Hand placing dirty bowl in the top rack of a dishwasher

Guide to Easy Dishwasher Troubleshooting

Your dishwasher is one of the hardest working appliances in your household, so when it isn’t acting at optimum performance, you notice. Often, fixing issues like leaks, unclean dishes, poor draining or unpleasant odors can be easy to take care of with some DIY dishwasher repair know-how. Here are some dishwasher troubleshooting tips for diagnosing and fixing possible dishwasher problems.

Water spraying inside a dishwasher

Is your dishwasher leaking?

A leaky dishwasher is the last thing anyone wants to deal with, but the solution may be simple like switching detergent, loading differently or replacing the door seal. Before scheduling a service call, run through these tips on how to fix a leaky dishwasher:


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Dishwashers should only be loaded with detergent that is specified for automatic dishwashers. Premium detergents, specifically, tend to be more effective than bargain brands at cleaning your dishes. Regular dish soap, the kind you keep by your sink to hand wash with, creates too many suds that will not only overflow the tub and may leak onto the floor, but will also erode the inside of your dishwasher. While tempting, do not use dish soap in your dishwasher.

Plate and utensil icon

Load your dishwasher properly

In order for your dishwasher to run properly, it’s important to load dishes correctly. An overloaded dishwasher or one loaded improperly can use too much water, and the added pressure can push up against the door and cause leaks.

Dishwasher with a clock icon

Check for signs of aging

Like all appliances, your dishwasher will go through wear and tear. Depending on the age of your dishwasher, it may be time to replace the door seal; look to see if the seal is making full contact with the dishwasher. Also, check for signs of erosion on the bottom of your dishwasher. If you see any cracks or holes, it might be time to consider a new machine.

Bottom of a stainless steel dishwasher

Is your dishwasher having drainage problems?

If your dishwasher has a filter, it’s quite normal to see about an inch of standing water when removing the dishwasher’s filter. However, If you see more than an inch of water accumulation in your dishwasher, chances are that you may have a clog. This is a simple fix.

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The filter should be somewhere on the bottom of the dishwasher. It will typically be covered by a cage or grille.

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Many dishwashers allow you to remove the filter by hand while others may require a screwdriver. You'll usually need to give the filter a quarter turn counterclockwise and a quick pull to remove it. Refer to your dishwasher’s use and care guide for model specific instructions.

Filter with water drop icon


Rinsing your filter under the faucet will remove most soils and debris. If food particles don’t rinse off easily, soak the filter in warm water for a few minutes. Do not use a wire brush or scouring pad, as they may damage the filter. If you discover that you need a new filter altogether, browse Maytag brand's selection of dishwasher filters

Filter with down arrow icon


Replace your filter by turning it clockwise until it clicks in or the arrows align. Run your dishwasher as you normally would, and if it drains, you’re all set. Need more help? Here is a more in-depth look into cleaning your filter.


Select Maytag® dishwasher models feature Dual Power Filtration, an industry-first combination of 100% microfiltration and a 4-blade stainless steel chopper. It filters out, chops up, then drains food from the dishwasher, helping prevent clogs and there's no need for routine maintenance.

Hand placing dirty white plate into a dishwasher

Is your dishwasher not cleaning your dishes properly? 

When dishes come out less than clean, the most basic dishwasher troubleshooting moves are often the most helpful: make sure you’re not using too much detergent, try adding Rinse Aid or switch up your loading pattern.

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Dishes are streaky

This may not be your dishwasher at all. The problem could be the hardness of your water. Over time, minerals can accumulate on your glassware, causing streaks. Switching to a detergent that combats water hardness is recommended, and use Rinse Aid to help your dishes dry faster and clearer.

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Black or gray marks on dishes

Take notice of how you place items into the dishwasher. Avoid placing aluminum utensils next to glassware and dishes, since they can rub against each other and cause markings and scratches.

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Cloudy glassware

It’s important to use the correct amount of detergent, since overusing detergent will leave residue on your dishes and glassware. Rinse Aid can be effective at helping to prevent white or cloudy residue on glassware.

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A Tablespoon of Detergent May Be All You Need

When it comes to your dishwasher, less is more. Start with one tablespoon of detergent or one detergent tablet or pack. If your dishes still come out dirty, try increasing the amount of detergent (if using liquid or powder) or switch up the brand. Maytag recommends using Rinse Aid in addition to your detergent.

Open dishwasher in a white kitchen

Does your dishwasher have unpleasant odors?

The most likely culprit of odors coming from your dishwasher is food particles that have gotten stuck over time. An easy fix to this problem is to run a white vinegar rinse.


Icon of vinegar being poured into a measuring cup


Fill two cups of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container, and place it on the lower rack of your dishwasher.

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Step 2: RUN A Normal CYCLE

Run a normal cycle on your dishwasher without using any detergent. Select an air dry option instead of heated dry featured on some models.

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Step 3: Wipe down the dishwasher interior

Wipe down the interior of the dishwasher with a soft cloth to remove any debris. Run another cycle, this time with detergent, as you normally would, with or without dishes. 

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Clean your dishwasher once a month

Cleaning your dishwasher once a month helps maximize machine performance. Maytag recommends affresh® dishwasher cleaner to help remove limescale and mineral build-up that could affect your dishwasher’s performance.1

Hand selecting options on a dishwasher console

Is your dishwasher not starting?

While this issue might not be a common one, an unresponsive dishwasher is a problem you may encounter at some point. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that you’re left with a stack of dirty dishes to wash by hand. Check that one of these possible dishwasher problems isn’t the culprit: it’s in sleep or standby mode, you have the control lock on or it’s in need of a reset. Make sure you’re familiar with the parts of your dishwasher.

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Is it on Sleep Mode or Standby?

Make sure that your dishwasher isn’t on standby or sleep mode. Press the Start or Resume button, and wait for it to restart. You can also simply open and shut the door again, since it may have also been that the door was not properly closed.

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Is the Control Lock set?

If your dishwasher control panel is not working, or if it seems to be completely off even when it’s connected to its power source, the Control Lock might be set. Consult your Owner’s Manual to see how you can deactivate it.

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Try turning the power off and on

If the dishwasher is still unresponsive, it may be time to do a reset of your machine. To reset your dishwasher, simply disconnect from the power source for a full minute before plugging back in. For dishwashers without a plug, you’ll need to turn off the breaker.

If in the end you don’t succeed…

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Schedule a service call

If after running through this list your dishwasher is still giving you trouble, it might be time to schedule a service call. If you’re not sure how to repair your dishwasher or don’t feel comfortable tinkering with it, this will always be the safest bet. Need a service call for your Maytag® dishwasher? Call customer service at 1-800-344-1274.

Dishwasher with sparkle icon

Consider an upgrade

If instead you realize that your dishwasher is past its prime, and that it may be time for a new model, Maytag has a selection of dishwashers that stand up to years of tough jobs. Learn more about different types of dishwashers, or explore our selection below.

Shop the latest deals on select Maytag major appliances   Shop Now


Maytag® dishwashers with Dual Power Filtration let you skip soaking, scrubbing and pre-rinsing and require no routine maintenance.




1. affresh® brand products and the recommending brands’ products are all owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.