Diagnosing Dishwasher Door Leaks

appliance tip of the day archiveWhen diagnosing a water leak from your dishwasher door, you need to determine if the water is coming from inside the door liner, from underneath the door, or out the door gasket. Here a few things to check before pulling out your tool box.

Dishwasher Installation is Critical!

The dishwasher has to be level, with all four legs firmly on the ground, and square. Check the level front to back and side to side. Level is especially critical if your dishwasher has a plastic tub because these can be warped by cruddy installation jobs.


Gawd, I can’t even count how many service calls I’ve been on for leaking dishwashers only to find that the problem was either 1) using too much soap or 2) someone (usually hubby) put in liquid dishwashing soap instead of dishwashing detergent. In either case, the dishwasher will whip up more suds than an overcharged keg in a brewpub and you’ll end up with soapy water all over your floor.

Water Overfill

The water level should come up to the bottom edge of the heating element. To check this, open the door after the dishwasher fills with water and starts spraying. If the dishwasher is not level front to back and is pitched forward, the water level will be above the heating element in front but below the element in back.

Door Alignment

The door liner needs to be centered in the door gasket. If it ain’t…you guessed it, LEAK!

Door Gasket

Cracks, tears, and shrinkage can all cause a door gasket to leak. Sometimes, on older dishwashers, the gasket can look ok, but the rubber has become age-hardened and so doesn’t make a good seal with the cabinet anymore. This is especially true with Kitchenaids.

Lid Latch Grommet

This is the little gasket that seals the latch on the detergent compartment door. A common source of leaks with Maytag dishwashers is that this grommet will tear and cause leaks. Easy $2 fix.

Wash Arm

Sometimes, plastic wash arms will split at the seams. This pushes high pressure water directly at the door and out through the gasket. To check the spray arm for splits, run the dishwasher to heat the arm then grab both ends and gently twist, looking for splits. Also, gookus caught inside the spray arm can stick in the spray arm holes during wash and make high pressure water jets inside– like holding your thumb over a garden hose– that the door gaskets aren’t designed to withstand. Remove and clean out the spray arm.

Front Tub Flange

Sometimes the front tub flange on plastic basins can warp and pucker outward, causing leaks. Use a heat gun to warm up the plastic and bend it back into place.

Still confoosed, grasshoppah? For more pearls of wisdom about your dishwasher, click here.

grasshoppers waiting to load the dishwasher after the master finishes stuffing his pie hole with flesh meats.


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