How Come My Dishwasher Won’t Dry? Detailed Guide to Fixing the Issue

If you’re asking yourself, “How come my dishwasher won’t dry?”, you’re not alone. Many homeowners experience this common yet frustrating problem. This article guides you through systematic troubleshooting steps to get your dishwasher back in working condition.

How Come My Dishwasher Won't Dry
From by Markus Spiske

Heating Element Issues

The heating element is essentially the heart of the dishwasher’s drying process. It heats the water during the wash cycle and warms the air during the drying cycle. If the heating element is malfunctioning, it will impact both cleaning and drying performance.

How to Check the Heating Element:

Unplug the Dishwasher to Ensure Your Safety: Safety should always be your first priority. Disconnect the dishwasher from the electrical outlet to eliminate any risk of electrical shock.

Remove the Bottom Rack to Get a Clear View: Slide out the bottom rack of the dishwasher to expose the heating element, which usually looks like a coiled or zigzagged metal rod at the bottom of the dishwasher.

Inspect the Heating Element for Visible Damage: Look for any signs of wear and tear such as cracks, blistering, or areas that appear burnt. Physical damage is a clear sign that the element needs replacement.

Test the Heating Element Using a Multimeter: If you have a multimeter, you can go a step further in diagnostics. Set your multimeter to the ohms setting and touch the probes to the element terminals.

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A reading between 15 and 30 ohms generally indicates a functioning element. A reading that shows no continuity signals it’s time for a replacement.

Please note that specific steps will vary depending on the model of your machine. Check your manual for more information.

Vent Problems

The vent is another crucial component that helps remove moist, hot air from the dishwasher, enabling the dishes to dry. If the vent is not opening or is obstructed, the humid air has nowhere to go, leading to wet dishes.

How to Check the Vent:

Locate the Vent: You will usually find the vent on the inner door or on the side wall of the dishwasher.

Check for Obstructions: Open the dishwasher door and inspect the vent for any food particles, debris, or other foreign objects that might be obstructing the airflow.

Clean the Vent: If you see any obstructions, clean the vent using a soft brush or cloth. You may also use a vacuum with a hose attachment to remove any loose debris.

Please note that specific steps will vary depending on the model of your machine. Check your manual for more information.

Rinse Aid Shortage

Rinse aid is an often-overlooked component that plays an essential role in the drying process. It reduces the surface tension of water, allowing it to roll off dishes easily, speeding up the drying process.

How to Refill Rinse Aid:

Open the Dishwasher Door and Locate the Rinse Aid Compartment: Usually, this compartment is adjacent to where you put the dishwasher detergent.

Unscrew or Pop Open the Cap: Remove the cap of the rinse aid compartment. It may either be a screw-on type or a simple snap-on; consult your dishwasher’s manual if you’re unsure.

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Fill the Compartment with Rinse Aid: Use a funnel to avoid spillage if necessary. Fill the compartment up to the fill line, which is usually marked clearly.

Incorrect Loading

The manner in which you load your dishwasher can directly impact its efficiency, both in cleaning and drying the dishes. If dishes are too close together or overlapping, it may restrict airflow and prevent water from draining off the dishes, leaving them damp at the end of the cycle.

How to Properly Load Your Dishwasher:

Place Larger Items on the Bottom Rack: Items like pots, pans, and large bowls should be placed on the bottom rack. Make sure they are angled downwards to prevent water from pooling.

Put Smaller Items on the Top Rack: Cups, glasses, and smaller bowls are best suited for the top rack. Again, angle them to encourage water to flow off.

Avoid Overlapping Dishes or Nesting Spoons Together: Overlapping restricts airflow and can lead to pockets where water gathers, preventing proper drying. Similarly, spoons should not be nested together, as this can trap water between them.

Faulty Thermostat

The thermostat in your dishwasher serves a crucial function—it regulates the water and drying temperature. If it is malfunctioning, your dishwasher may not get hot enough to effectively dry your dishes or, conversely, could get too hot and damage them.

How to Check the Thermostat:

Locate Your Dishwasher’s Thermostat: Before you start, unplug the dishwasher or turn off the circuit breaker to ensure it is not connected to power.

The thermostat is usually located at the bottom of the dishwasher, beneath the lower spray arm or the bottom rack. You may need to consult your dishwasher’s manual for the specific location.

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Use a Multimeter to Test for Continuity: Disconnect the wires from the thermostat terminals and set your multimeter to the lowest ohm rating.

Place the multimeter probes on the thermostat terminals. A normal reading is generally between zero and one ohm. If your multimeter shows no continuity, the thermostat is faulty.

Replacement Time: If the multimeter test shows the thermostat is defective, it will need to be replaced. You can either replace it yourself by purchasing a new thermostat compatible with your dishwasher model or call a qualified technician to do the job for you.

For more articles on dishwashers, click here: Dishwasher Problems and Solutions: Your Ultimate Guide to Hassle-free Dishwashing

Conclusion: How Come My Dishwasher Won’t Dry?

If you’ve ever found yourself exasperated, wondering “how come my dishwasher won’t dry?”, you’re certainly not alone. Dishwasher drying issues can be frustrating, but they are usually solvable problems when approached systematically.

From inspecting the heating element and the vent to refilling the rinse aid, proper loading, and even checking the thermostat, there are several checkpoints you can address to optimize your dishwasher’s drying performance.

Each of these elements plays a crucial role in ensuring that your dishwasher not only cleans but also dries your dishes efficiently.

Remember, safety first—always unplug your dishwasher or turn off the circuit breaker when inspecting internal components. When testing electrical parts, using tools like a multimeter can provide concrete evidence of a malfunction.

And finally, if these troubleshooting steps do not resolve the issue or if you encounter a problem you’re not comfortable tackling yourself, do not hesitate to seek professional assistance.

So the next time you’re faced with a dishwasher that leaves your dishes wet and speckled, take a deep breath and go through these checks one by one. You’re now armed with the knowledge to tackle this common household issue head-on.