Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Cleaning Dishes: Causes And Solutions

As a brand, Whirlpool produces some top-notch dishwasher models. But recently, the problem of dishwashers not washing the dishes has been prevalent in some of its models. Now, how to troubleshoot and deal with this Whirlpool dishwasher not cleaning dishes issue?

Well, normally you should start by checking whether the appliance is powered when your whirlpool dishwasher is not cleaning the dishes. Then, check if there is an adequate water supply and ensure that the door is closed correctly. Still, if the problem isn’t fixed, you must try other troubleshooting options.

Don’t worry! This article will provide the necessary information to help you understand and fix this issue. Therefore, let us dive into the discussion.

Why Does The Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Clean Dishes?

A dishwasher cleans piles of unclean and dirty dishes regularly. It needs to be appropriately functional all the time, or else the stocks of unclean utensils will pile up.

But the dishwasher often stops cleaning the dishes due to some internal issues. Some of the notable reasons behind dishwashers not washing dishes are discussed below:

Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Clean Dishes

Dishes Loading Improperly

One of the most common reasons for halting the cleaning process is the faulty loading of the dirty dishes. When there is an overload of the dishes, it ends up overlapping.

As a result of this, water doesn’t reach the dirty dishes. The main reason is the large dishes’ blockage of the water spraying arms, which prevents the water from spraying.

Hot Water Shortage

The shortage of hot water in the wash cycle can leave a residue. This scenario eventually means that the plates are still dirty and not cleaned properly.

Hot water is a more viable option than cold water when it is about breaking food particles and stains. That is why, if the water temperature levels are below 120 F, there will be an issue in breaking the dirt.

Broken Wash Arm

When the wash arm of the Whirlpool is faulty or broken, it won’t clean the stained dishes. Cleaning piles of dishes together sometimes damages the wash arm. As an outcome of the damage, these wash arms cannot function properly and do not clean the dishes as it is supposed to.

Door Not Closing

If the dishwasher door doesn’t close properly, it won’t start functioning and wash the dishes. The main reason behind this is to prevent any accidents and hazards in the kitchen. You can say that when the doors are closed properly, it ensures the utmost safety of the surroundings.

That said, something internal prevents the door from having a proper closure. Mostly the racks inside getting overloaded are one of the common reasons behind this problem.

Malfunctioning Dishwasher Dispenser

Most detergent has a huge role in cleaning the stains and dirt particles in the dishes. The reason is that the presence of rinse aids and enzymes makes breaking down food particles very fast.

Now, when these detergents don’t help clean the dishes, there is something wrong with the detergent dispenser itself. A malfunctioning detergent dispenser will deter the process of cleaning and will make it slow.

Faulty Inlet Valve

The water goes into the dishwasher through the inlet valve. But when this inlet valve has complications, it will affect the cleaning of dishes.

Whenever a fault is detected in the valve, the supply of water then halts into the dishwasher. And with no water, there is no chance of running the wash cycle and initiating the cleaning procedure.

Dirty Filter

After continuous cleaning, it is normal for the dishwasher filter to get dirty and clogged with residue. When such things happen, the cleaning process is significantly hampered. Moreover, not clearing the dishwasher filter clog will prolong the cleaning of dishes.

Have A Look: How To Fix Ge Dishwasher Not Draining?

How To Repair A Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Cleaning Problem?

It would be best if you fixed dishwashers, not wash dishes with immediate effect after detection. Since there can be several reasons behind this problem, you must try various methods to solve the issue. Here below are the steps that you need to follow to fix the dishwasher:

Method 1: Check And Fix The Door

Since the door not closing correctly is one of the reasons behind the problem, you need to address this issue.

To fix this, try to open the door and close it usually. If it doesn’t, check whether the trays inside are preventing the door from closing. After this, if the problem persists, there are issues with the door latch that need to be replaced.

Replacing a door latch is a straightforward task. Just follow the steps below:

  1. Open the door and navigate to the top panel to locate the latch
  2. Use a drill to unscrew the old latch and remove it
  3. Install the new latch and fit it firmly

Method 2: Check And Fix The Water Valve

If there isn’t any issue with the door, the possible reason for the problem can be a water shortage inside the dishwasher. And this problem results from a faulty water inlet valve.

Residues may have formed a clog that is hampering water inflow. It can result in the valve failing. Therefore, to fix this problem, consult a technician as it involves complex processes.

Method 3: Check The Temperature Of The Water

When the water supply is decent inside the dishwasher, there might be issues with water temperatures. If the water isn’t hot enough to clean the dishes, you must ensure the temperature is above 120°F. To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Increase the water temperature above 120°F in the water heater.
  2. Ensure that the hot and cold water lines are not positioned incorrectly
  3. Check the hot water by running the flow in the sink before streaming it into the dishwasher.

Method 4: Clean The Filter

The water for cleaning the dishes circulates the filter while running the wash cycle. It is mainly mounted on the bottom and has a massive role in the cleaning. But the filter clogging up residues hampers cleaning.

Therefore, you must clean it once every month to avoid this issue. The steps to follow are mentioned below:

  1. Locate the filter and take it out
  2. Take it to a sink and put it under tap water to clean it thoroughly using a brush
  3. Reinstall it on its location

However, if the filter seems damaged after cleaning, you would need to replace it.

Method 5: Inspect Spray Arms

When none of the above methods is relevant, you should check whether the spray arms are correctly functioning. For doing this, follow the steps mentioned below:

  1. Locate the spray arms and figure out if any damage or cracks exists.
  2. Replace the cracked spray arms with new ones
  3. Check for food debris on the clogged openings if there are no cracks
  4. Clean the residue using a toothpick
  5. Take the spray arm in the sink when the toothpick can’t remove the clogged debris.
  6. Use a brush to clean the holes by holding spray arms under tap water
  7. Rinse them thoroughly and then reinstall them

Method 6: Replace The Circulation Pump

When the circulation pump is defective, it prevents dishes from cleaning by not circulating water. To fix this, follow the steps mentioned below:

Step 1: Turn off the connections

The first task would be to disconnect the dishwasher from everything. Switch off the dishwasher and close the valve that allows water supply.

Step 2: Expose the Junction box

Take out the lower panel of the dishwasher by unscrewing the screws holding it. With the help of a wrench, unhook the water supply fitting from the inlet supply valve.

After this, start exposing the junction box by removing its cover. You’ll see wires connected with caps, which you need to remove. Thus, you will disconnect the cables.

Step 3: Take out strain relief

After opening the junction box and removing all the connections, you need to take out the strain relief holding it. Use a screwdriver to take out the strain relief nut and remove it from the box.

Step 4: Remove fittings of dishwasher compartment

The process starts with removing the sink hose from the drain. After that, take out all the mounting screws connecting the dishwasher. Then, lower the dishwasher by adjusting the legs with a wrench.

Step 5: Pull out the dishwasher

Place a mat on the floor and then carefully pull the dishwasher out from its position. Then, lie on the rear side of the dishwasher on the mat.

Step 6: Remove the old circulation pump

Use pliers to remove the pinch clamps attaching the pump to the hose. After that, remove the pump from the sump housing with some effort.

Step 7: Install the new pump

Apply some rinse aids on the attaching ports of the new pump. Reinstall the pump reversing the steps mentioned above.

How Can You Avoid The Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Cleaning Dishes Problem?

It is possible to avoid the problem of dishes not getting cleaned in the whirlpool dishwasher following specific directives. Those directives are listed as follows:

  • Clean the filter clogged with food particles and debris at least once a month
  • Ensure the continuous supply of hot water in the wash cycle
  • Inspect the water inlet valve at intervals and ensure that there isn’t any clogging
  • Load the dishes properly, guaranteeing ample space between each other so that there is a passage for water
  • Ensure that heavy crockeries aren’t around the spray warm


The dishwasher not self-cleaning the dishes is a frustrating issue. And when it is from a renowned brand like Whirlpool, most people get disappointed.

However, the core reason behind not cleaning will always be one. The challenge is when you have to identify and solve this problem. Because most dishwashers have a lifespan of 8-10 years, not fixing this problem timely will reduce the lifespan.

That is why maintenance of an appliance like a dishwasher is very crucial. We have added a helpful guide that will help you understand the root of the problem and its relevant fixes. In case anything you fail to understand, do let us know.

Evans Wade

Evans Wade

Hi, this is Evans Wade, the founder and editorial head of Indoorhelper. I’m a Mechanical Engineer and a businessman. After completing my graduation, I worked for a dishwasher manufacturing company, and later I started my own business. I have created this site Indoorhelper to share my knowledge and experience about dishwashers with people who don’t know it properly.

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