How to Troubleshoot and Fix a Leaking Dishwasher

A leaking dishwasher can be a frustrating and messy problem to deal with. However, with some troubleshooting and basic repairs, you can often fix the issue without calling a professional technician. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to troubleshoot and fix a leaking dishwasher, saving you time and money.

If your dishwasher leaks, the problem may be with a damaged door seal, a cracked or clogged spray arm, or components under the dishwasher. These issues can lead to water seeping out and causing a mess in your kitchen. But fear not, with the right tools and a little know-how, you can tackle these problems and get your dishwasher working properly again.

In this guide, we will take you through the essential steps to identify the source of the leak and perform the necessary repairs. We will cover everything from inspecting the door seal and spray arms to checking the water supply line and drain hose. Additionally, we’ll examine the heating element, pump, and diverter motor for any potential issues.

By following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article, you can save yourself the hassle of calling a technician and the associated costs. With a little DIY effort, you can have your dishwasher up and running efficiently, without any leaks. So, let’s dive into the troubleshooting process and get your dishwasher back in tip-top shape!

Tools or Parts Needed

Before starting the troubleshooting process, gather the following tools and parts:

  • Screwdriver: You may need a screwdriver to remove panels or access certain components of the dishwasher.
  • Adjustable wrench: An adjustable wrench will be handy for loosening and tightening various connections.
  • Container or pitcher to scoop water: A container or pitcher will help you remove excess water from the dishwasher.
  • Wet/dry shop vacuum: A wet/dry shop vacuum is useful for removing water that has accumulated in the dishwasher or in hard-to-reach areas.
  • Work gloves: Wearing work gloves will protect your hands from sharp edges or potentially hot components.
  • Door seal: If the door seal is damaged or worn out, you may need to replace it to prevent leaks.
  • Spray arm: A faulty spray arm can cause water to spray in the wrong direction, leading to leaks.

Check Door Seal and Spray Arms for Damage

The door seal and spray arms are common culprits when it comes to dishwasher leaks. Follow these steps to inspect and address potential issues:

Start by examining the door seal for any visible signs of damage, such as cracks, tears, or brittleness. If you notice any issues, replace the seal with a new one, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Next, inspect the spray arms. Ensure that they are properly attached and not cracked or blocked. If there are any problems, replace the spray arm accordingly.

The door seal of a dishwasher plays a crucial role in preventing water from leaking out during a wash cycle. Over time, the door seal can deteriorate, resulting in cracks or tears that allow water to escape. To check the door seal, open the dishwasher door and visually inspect it for any visible signs of damage. Look for cracks, tears, or brittleness. If you notice any issues, it’s important to replace the seal promptly.

Replacing the door seal varies depending on the dishwasher model, so refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or the dishwasher’s manual for specific guidance. Typically, the process involves removing the old seal by pulling it out of its groove and inserting the new seal in its place. Ensure that the new seal is securely positioned to provide a tight seal when the dishwasher is closed.

In addition to the door seal, the spray arms can also contribute to dishwasher leaks if they are damaged or obstructed. The spray arms distribute water throughout the dishwasher to clean the dishes effectively. Inspect the spray arms to ensure they are properly attached and free from cracks. If you notice any damage, it is advisable to replace the spray arm.

To check the spray arms, open the dishwasher and locate them. They are typically located at the bottom and top of the dishwasher. Check for any cracks, warping, or blockages that may hinder their proper functioning. If the spray arms are damaged or obstructed, they will not distribute water evenly, leading to leaks. To replace the spray arms, consult the manufacturer’s instructions or the dishwasher’s manual for specific steps tailored to your dishwasher model.

By regularly inspecting and maintaining the door seal and spray arms, you can prevent potential leaks and ensure the efficient operation of your dishwasher. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and use appropriate replacement parts to maintain the integrity of your dishwasher’s sealing mechanisms.

Check Water Supply Line and Drain Hose

If your dishwasher is leaking, it’s important to inspect the water supply line and drain hose for any potential issues. Here’s how you can troubleshoot and address these components:

Next, let’s talk about leaks under the dishwasher. You may not notice these until after they start damaging your cabinet. You might find the leak under adjacent cabinets, such as under the kitchen sink cabinet. Sometimes, water may seem to be leaking from the bottom of the door when it’s actually leaking under the dishwasher and pooling beneath the door.

To find the leak, first, ensure the dishwasher’s electrical power is disconnected. This can be done by unplugging the dishwasher or shutting off the circuit breaker dedicated to the dishwasher. Safety should always be a priority when working with electrical appliances.

Next, remove the bottom front service panel and toe panel by locating the mounting screws and taking them off. With both panels removed, you will have a clear view underneath the dishwasher tub. In some dishwasher models, removing the front door panel and control panel can provide better access to the bottom components.

Once you have access, open the dishwasher door and proceed to remove the Torx screws located on the outer edges of the inner door panel. As you remove the final screws, support the outer door panel with one hand to prevent it from falling. Create a slight separation between the outer door panel and control panel from the inner door panel. Let the outer panel rest on the floor while disconnecting the user interface control wire harness. This will allow you to remove the outer door panel and control panel completely.

Begin by checking the water supply line connection at the front of the dishwasher. If you notice any signs of leakage, try tightening the fitting to see if it stops the leak. If the connection continues to leak, it’s necessary to shut off the water supply. Place a towel under the water supply line connection and disconnect the supply line. Replace the connection seal and ensure it is properly fitted. This should resolve any leaks originating from the water supply line connection.

If the water supply line connection is not the source of the leak, move on to the drain hose connection. Inspect the connection to the drain pump for any drips or evidence of leakage, such as water trails or stains. If you find any issues, reattach the drain line securely. Ensure that it is tightly connected to prevent leaks.

If both the water supply line and drain hose connections are intact, use a flashlight to carefully inspect the area beneath the dishwasher. Look for any signs of water dripping or water trails that indicate the location of the leak. Once you identify the source, replace the leaking seal or component responsible for the leak.

By thoroughly checking the water supply line and drain hose connections, as well as inspecting the underside of the dishwasher, you can identify and address potential leaks. Always follow safety precautions and consult the dishwasher’s manual or the manufacturer’s instructions for specific guidance regarding your dishwasher model.

Examine Heating Element, Pump, and Diverter Motor

If you haven’t been able to locate the source of the leak thus far, you’ll need to pull the dishwasher out from under the counter for a more thorough inspection. However, before proceeding, it’s crucial to ensure that the dishwasher’s electrical power is disconnected to prevent any accidents. Additionally, shut off the water supply to the dishwasher and release the drain hose from the garbage disposal or sink drain connection. Take precautions to place a towel under the water line connection on the water inlet valve to catch any spilled water.

If your dishwasher’s power cord is plugged into an electrical outlet, position the cord so that it moves freely when you pull the dishwasher out from under the counter. However, if the power cord is hard-wired into the junction box, you’ll need to remove the junction box cover and disconnect the supply wires. Release the power cable from the junction box by removing the strain relief nut. Make sure to keep the door panel and control panel close to the inner door, allowing you to reconnect the user interface control wire harness and attach the outer door panel and control panel to the inner door panel. Once everything is securely connected, reinstall the mounting screws.

To prevent any damage to interior parts, start by removing the bottom dishrack before tipping the dishwasher over to examine for leaks. Proceed by removing the screws from the mounting brackets that hold the dishwasher in place under the counter. Carefully pull the dishwasher out and lay it on its back, providing a clear view of all the bottom components. Inspect the area for any water trails or signs of leakage originating from the heating element, sump, or diverter motor. If you identify any leaking components, they should be replaced promptly.

In cases where the leaking component has a separate seal available for purchase, it’s recommended to replace the seal rather than the entire component. This can save you both time and money. However, if there are no signs of water trails or evidence of leaks, carefully set the dishwasher upright again. To further investigate the source of the leak, fill the tub with some water. Pour approximately a quart of water into the tub and observe closely for any water dripping from the components underneath. Continue adding water and checking for leaks until the tub is filled to the bottom of the mushroom float. This process will likely help you pinpoint the source of the leak more accurately.

It’s advisable to keep a wet/dry shop vacuum or a container nearby to remove the water from the dishwasher once you locate the leak. After identifying the source, drain the water and proceed to replace any leaking components or seals as necessary. This thorough examination and replacement of faulty parts will help resolve the leakage issue and restore the proper functioning of your dishwasher.

Technician Needed for Further Tests

If you have exhausted all the troubleshooting steps and are still unable to locate the source of the leak, it may be necessary to enlist the help of a professional technician. A qualified technician will have the expertise and tools required to perform further tests and diagnostics to identify the underlying issue.

It is recommended to hire a professional technician with experience in dishwasher repairs. They will be able to conduct tests with the dishwasher running and with wiring and electrical components exposed, if necessary. However, it is important to note that these tests should only be performed by a trained professional due to the inherent risk of electrocution associated with exposed wiring and components.

By calling in a technician, you can ensure a comprehensive assessment of your dishwasher. They will have access to specialized equipment and knowledge to accurately diagnose the cause of the leak and determine which specific component requires repair or replacement.

To schedule an appointment with a qualified technician, you can reach out to a trusted repair service or contact the customer support line of the dishwasher manufacturer. They will guide you through the process and arrange for a technician to visit your home at a convenient time.

It is essential to prioritize safety when dealing with complex electrical appliances like dishwashers. Seeking professional help for advanced diagnostics and repairs can not only prevent potential hazards but also save you time and frustration by avoiding incorrect diagnoses or further damage caused by DIY attempts. Professional technicians possess the necessary skills and experience to provide effective solutions for resolving the leaking issue.

Remember to follow all safety precautions and avoid attempting any repairs that are beyond your level of expertise. Your well-being and the safety of your household should always be the top priority when dealing with complex appliance issues.


Dealing with a leaking dishwasher can be a hassle, but by following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article, you can often resolve the problem on your own. Always prioritize safety by disconnecting the dishwasher from power and water sources before attempting any repairs.

Cities within our service area that are part of Fulton County include the following:

Dunwoody, Milton, Johns Creek, Roswell, Alpharetta, Brookhaven, Sandy Springs, Atlanta

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