Why Is My Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Working?

Fred's Appliance Academy
August 10, 2020
Dishwasher Training

Many of us rely on our dishwashers to clean plates, bowls, and mugs with minimal hassle. If you’re used to loading your Whirlpool dishwasher, pressing go, and being presented with a cupboard full of pristine crockery, having to live without a dishwasher can be a shock to the system. If your dishwasher is not draining, or it won’t even turn on, there’s no need to panic. In this article, we’ll explore some common causes of dishwasher malfunction and provide useful advice and solutions. 

In this guide, we’re focusing on Whirlpool dishwasher repairs. If you own any of the following models, you should find this advice useful:

Common Whirlpool dishwasher problems

  1. My dishwasher won’t turn on
  2. My dishwasher is not draining
  3. My dishwasher is leaking

My Whirlpool dishwasher won’t turn on

There are several potential reasons why you may not be able to turn your Whirlpool dishwasher on. Here is a list of steps to take to try and troubleshoot the issue before you seek expert advice:

  • Is the control lock on? If the control lock is on, the dishwasher will not leap into action when you press the start button. To unlock your dishwasher, press and hold the lock button for at least 4 seconds. The light should then go off and the control lock will release. 
  • Is sleep mode on? Sleep mode is designed to save energy. You can turn sleep mode off by deactivating the control lock following the steps listed above. 
  • Have you inadvertently selected a delayed wash function? Delayed wash functions enable you to take control of when you want to start your wash. You might want to wait until off-peak hours to start, for example. If you’ve set the delayed wash unintentionally, all you have to do is press the ‘cancel/drain’ button and then ‘start/resume.’
  • Is the door closed properly? If the door of your dishwasher is not closed properly, the appliance won’t start. Always make sure that the door is shut firmly. 
  • Is there a reliable water supply to the dishwasher? To operate your Whirlpool dishwasher, you’ll need to ensure that the water supply is turned on. 

My Whirlpool dishwasher is not draining fully

If your dishwasher isn’t draining properly, and there’s a lot of water when you open the door after a wash, there are several possible explanations. The most common solutions include:

  • Replacing the drain impeller: this is the component that pushes water through the drain hose and into the drain line. A broken impeller will prevent effective drainage.
  • Replacing the drain pump: if the drain pump isn’t functioning, the water won’t be pushed through the impeller to the drain hose and it will start to pool. It is not possible to repair a drain pump. If your pump is damaged, it will need replacing. 
  • Buying a new drain solenoid kit: the drain solenoid is responsible for opening the drain valve to trigger water flow from the dishwasher. If the valve doesn’t open, water will collect. 
  • Cleaning or replacing the drain valve: drain valves can become blocked. If your dishwasher isn’t draining, check the valve for signs of debris. If the valve isn’t blocked, you may need to replace it. 
  • Replace the pump and motor assembly: sometimes, a dishwasher won’t drain because the pump motor assembly needs to be replaced. If there are no obstacles in the drain line, check the motor. If the motor isn’t running, or the power is reduced, replacing the pump and motor assembly should restore functionality. 

My Whirlpool dishwasher is leaking

Have you noticed water seeping out of your dishwasher while it’s running, or is there a puddle on the floor at the end of each cycle? If your dishwasher is leaking, here are some common causes and solutions:

  • Adjust or replace the water inlet valve: the inlet valve allows water to enter the unit. If the valve is stuck in an open position, water will continue to flow into the dishwasher, causing a leak. Check the position of the valve and adjust it if it is stuck. If the valve is faulty, you’ll need to replace it.
  • Replace the wash arms: if you have a damaged or broken wash arm, this can cause water to bounce off the arms and hurtle towards the door. Inspect the wash arms (center, lower and upper) and keep an eye out for cracks and splinters. If the arm is damaged, it’s best to replace it. If the arm is intact, check that the support is secure. If the support is loose, this can cause excessive water spray. 
  • Check the door seal: damage to the door seal can allow water to flow out of the dishwasher. If the seal is cracked, or there are gaps, replace the seal as soon as possible. 

If your dishwasher is leaking, you may find this video useful: https://youtu.be/zDNiLvApKLc

When to seek help if your dishwasher isn’t working

Before you call in the experts, it’s a great idea to go through the steps listed above and see if you can spot a visible defect or identify a possible underlying cause. In most cases, you can carry out running repairs or buy new parts to fix your dishwasher. To order parts, check your model number. You can enter the model number to find compatible components.  

If you’ve tried everything, and your dishwasher is still leaking, or it’s not running normally, don’t hesitate to seek help. 


For homeowners, having a faulty dishwasher can be incredibly frustrating. Thankfully, in many cases, it is possible to carry out repairs or replace parts, rather than having to buy a brand new dishwasher. If you own a Whirlpool dishwasher, and you’re having trouble switching the appliance on, or your machine is leaking or it isn’t draining properly, hopefully, this guide will help you identify the cause of the problem and find a solution quickly. 

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