My Dishwasher Will Not Spray Water

Updated November 21, 2016

Typically speaking, dishwashers clean by spraying dishwasher detergent and water onto dishes and silverware using a system of jets on spray arms that raise, lower and spin within the dishwasher. However, if the dishwasher does not spray water, there are several potential reasons why. If the reason is simple, such as clogged spray jets, it can be easy to resolve. If the problem is more serious, such as a broken pump, professional service might be needed.

Water Supply

If the dishwasher is not spraying water, it is important to verify that the dishwasher is connected properly to a water supply source. Make sure the water valve is turned on fully and the water hose is straightened out to allow the water to flow freely into the dishwasher. You can find the water valve on the lower left side of the dishwasher behind the lower front access panel.

Water Pressure

If the dishwasher does not seem to be spraying water, it might be because the household water pressure is too low. Correct water pressure is between 20 and 120 psi. This can be determined by running water at the faucet close to the dishwasher and filling a 1-quart container. Determine the amount of time it takes for the container to fill. If it takes longer than nine seconds, contact a plumber to have a booster pump installed.


If the dishwasher is packed too tightly with items, the water spray may not be able to reach the dishes properly, leading you to assume incorrectly that the water is not spraying. Keep a space between each dish and tilt items down toward the dishwasher bottom. Make sure items do not hang down from the racks, as this blocks the spray arm from turning, and make sure tall items on the bottom rack do not interfere with the upper spray arm rotation.

Spray Arm Nozzle

The nozzle on each spray arm can get clogged with food debris, residue, small objects or even labels from bottles or other containers. The spray arm nozzle can be cleaned with a toothpick to remove any items or debris that may prevent the water from spraying properly.

Other Issues

Examine the pump filter on the bottom of the dishwasher and remove any items, labels or food debris that may be clogging the pump. If the pump is broken or defective, it will require professional repair. Other potential problems include a stuck float switch. The overfill protection float is a little plastic device on the bottom of the dishwasher. It should be able to move freely and can prevent water from entering the appliance if it gets stuck. Push down to release it.

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About the Author

Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.