.

Moreover, never underestimate the importance of regular maintenance. Just like a well-groomed pet or a perfectly manicured lawn, your Whirlpool dishwasher needs some TLC too.

So clean it frequently, check those filters, and always keep an eye out for any signs of trouble.

That said:

I want to hear from you.

Do you have any dishwasher triumphs, horror stories, and ingenious hacks you’d like to share? Drop them in the comment section below.

Or you can choose to “Ask the Expert” for more answers and free advice.

Frequently Asked Question

Why is My Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Cleaning Dishes Properly?

Whirlpool dishwasher cleaning issues can arise from several factors. For example, you are using the wrong type or amount of detergent. Or you’re not loading the dishes properly.

Sometimes, there’s clogging that’s causing gunk, food debris, and dirt to redeposit onto your dishes. And lastly, there’s a water supply issue. Any of these mishaps can affect your dishwasher’s cleaning efficiency.

What Should I Do If My Whirlpool Dishwasher Is Not Starting or Turning On?

Experts recommend checking the power supply first. That includes ensuring the circuit breaker is ON and the wires carrying power are healthy and intact.

You can also try resetting your dishwasher. If all else fails, hire a professional to test your control panel, ON/OFF button, and circuit board for faults.

How Can I Fix a Leaking Whirlpool Dishwasher?

Fixing a leak is easy as long as you know where it’s coming from. To begin with, try to assess and pinpoint the source of the leak. Then look for signs of wear, cracks, loose/damaged/torn gaskets, or even unusual water levels within the wash tub.

Once, you identify the problematic part, you can either replace it, reinstall it correctly, or tighten it if loose.

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