Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Cleaning The Dishes Properly? Find Out Why

Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Cleaning The Dishes Properly? Find Out Why
Table of Contents

Expand your proficiency in dishwasher repair by exploring insightful resources like:

15 Common Whirlpool Dishwasher Problems and How to Fix Them

Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Draining? 7 Ways To Repair & Unclog

How To Reset And Get Your Whirlpool Dishwasher Back Up And Running?

1. Check for Dish Placement

Troubleshooting a Whirlpool dishwasher for inadequate cleaning starts with checking dish placement. Improper loading can hinder water and detergent distribution, leaving dishes dirty. Ensure large items don’t block spray arms or water flow.

  • FAQs often include how to load plates and whether to pre-rinse.
  • Modern dishwashers handle food particles; however, scrape off large food chunks.
  • Arrange utensils to avoid blocking spray arms; place knives with sharp ends down.
  • These steps can often resolve cleaning issues, but further investigation may be needed if problems persist.

2. Examine the Spray Arms

Issues with the spray arms can cause a Whirlpool dishwasher to not clean dishes properly. These arms distribute water for thorough cleaning, but clogs or damage can affect their performance.

  • Check for debris or food particles around the spray arm nozzles.
  • Remove visible debris and clear stubborn particles with a toothpick or small brush.
  • Inspect for damage like cracks or misalignment; replace if necessary.
  • Detach spray arms, rinse under water, and clear any remaining obstructions.
  • Ensure proper loading to allow sufficient water circulation for effective cleaning.

Regularly examining and maintaining the spray arms improves water flow and cleaning performance in a Whirlpool dishwasher. Proper loading is essential to ensure even water distribution and sparkling clean dishes after each cycle.

3. Verify Water Temperature

Maintaining proper water temperature is crucial for optimal cleaning performance in a Whirlpool dishwasher. Here’s how to ensure it:

  • Set hot water heater to at least 120°F (49°C) for optimal dishwashing.
  • Run the hot water faucet near the dishwasher before starting a cycle.
  • Verify water temperature using a thermometer or heat-resistant dish during a wash cycle.

Inadequate water temperature can lead to residue on dishes and bacterial growth. By verifying and adjusting water temperature settings, you ensure effective grease and stain removal, and proper sanitization of dishes. 

4. Inspect the Detergent Usage

Inspecting detergent usage is crucial for troubleshooting poor dishwasher performance. Inadequate or improper detergent use is a common cause of dirty dishes. Ensure you use dishwasher-specific detergent suitable for your model, avoiding regular dish soap. Use a high-quality detergent for tough stains and grease.

  • Check if using dishwasher-specific detergent.
  • Avoid regular dish soap or handwashing detergents.
  • Use high-quality detergent for tough stains.

Pay attention to detergent amount. Adding extra can lead to residue buildup, clogging spray nozzles and filters. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for load size and soil level. Consider pre-rinsing heavily soiled dishes if necessary to prevent clogs.

5. Examine the Filters

When troubleshooting poor dishwasher performance, start by examining the filters. These filters prevent food particles and debris from clogging spray arms and nozzles, ensuring proper water flow.

  • Identify and remove the two types of filters: coarse and fine.
  • Rinse them under warm water to remove residue and debris.
  • Check for damage and replace if necessary.

Regularly cleaning dishwasher filters is crucial for optimal performance and preventing issues.

6. Check for Clogged Spray Nozzles

Dishwasher cleaning problems often stem from clogged spray nozzles, hindering water and detergent distribution during wash cycles. Accumulated food particles and mineral deposits can restrict proper cleaning.

  • Regularly check for and address clogs in the spray nozzles to maintain optimal dishwasher performance.
  • Locate the spray arms and inspect each nozzle for obstructions like food particles or mineral deposits.
  • Gently dislodge any clogs using a toothpick or small brush.
  • Remove the spray arms for a thorough cleaning by rinsing under warm water and scrubbing gently with a soft brush.
  • Ensure all tiny holes in the spray arms are clear of debris before reattaching them securely.

7. Evaluate Water Pressure

When your Whirlpool dishwasher doesn’t clean dishes properly, water pressure is a key factor to check. Low water pressure can lead to leftover food particles and stains on dishes. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Clogged Spray Nozzles and Arms: Accumulated debris can block water flow.
  • Cleaning Process: Use a brush or toothpick to clear blockages.
  • Check for Damage: Inspect spray arms for holes or cracks; replace if necessary.

Hard water can cause mineral buildup, reducing water pressure:

  • Water Quality: Hard water with high mineral content can lead to calcium buildup.
  • Descaling: Regularly descale the dishwasher with vinegar or a descaling agent.

8. Inspect the Dishwasher Arms

Inspecting the dishwasher arms is vital for troubleshooting poor performance. These arms spray water onto dishes for thorough cleaning. If clogged or damaged, they won’t distribute water properly, leading to unsatisfactory results.

  • Remove arms and clear clogged nozzles with a brush or toothpick.
  • Ensure all nozzles spray water evenly; check for cracks or damage.
  • Clean or replace filters to prevent debris buildup in the arms.

Regular maintenance prevents issues caused by clogs and damage, ensuring effective cleaning. Well-functioning spray arms guarantee adequate water coverage for optimal results in your Whirlpool dishwasher.

9. Examine the Softener Dispenser

When dealing with dishwasher cleaning issues, it’s crucial to inspect the softener dispenser, a component often overlooked but vital for dishwashing performance. Here’s a breakdown:

Softener Dispenser Importance

  • Ensures clean, spot-free dishes by softening hard water.
  • Combine with water to rinse away food residues and prevent spots on glassware and cutlery.

Troubleshooting Steps

  • Check the softener dispenser for proper fill of rinse aid or dishwasher salt.
  • Refill if empty and ensure compatibility with the dishwasher model.
  • Verify proper function during wash cycle to prevent streaks or residue on dishes.

If problems persist despite these steps, consider seeking assistance from a professional Whirlpool dishwasher repair service. They offer specialized knowledge and tailored guidance for your appliance model, helping resolve issues effectively.

10. Ensure Proper Loading of Utensils

Proper loading of utensils is crucial for ensuring your Whirlpool dishwasher cleans dishes effectively. Overcrowding and improper placement can lead to poor performance. Follow these key points for maintenance:

  • Avoid overloading the dishwasher to allow proper water flow.
  • Space dishes out evenly to ensure thorough cleaning.
  • Separate utensils to prevent nesting during the wash cycle.

Ensure utensils are evenly placed in the basket with handles facing down to prevent blocking the spray arm’s rotation. Avoid obstructions that could affect water pressure or spray arm movement.

11. Check for Calcium Buildup

Calcium buildup is a common issue in dishwashers, including Whirlpool models, impacting cleaning performance. When deposits accumulate in components like spray arms and filters, it hinders water flow and efficiency, leading to low water pressure.

  • Reduced water pressure in the dishwasher indicates calcium buildup.
  • Residue or spots on dishes after a cycle can signal this issue.
  • Regularly inspect and clean components to address calcium buildup, including:
  1. Removing spray arms and soaking them in warm, soapy water with vinegar.
  2. Clearing clogged spray nozzles with a brush or toothpick.
  3. Cleaning filters thoroughly.
  • High mineral content in hard water worsens calcium deposits.
  • Consider using a water softener in areas with hard water for better dishwasher performance.

Regular maintenance prevents common dishwasher problems like poor cleaning due to calcium buildup. Promptly address this issue through inspection and cleaning while managing hard water quality to ensure efficient dishwashing with your Whirlpool dishwasher.

12. Examine the Wash Cycle Settings

When your Whirlpool dishwasher isn’t cleaning well, start by checking the wash cycle settings. The selected cycle greatly affects cleaning performance.

  • Low water pressure can cause poor cleaning. Check for clogged spray nozzles or debris in the water inlet valve.
  • Ensure the chosen wash cycle allows for adequate water flow and pressure.
  • Maintain hot water supply at a minimum temperature of 120°F (49°C) for effective cleaning.

Understanding specialized cycles like “Intensive Wash” or “Heavy Duty” can help troubleshoot cleaning issues. Consult the user manual for specific instructions on cycle settings.

13. Inspect the Door Seal

Inspecting the dishwasher door seal is crucial for troubleshooting cleaning issues. A damaged seal can lead to poor performance and leaks.

  • Check for wear, tears, or misalignment along the seal.
  • Ensure it makes full contact with the dishwasher frame when closed.
  • Remove calcium deposits periodically to prevent buildup and leaks.

Regular maintenance of the door seal is essential for optimal performance. Cleanliness and proper alignment prevent leaks and maintain water pressure during wash cycles. 

14. Evaluate Water Quality

Proper water quality is essential for your Whirlpool dishwasher’s performance. If dishes aren’t clean, it could be due to impurities or mineral deposits in the water.

  • Hard water, rich in calcium and magnesium, leaves residues on dishes and in the dishwasher.
  • Look for spots or a cloudy film on glassware to check for hard water issues.
  • Consider using a water softener or whole-house softening system to minimize mineral buildup.
  • Impurities like sediment, chlorine, and heavy metals affect detergent effectiveness.
  • Unusual odor or taste in tap water could indicate contaminants impacting dishwasher performance.
  • Use a quality filtration system or consult a plumber to improve water quality.

Maintaining proper water quality improves your Whirlpool dishwasher’s efficiency, ensuring cleaner dishes. Don’t overlook water quality in dishwasher maintenance.

15. Consider Professional Whirlpool Dishwasher Repairman

Consider hiring a professional repairman when DIY attempts fail to fix your Whirlpool dishwasher. They have the expertise and tools to accurately diagnose and solve complex issues, saving you time and frustration. Here’s why:

  • Specialized Knowledge: Professionals can identify problems like low water pressure or damaged seals that DIY fixes might miss.
  • Water Quality Solutions: They can recommend solutions for issues like hard water deposits, such as installing water softeners or using specialized detergents.
  • Long-Term Efficiency: Investing in professional repairs ensures optimal performance and can prevent costly future repairs.

Don’t hesitate to contact Get A Pro for Whirlpool dishwasher repair services in the Greater Toronto area and nearby cities including Etobicoke, Scarborough, Pickering, Ajax and more! Our expertise can save you from ongoing frustrations and ensure your appliance operates efficiently for years to come.

Contact us at 1-800-498-4490 (toll-free) or fill out our contact form to schedule a same-day Whirlpool dishwasher repair appointment.


Troubleshooting and resolving Whirlpool dishwasher cleaning issues requires a systematic approach that encompasses various factors. By carefully examining the dish placement, spray arms, water temperature, detergent usage, filters, spray nozzles, water pressure, dishwasher arms, softener dispenser, loading of utensils, calcium buildup, wash cycle settings, door seal integrity and water quality; common problems can be identified and resolved effectively.

However if problems persist or become more complex it is advisable to consult a professional Whirlpool dishwasher repairman who can provide expert guidance and assistance. With proper attention to detail and regular care, your Whirlpool dishwasher will continue to deliver optimal cleaning results for years to come, ensuring sparkling dishes and a hassle-free dishwashing experience.


What are common reasons for a Whirlpool dishwasher not achieving proper dish cleanliness?

Common reasons for a Whirlpool dishwasher not achieving proper dish cleanliness include issues with the cleaning cycle, insufficient detergent, spray arm obstructions, or water pressure problems.

Can I troubleshoot issues with the dishwasher’s cleaning cycle on my own?

Yes, you can troubleshoot issues with the dishwasher’s cleaning cycle on your own. Start by ensuring that the spray arms are not obstructed, cleaning the filters, and checking for debris in the dishwasher’s interior.

Are there DIY solutions for problems related to the dishwasher’s insufficient use of detergent?

Certainly, there are DIY solutions for problems related to insufficient use of detergent. Check the detergent dispenser for any blockages or clogs. Also, ensure you’re using the correct type and amount of detergent according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

How do I handle issues with spray arm obstructions or water pressure problems?

To handle spray arm obstructions, remove the spray arms and clean out any debris or buildup. For water pressure problems, make sure the water inlet valve is functioning correctly, and check for kinks or clogs in the water supply line.

When is it advisable to consult with a professional for Whirlpool dishwasher cleaning issues?

If DIY troubleshooting doesn’t resolve the cleaning issues, and there are suspected mechanical or electrical problems, it’s advisable to consult with a professional. They can inspect and diagnose internal components, such as the pump and motor, and address any underlying issues that may be affecting the dishwasher’s cleaning performance.

Share This Article

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Open chat
Scan the code
Get A Pro Chat *LIVE Agent*
Thank you for contacting Get A Pro! In a few words, let us know how we can help you. Please allow us 90 seconds to connect you to our live team member.