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Why Is My Dishwasher Not Drying My Dishes

John Turpin is our resident home service repair expert here at Service Direct. He’s got the knowledge and experience to help homeowners like you make sense of most home repair issues. And with Service Direct, we connect you with top-tier service professionals to help with any repairs needed.

Don’t Panic if Your Dishwasher Isn’t Drying Dishes

It can be incredibly frustrating when your dishwasher isn’t drying dishes. You have a dishwasher to help make washing dishes easier, after all. If your dishes are still damp after the dishwasher completes a cycle, don’t be tempted to replace the appliance yet. In this guide, we’ll discuss some troubleshooting tips that will help you find out why your dishwasher leaves dishes wet.

Dishwasher overload not drying dishes
Check out the list below for the most common causes your dishwasher may not be drying your dishes completely.

Reasons Why Dishes Won’t Dry in your Dishwasher

You will find many different reasons why a dishwasher is not getting dishes dry. Some of them are simple enough that you can fix them on your own. Others, however, need a professional’s help. Hiring a professional appliance repair service comes with a bill, which makes it a great idea to start first with the tricks we’ll share with you.

Plastic and Teflon Utensils

Are your dishes coming out wet? Before calling a repairman, have you considered that maybe what you put inside the dishwasher is why it’s not drying properly? You see some materials dry more quickly and better than others. Such is the case with glass and ceramic utensils. It’s a different case with Teflon and plastic, where water and moisture seem to cling more.

Dishwashing Drying Method

There are two drying methods that dishwashers use – the heated and condensation drying. Heated drying needs a heating element to increase the air temperature to draw the moisture out of the dishwasher. But with condensation drying, the air condenses and turns into water droplets that leave the dishes moist. You’ll need to open the door after each cycle for this drying method to keep the humid air out and ensure dishes are dry.

Why is my dishwasher not drying tips and tricks
Be sure to try out your dishwashers different drying methods to see what works best.

Poor Loading Technique

Are you sure you are loading dishes properly in the dishwasher? Check the manual of your appliance to see the correct way of loading dishes into it. You can also check online if the manual doesn’t say. Make sure that you aren’t putting too much in and that the dishes are tilted right. The dishwasher might not have been drying properly because of poor loading.

Our resident home repair guru, John Turpin, has provided a list of common reasons why your dishwasher may not effectively wash your dishes, along with some suggested solutions and DIY tips to fix it.

Problem with the Rinse Aid or Dispenser

Before calling a contractor, check the basics first, which include finding out if your device still has rinse aid or not. If it doesn’t, then you should fill it. But if the device hasn’t run out of rinse aid, the problem could be that it isn’t dispersed properly. In this case, you might be able to restore your dishwasher’s function by simply cleaning it.

Problem with the Hot Water Heater

Before starting, newer dishwashers will heat water to the correct temperature first. If yours doesn’t do this, then you can check your water heater’s settings. Make sure that it is set within the range of 120 and 150-degree Fahrenheit. Additionally, make sure that you time the use of the dishwasher right – not during peak times such as when most people take their shower.

Vent Problem

Is your dishwasher still not drying even after the tips we’ve mentioned above? In that case, the problem could be the appliance components, such as the vent. Ensure that the vent is open properly or moisture will be left on the dishes.  If it isn’t closing properly or is stuck open, you will have to call for a technician to have it repaired or replaced.

Deactivated Heated Drying Option

Some dishwashers have a heated drying feature, which might be why your dishes aren’t dry. This feature might be deactivated and has to be activated manually. Also, keep in mind that the heating drying feature might be automatic and must be turned off in some cycles. Check the owner’s manual to be sure exactly what you need to do.

Dishwasher not drying DIY fixes
Your dishwasher’s drying issues can be diagnosed and fixed with the following tips.

How to Fix a Dishwasher That Won’t Dry

Now that you have an idea of why your dishwasher is not drying dishes, let’s talk about how to fix it. We’ve already mentioned a few tips, and we will discuss more ways to get a dishwasher to dry better. Read on to learn what to do when dishes won’t dry in the dishwasher.

Choose the Correct Cycle

You can improve the performance of your dishwasher by choosing the “Heated Dry” option. In newer models of dishwashers, you will also find other high-heat options like “High Temperature Rinse” or “Added Heat.” Use them. Also, choosing the “Heavy” cycle may also enhance the dishwasher’s drying performance by having a higher heat level than a “Normal” cycle.

 Properly Load and Unload the Dishes

As you know by now, it’s important that you load the dishes properly. It can’t be overcrowded in there or the dishes aren’t going to dry properly because there’s no space for the air to circulate.  It’s also important to unload the dishes right, which involves opening the door a few inches and allowing the steam to escape first. Also, start unloading the bottom rack to keep the top rack from splashing water onto the dishes below.

Repair or Replace Heating Element

If the problem is the heating element, the safest and effective approach is to call a professional technician. They can confirm if the heating element really is the problem and fix or replace the component. You can also DIY it, but if you’re not familiar with a dishwasher’s inner workings, it’s your best choice to hire an appliance repair technician.

Other things you can do to fix a dishwasher that isn’t drying dishes include:

  • Making sure you use rinse aid
  • Making sure you activate the tablet detergent function (if you’re using tablets)
  • Making sure you choose the appropriate washing program
  • Remembering that Teflon and plastic are difficult to dry·        Avoiding washing kitchenware and utensils that have deteriorated surface

Dishwasher FAQs

Is It Hard to Fix a Dishwasher?

Fixing a dishwasher seems difficult. However, most dishwasher repairs are actually easy. On average, fixing a dishwasher takes 15 minutes or less. However, it all depends on the type of dishwasher and the extent of the problem. Some issues are simple enough that some troubleshooting can fix them. Of course, some problems need a professional’s expertise, such as leaks and broken components.

Can You Fix a Dishwasher That Isn’t Drying Dishes By Yourself?

It’s possible to fix a dishwasher that isn’t drying dishes without seeking outside help for simple issues like a poorly loaded dishwasher or incorrect cycle settings. But for issues that involve malfunctioning components, it’s best to let an appliance repair technician address it because they know more about how dishwashers work and how to fix them efficiently, including repairs of broken parts.

How Much Does a Dishwasher Repair Cost?

The average cost of fixing a dishwasher is $230, but it can go as high as $600. It all depends on many factors, such as the type of dishwasher, labor rate, extent of the issue, whether parts need replacing, etc. You will know more about the cost by asking a licensed appliance repair technician. Contact a contractor and get an estimate for a specific dishwasher repair.

Is It Worth It to Fix a Dishwasher?

It depends on how long you’ve had the dishwasher. If you’ve had it for less than a decade and your last repair cost of the appliance is less than half of its original price, then repairing it is a more economical choice. If it’s the opposite (dishwasher is over 10 years and expensive to repair), you will be able to save more by buying a new one.

Hire a Local Appliance Repair Pro

The methods above are effective DIY tips to investigate, diagnose, and improve your dishwasher’s performance. But if you need professional help, then don’t hesitate to contact a local appliance repair pro using the phone number or form on this page.

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