Our homes are full of noises. From electronics use and the HVAC unit to cooking sounds and the voices of family members, your home may often seem like it’s just a few decibels below a rock concert. But it’s all good because it shows that you have life and happiness going on under your roof. However, one sound you don’t want to hear is a dishwasher grinding noise. If you are facing this issue, your main concern is how to stop it.
A dishwasher grinding noise can drown out all other noises in your house. It’s a source for worry and questions. In addition to asking how you will clean your dishes now and should you just throw it away, you will want to know how to stop it. Learn more to make the decision that is best for your household.
Why you need to know what to do about dishwasher grinding noise
You probably don’t have the money for a new dishwasher right now. Since your dishwasher is a huge convenience and a big investment, it’s essential to take care of it correctly. A brand new dishwasher will set you back approximately $300 to $700. When you add on installation and labor costs of $200 to $500 and that’s quite an unexpected chunk out of your budget.
Ignoring a problem will likely make it worse. If something has fallen into your machine and is wearing down the parts, the situation will only become louder and more pronounced until it is fixed.
Remember that it could all be normal. Since your dishwasher runs on a motor-driven electrical mechanism, slight grinding noises as it works through the cleaning cycle are no cause for concern. Also, to solve the issue of washing your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, some brands now include food disposals and grinders within the machine. This prevents you from having to prewash but it can produce an annoying grinding sound. Pick your poison.
Possible causes for dishwasher grinding noise
Food or other debris stuck in the motor – there are numerous moving parts to your dishwasher. One of the most important is the motor. That’s why it’s necessary to ensure that it remains unencumbered. Even if you dutifully rinse your dishes before loading, there are still food particles leftover. Over time, these can build up and create a mass of grit, which will produce that dreaded dishwasher grinding noise.
Timeworn motor bearings – depending on the age of your dishwasher, the rubber around the bearings can weaken over time. This is most often caused by things like years of exposure to hot water and steam.
The dishwasher is not properly fastened to the cabinet or floor – your dishwasher must be secure in its housing. If not, strange noises can result.
Wash or drain impellers – these could be broken or cracked. If there is debris or the broken pieces are chaffing the sides, you will hear a loud grinding noise.
Insufficient water spray – the parts of your dishwater require water to operate the way it’s supposed to. Sometimes, there is not enough water spraying into your machine due to a malfunctioning water inlet valve.
Tips on troubleshooting your dishwasher grinding noise problem
Find your service manual
All dishwashers are different. While many of the parts are universal, there might be subtle differences you need to be aware of. For example, some may have additional pieces that will need to be removed. Most come with schematics and instructions for how to address possible problems.
Check your filter
Occasional maintenance on your dishwasher is essential. It doesn’t matter if you have a KitchenAid, GE, Bosch or other brand of washing machine. Most models have a filter that needs to be cleaned out periodically. Many people are not aware of this. On a majority of models, a detachable filter is located on the bottom of the tub. When not cleaned, it can cause overflows. If it’s too full, excess food particles will have to go somewhere else and most likely, they will go where they don’t belong and cause that dishwasher grinding noise.
Take the dishwasher apart, piece by piece, until you locate the issue
First, you will need to unplug the appliance. Next, you will need to take apart the spray arm assembly at the bottom by unscrewing the screw which holds it. You may also have to remove the pump housing, spacer plate and the screen. At each step, take a look to be sure nothing is stuck on these areas. Doing this will help you determine exactly where the problem is and where you should focus your efforts. Whether you have a Kenmore, GE, Whirlpool or other brand, the method for taking it apart is pretty general.
Interrupt the cleaning cycle
Many dishwashers allow you to pause or stop the cleaning cycle in the middle. If yours does this, take advantage. When you hear the grinding noise, open the dishwasher door. Wait for the steam to clear and then check the area under the bottom rack, around the rotating plastic blades, to see if there is anything stuck.
Clean as you go
Since you have taken it apart, you might as well use the opportunity to clean the parts of your dishwasher. For instance, the screen can be cleaned with simple soap and water.
Run your dishwasher when it’s empty
The problem could be a faulty motor and not something jammed in the parts. If you still hear your dishwasher grinding noise when there is nothing in the machine, it could be a plumbing or motor issue.
Replace any broken or damaged parts
When you inspect your dishwasher, you may clean the parts and still experience the noise. You might also locate parts that are cracked or broken beyond repair. Then you may need to replace the part. Write down the model and serial numbers to make it easier at the home improvement store.
Sometimes, DIY is not your best option, especially if you are inexperienced in working with the parts of a major appliance. You don’t want to make the situation worse. More importantly, you don’t want to make a mistake that could void your warranty.