About Dishwasher Repair

Updated July 19, 2017

Before their creation in 1924, the only dishwashers people had were located at the end of their arms: hands. With their rise in popularity during the 1970s, dishwashers took the "man" out of "manual labor" and made dish washing quick and easy. However, dishwashers are prone to temper tantrums and breakdowns and may require repair. But before you call the repair man, you may be able to repair your dishwasher yourself. So if the dishwasher leaks or leaves dishes spotty, with a few simple steps, a tool belt and some confidence, you may be able to fix your dishwasher on your own.

Tools Needed to Fix a Dishwasher

According to, the following tools are necessary for dishwasher repair: level, wrench and clamps. Additionally, the following tools may be helpful in your repair endeavours: towels, screwdrivers, waterproof silicone sealant and a flashlight. Having another person nearby may also be helpful. With some aspects of dishwasher repair, prying off gaskets and removing the front panel is required, so have someone nearby so that person can help you hold the panel or retrieve a first-aid kit in case of injury.

Preparing the Work Area

Before you begin work on your dishwasher, make sure the appliance is unplugged and the circuit breaker is shut off. Dishwashers use water and if you work on the appliance while it's plugged in, you risk electrical shock. Furthermore, a dishwasher is also electronic, so metal tools and bare hands working on live wires are dangerous. Safety first. Lay the towel down upon your work area. The towel will absorb any water that leaks from the dishwasher, preventing you from slipping and falling.

Water Around the Dishwasher

If you notice water around the dishwasher, this may be a sign of a broken gasket. To fix a dishwasher gasket --- the seal along the door --- open the dishwasher door and located one of the corners of the door seal. With your screwdriver, gently coax the seal off from around the door.

If the manufacturer provided you with a backup gasket, soak the gasket in warm water and gently bend and fold it in order to increase flexibility. If your gasket is stiff, it will be harder to install. Use some of the waterproof silicone sealant around the inside of the gasket and firmly press the gasket into place. Let the waterproof silicone sealant dry completely before closing the dishwasher door or using it.

There may be a possibility that the dishwasher manufacturer didn't provide you with a backup gasket. If this is the case, take the gasket to your local hardware store and have one of the sales clerks help you find the right size gasket for your dishwasher. If your local hardware store does not carry dishwasher seals, contact the manufacturer and it will send you a gasket. If your dishwasher is still under a warranty, the gasket will be provided to you for free, If you are not under warranty, a fee may be applicable for the shipping of the gasket.

Leaking Dishwashers

Besides a damaged gasket, dishwashers may leak if they are not properly levelled. If you think your dishwasher isn't level, there are some simple steps you can take in order to fix this problem

With your level handy, open the front door of the dishwasher all the way. Place the level on the top of the dishwasher and look for the level bubbles to be located in the centre of all three sections of the level. If the bubbles are shifted to the left or the right of the centres, then you will know which side of the dishwasher is not levelled.

To level the dishwasher, remove the front access panel of the dishwasher. Take a screwdriver if necessary and raise or lower the dishwasher legs. Open the dishwasher door and use the level once again to check the levelling process. Keep adjusting the dishwasher legs until all bubbles in the level are centred in their respected sections. Reattach the front access panel and marvel at your dishwasher-repair skills.

Clogged Dishwasher Jets

Dishwasher jets tend to clog over time due to calcium deposits and hard water build-up. If water pressure from the dishwasher jets has reduced, it may be time to clean the jets. Jet cleaning may be the easiest part of the dishwasher repair process. Prepare a bucket of CRL cleaner. CRL can be purchased at your local hardware or drugstores for under £6. Remove the jets from the dishwasher and place them in the CRL cleaner. The hard water and calcium deposits will lift away from the jets instantly, but the jets should stay in the cleaner for five minutes. If CRL is too expensive for you and if you're concerned about environment safety, prepare a bucket of white vinegar, hot water and lemon juice. Vinegar, water and lemon juice are Mother Nature's natural cleansers and work well for cleaning all types of household objects. Place the jets inside the bucket of this mixture and let sit for 10 minutes. After time is up, rinse the jets in warm water and use a fine bristled nail brush or a pipe cleaner to clean the jet holes. Reinstall them into the dishwasher.

Here's a tip for those of you who choose to use the environmentally friendly cleaning tip. Lemon juice and vinegar help remove bacteria from surfaces, so when using the dishwasher after replacing the jets, you will have an extra germ-fighting agent cleaning your dishes. Additionally, lemon juice and vinegar are streak-free agents. Result: less streaky and spotty glassware.

Are There Some Dishwasher Problems I Can't Fix?

With the proper tools and a little confidence, anyone can fix a dishwasher. However, the repairs demonstrated here are minor. Some dishwasher repairs may require a professional repairman to fix the problems. For example, if the dishwasher shuts off and doesn't turn on again, this may be a sign of a larger problem. Water may be leaking into the wires or outlets or there may be a short within the unit itself. If this may be the case, call a repairman immediately. Electrical shorts or water leaking behind the unit are fire hazards and require more than amateur hands to fix the issues. Local chain hardware stores often have repairmen that specialise in certain name brand appliances, so call them if a serious problem arises.

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About the Author

Yuurei Serai began writing in 2008 when she wrote an ebook for Experian. She has written for Purdue University's "Chronicle" newspaper as well as for various websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and a Master of Fine Arts in literature and composition from Purdue University. She has been teaching English and media arts since 2010.