Skip to Content

KitchenAid Dishwasher Not Working/Cleaning/Washing

It is often easier to correct issues that cause KitchenAid dishwashers to stop cleaning than most people realize. By following a few simple steps, you can diagnose and fix many issues with ease.

Generally speaking, KitchenAid dishwasher cleaning and washing problems can be corrected by cleaning debris from the dishwasher and doing a hard restart. After shutting down the dishwasher power for a few minutes and restarting, you can continue to diagnose the problem and fix it within a few minutes.

Dishwasher

Diagnosing any problems with a KitchenAid dishwasher is often a matter of looking at the specific issue first. There may be something that can fix the item quickly.

Dishwashers are relatively simple machines, so many homeowners are able to fix even the most difficult of problems. If you are going to get help, make sure you use a qualified KitchenAid technician.

Kitchen Aid Dishwasher Not Working/Cleaning/Washing

The following are some of the most common reasons why a KitchenAid dishwasher will not work, clean, or wash dishes.

This is always the best place to start. If you identify some more specific problems, you can check the items below this list for more specific solutions.

Incomplete Cycle – One of the most common reasons why a dishwasher is no longer working properly is because the cycle was interrupted.

Inside of every dishwasher is a control panel that operates as the computer for the machine. The memory in the control panel causes the cycle to start where it was interrupted when the door was opened or the power was turned off.

Stopping in the middle of the cycle can often cause problems. At times, the solution may be as simple as closing the door and allowing the cycle to continue. At other times, you may need to do a hard reset.

Hard Reset – If you ever talk to tech support and they told you to turn your machine on and off, what you are doing is a hard reset. Essentially, you disconnect the power and turn it back on after a minute.

If your KitchenAid dishwasher is plugged in so you have easy access to the receptacle, you can simply unplug it and leave it unplugged for at least a minute. If the plug is inaccessible or it is hardwired, you will need to turn the power off at the breaker.

Performing a hard reset by leaving the power off for at least a minute will correct most problems. At times, you may find that leaving it off for an hour or two will correct other issues.

Not Loaded Properly – Many families end up adding too many dishes to the dishwasher or they don’t take the time to load them properly. This can cause issues with the dishes not getting fully cleaned.

If the dishwasher is running through the cycle but it doesn’t seem to be cleaning or washing the dishes properly, you may need to look at how the dishes were loaded. Check your manual for information.

There is a difference between loading the dishwasher properly and pre-rinsing the dishes. Modern-day dishwashers do not require that you rinse the dishes in advance and it may even be beneficial to skip the rinse process.

Lower Wash Arm Clogged – The lower wash arm does more than wash the dishes on the lower rack, the water from it also reaches the top rack.

Turn the dishwasher off by disconnecting the power and then reach in to see if something has become lodged under the lower wash arm. Typical culprits include large particles of food, broken dishes, or a piece of silverware.

You can also try manually spinning the lower wash arm to see if it is working properly.

The lower wash arm can be removed and cleaned, but you need to be cautious that you don’t damage it in the process.

Upper Wash Arm – Issues with the upper arm can also cause the dishwasher to stop washing properly. An impeller pushes the water to the upper wash arm and creates the pressure that keeps the dishes clean.

Make sure that the upper wash arm is spinning freely and it is not blocked by any tall glasses or other items in the top tray.

Inlet Valve – If the inlet valve has failed, the dishwasher will run through the cycle but no water will get into the dishwasher. Check the inlet valve to make sure it is operating properly.

Kitchen Aid Dishwasher Doesn’t Wash Top Rack

If it seems like the dishes are getting cleaned on the bottom rack but not the top rack, there may be some specific issues to look into.

Lack of Water – When enough water is getting into the machine, everything seems to operate properly. A lack of water, however, is certainly going to affect the cleaning quality of the dishwasher.

Has the water been turned off? Is it the first time that you operated the dishwasher since you installed it? Make sure that the water valve is turned on and there are no kinks in the water line that stop the free flow of water to the dishwasher.

Clogged to Wash Arm – The upper wash arm washes the dishes from above and the lower wash arm washes them from below. If either wash arm has become clogged by debris, it will not operate properly.

Manually spin the arm to make sure that it is not stuck. You can then check the holes of the wash arm to see if there is debris stuck in them that would keep water from flowing.

Impeller – The impeller creates the water pressure that pushes the water to the upper wash arm and out onto the dishes. If it is not creating enough pressure, the water is not going to flow.

Inlet Valve – This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. As the name would suggest, the inlet valve is what allows the water to come into the machine. If it is not operating properly, the dishwasher will not have water.

You can work the inlet valve manually to see if it is stuck. You can also check it for debris and clean it if necessary. Be cautious not to damage the valve while cleaning it.

Fortunately, the inlet valve is also easy to change and most homeowners are able to do it on their own.

Circulation Pump – One other thing that could go wrong and stop the top rack from getting clean is if the circulation pump is not operating.

You can check the circulation pump by using a multimeter and checking for continuity. Many homeowners find that contacting a professional is the best choice.

A faulty circulation pump must be replaced.

Kitchenaid Dishwasher Fills And/or Drains but Doesn’t Wash

Dishwasher

The most common reason why a dishwasher fills and/or drains but doesn’t wash is also the easiest to fix.

If the cycle was interrupted by the door being open, the small computer in the dishwasher may stop it from working properly. This can be corrected in one of two different ways.

1. Continue the Cycle – If the cycle was interrupted, it can sometimes be finished by closing the door and pushing the start/reset button. After it has run its course, try running an empty load to see if it operates properly.

2. Hard Reset – Disconnecting the dishwasher from the power source by unplugging it or flipping the breaker is how you perform a hard reset. You can turn the power back on after a minute.

Check the Wash Motor – Another issue is for the wash motor to be broken or not operating properly. The wash motor is sometimes called the circulation pump.

You can check the wash motor by pulling the unit and operating it through a cycle. Listen to the wash motor and see if it is making a clicking noise. If so, it needs to be replaced.

You can also check the continuity of the wash motor using a multimeter.

KitchenAid Dishwasher Not Completing Wash Cycle

Dishwasher

Your KitchenAid dishwasher has a small control board that is the computer that operates the machine. That computer has a memory, so if you stop the cycle midstream, it wants to restart at that point.

1. At times, this may be fixed by simply closing the door and pressing the start button to complete the cycle. At other times, you may need to perform a hard reset to get it back to where it should be.

A hard reset is performed by unplugging the machine or turning off the breaker for one minute. When you turn the machine back on, it should start at the beginning of the cycle.

2. Another issue that can cause the dishwasher to stop in the middle of a cycle is for the door to be open. If the door pops open in the middle of the cycle, then the latch may be broken.

3. If the door is closed but the dishwasher stops running, it may think that the door is open. This can often be traced to a bad switch.

The switch is located on the inside of the dishwasher and it tells the dishwasher when the door is open. If the switch is bad or is clogged with debris, the dishwasher will think the door is open, even when it is closed.

4. Your dishwasher may be detecting a leak or it may not be getting the airflow that is necessary to keep it from overheating.

5. Is there a warning on the control panel? That is often the first place to look and if there is a warning, you can contact a qualified KitchenAid technician.

KitchenAid Dishwasher Arms Not Spinning

Man arranging the plates in dishwasher

The dishwasher arms are relatively simple machines. That being said, there are a number of issues that can keep them from operating.

Blocked Rotation – If the wash arm is hitting something from the rack, it will not operate properly. Spin the arm manually and see if it is getting close to any dishes.

Clogged Spray Arm – If the spray arm is clogged, it may not spin properly and will not wash the dishes thoroughly. You can often clean the spray arm using pipe cleaners but be cautious you don’t damage them.

Water Pressure – If you don’t have enough water pressure or if there isn’t enough water coming in through the inlet valve, the arms will not spin effectively.

Check the inlet valve and impeller to make sure that you are getting all the pressure you need.

Defective Food Chopper – One other issue to check is if the food chopper is not operating properly. A lot of debris could be left behind and this can block the pump from operating.

Having a KitchenAid dishwasher that is not operating is inconvenient, to say the least. Fortunately, many of the issues can be corrected easily by most homeowners. Once you diagnose the problem, dig in and get it fixed.